How to paint a staircase – transform your hallway by painting your steps

Give stairs a fresh new look with a splash of floor paint
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • So it looks like our weekend and evening diaries are officially wide open, maybe it’s time to tackle the DIY list. Start at the beginning, with a hallway re-fresh. A simple way to update an entrance is by giving the stairs and banister a fresh lick of paint.

    Follow our handy step-by-step guide of how to paint a staircase, using specialist floor paint.

    The bonus of a specialist paint is that it can painted straight over old paint or varnish, so no need to fear the hours of sanding ahead of you.

    Ideas: Hallway colour schemes – the combinations that make an ideal first impression

    Image credit: Pete Helme Photography / Rust-Oleum

    Before you get started

    Either start early or when the rest of the household are in the garden or busy downstairs and don’t need access for a while. Or make a start once the kids have gone to bed for the night. Meaning you may have to paint over the course of a few days.

    Factor in time to ensure the paint is fully dry before anyone walks on it. Because the longer you leave it to dry, the more hard-wearing it will be. If your only loo is upstairs, you’ll need to plan around it.

    This may sound silly, but it can be easy to be caught out…start at the top and work your way down. Or vice versa depending on where you want to finish, you don’t want to get stuck on the wrong floor.

    How to paint a staircase step-by-step guide

    Image credit: Pete Helme Photography / Rust-Oleum

    What you’ll need

    Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Floor Paint

    Sander / Dust mask

    Paint scraper

    Wood filler

    Paint brush

    Cleaning solution / Cleaning cloth

    Masking tape

    Paint roller / Paint tray

    How to paint a staircase

    1. Prepare the steps

    how to paint a staircase prepare each step by sanding

    Image credit: Pete Helme Photography / Rust-Oleum

    Remove any old carpet from your wooden stairs. You need to make sure the surface is in good condition before you start. Repair any loose or broken areas, fill any dents with wood filler and sand any rough patches to prepare the floor for painting.

    Once complete, vacuum up any dust and clean with a cleaning solution and cloth.

    2. Choose the correct paint

    How to paint a staircase choose the right paint

    Image credit: Pete Helme Photography / Rust-Oleum

    Whether you’re sticking to the same colour all over or painting a stair runner, choose the right paint. Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Floor Paint is ideal.

    The hard-wearing, water-based paint resists knocks and scratches and can be applied directly to wooden floorboards or concrete flooring, and directly over old paint or varnish – with no topcoat needed.

    4. Tape off areas if needed

    If you’re painting stairs in different colours or painting a runner, mark out your design using decorator’s tape.

    4. Start painting

    How to paint a staircase step-by-step

    Image credit: Pete Helme Photography / Rust-Oleum

    Apply the Chalky Finish Floor Paint ensuring there are no drips. Use a brush for any details and angles where stair riser and tread meet. You can use a small foam roller for any larger, flat surfaces.

    Don’t be tempted to apply thick coats of paint, the coverage will last much longer if you paint a few thin coats rather than one thick coat. Wait until each coat is fully dry before applying the next one – aim for a minimum of two coats, more may be required.

    5. Take off the tape and clean

    Painted staircase in white paint to create a bright hallway

    Image credit: Pete Helme Photography / Rust-Oleum

    Remove any decorator’s tape. Once completely dry, give a final brush or vacuum. Then stand back to admire your handiwork!

    Painting a staircase with floor paint

    Image credit: Pete Helme Photography / Rust-Oleum

    A freshly painted staircase makes all the difference, especially in hallways – first impressions count.

    Related: Best stair carpets 2020 – the most fabulous stair runners and flooring for staircases and landings

    And that’s how to paint a staircase. Happy decorating to one and all.

    All the latest from Ideal Home