100 Year Old Staircase

I have a love hate relationship with my staircase.

I’m not a fan of all the oak. My front hall is small and narrow. The staircase seems overwhelming. Should I paint the wood underneath the staircase? Or just leave it alone. The wood looks like plywood. The staircase must have been open at one point.

The side is so ugly. There must be something I can do.

Should I just paint the side of the staircase?

The brown rug is there just during the winter months.

Do you think I took enough pictures? lol
I’d love to get a seagrass runner someday.

The walls are painted linen white. They look white due to the flash.



29 thoughts on “100 Year Old Staircase

  1. I love when people paint the risers and then put a saying going up or down. But personally I would be too chicken to do it. Good luck . Can't wait to see what you come up with.Dawn @ Making Home

  2. What would happen if you took the wood under off? If it was open before? Otherwise I say paint it, at least that part. It won't mess with the integrity and authenticity of the rest of the stairs, but you could maybe paint the under boards on the treads too? Doesn't have to be something like white, it could be a period color.~Bliss~

  3. You could paint the risers white, Dee, to break up some of the oak. I love that look and would have pushed for something like it if we hadn't moved. For the bottom, what about opening that up and putting shelves in there? I've seen quite a few pictures that showcase that type of thing and it really looks pretty neat.

  4. If you paint it the whole area would blossom with all that light reflecting off the paint. Is it workable as a little niche area if you opened it up? Third, if you paint the risers, too, that would make it feel less confining. I see that design look a lot. If you do a search for painted steps and view the images, there are so many nice painted steps around. Good luck!

  5. I would paint it in a heartbeat!!! Study…Study…Study… that's how I come to my answers. I'd peruse tons of pictures of favorite staircases, lumping all the pictures that I LOVE, then figure out why I'm so drawn to them and COPY! When I don't like something… it doesn't make me smile, doesn't make my heart sing…it's outta there. Don't be SCARED…go for it. Hope this helps…. Have a wonderful day! xoso Sandy

  6. First off…I LOVE your front door. WOW…totally cool. Second. I have white risers and they are a ton of upkeep. Everyone stubs their toe into them and there are constant black marks and such. So think about that.Third. The wood paneling on the side could be painted…or maybe even a wallpaper or a fabric in the recessed area inside the molding? At any rate….can't wait to see what you come up with!

  7. Dearest Dee,We are very pleased with our solid oak staircase where the treads and the risers are both oak; not painted. In your case I would leave that part as is; also practicality as Lesley frankly states. For the side part, under the staircase, I would paint the part that looks like plywood white (matching your walls) and leave the oak baseboard and framing. That would break up the 'massive' look and brighten and enlarge the area.Just my idea… The staircase is lovely by the way; great post and rail.Don't worry about the rug; that again is a practical thing and not for looks!Love to you,Mariette

  8. I don't know. I've changed my mind 10 times while typing this! I think it would look nice painted, but then again, I think maybe you shouldn't paint it. Of course, I'm thinking of your home. A Tudor, right? Ehhh, I'm no help at all! lol

  9. That's a hard call. You'll do what needs to be done when you view many options/suggestions on sites that can show you options.I personally wouldn't touch it.Have a wonderful eve ~TTFN ~Marydon

  10. I LOVE old homes! And your staircase, with the ironwork and wood railing…beautiful. Now, I will have some people that want to throw fruit at me for saying this, but I would paint the risers white. I did ours in white during the Remembrance day (long weekend it made it)(I did a blog post on it), and I have had zero scuff marks…and we have a 4 1/2 year old daughter! I have never once regretted it. As for the side part, as several others suggested, I would open that up, and make a nook of some type. Either way, with the beauty you have there, it's pretty hard to go wrong!!!Looking forward to see what you end up doing!

  11. I would paint the sides, certainly! What is under there? Can you open it up and use as storage, a wine cellar? Just thoughts… Because there is so much oak, I would consider painting the risers, but keep in mind upkeep with black marks. Just be sure you do them correctly… primer and a really good quality paint! Good luck!

  12. Your staircase looks like mine must have 100 years ago! someone in the 80's painted a horrible fake marble look on them and I recently painted over that. They are now dark grey with white risers. Have a look. You need to scroll down to one of my earlier posts.

  13. I would paint the stairs white, but leave the top of each stair the original wood. Then try painting the black inset on your railing (Is that wrought iron) white and see how it looks. I would take baby steps…..paint a little like the railing insets and step back for awhile. Oh, can't wait to see!Carol

  14. I actually like the side! I live the wrought iron work too! Hmm. if you are REALLY set on doing it would you also consider painting the risers? I would not paint each step itself though. love, love, love YOUR DOOR!!! LUCKY GIRL TO HAVE THAT!!!I would either leave it alone or paint the risers if I were going with painting the sides—or a carpet runner! Have you ever seen the one Melisa has on Joan (Rivers) and Melisa Show? I adore that runner! It's animal printed but done very classy and she has the best staircase!

  15. I would paint the stairs white except for the steps. That is if I had my way which in my house I don't. My husband thinks anything oak is fine, fine wood and it should be left that way. It's his house too so I let him have his say on it, since he let's me have my say about plenty of other stuff, but for me I love all white woodwork in a house. It's so clean and bright!

  16. Personally I would not paint the risers, but I would open up the side and see what is there. If it is possible to put shelves in I think that would be such a great idea and a wonderful way to add additional decor. Best of luck with your endeavor and I'm sure whatever you do it will turn out beautiful.Hugs, LisaKayBelles Roses Romantiques

  17. Dee, if it were MY stair case, I would paint the risers white and do some over sized vintage postal markings (distressed of course hehe)or wine crate markings. and on that side? I'd mod podge old book pages,sheet music or vintage letters/envelopes on the recessed panels and leave the "framework" oak to match my stair planks.Either way, I'm seriously jealous of your entry way!!!

  18. I love the wood, but then again, I've always been a rebel. I tend to go in the opposite direction of the crowds and nowadays everyone is painting everything white. The older I get, the more I appreciate the natural woods in my home because they are so simple to maintain vs. paint which chips and soils. On the side I would try either shelving or a collage of shabby chic frames, ovals, square, all different sizes. A pretty scenery for that lovely bench.PS-I have the same key patterned burlap in my foyer. Made a table runner with it.Thank you for visiting, Dee. I'm sure whatever you do will turn out beautiful.Much love!

  19. I had the same dilemma with my staircase, but I made the decision to just go for it, and I haven't regretted it once! I left the treads oak and painted the risers white. I also left the railing oak, but painted the spindles and the newel post white, and painted the entire side of the staircase white. My walls are a pale peachy pink, but thinking of painting them a creamy white. I think you would love having the risers white.

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