Somewhere over the rainbow, there is a charming staircase makeover that we can’t get enough of

This colourful Instagram staircase makeover makes us smile every time we look at it

A painted rainbow staircase
(Image credit: Caroline South @caroline_south)

Stairs can often be a forgotten area in a home. Even though in recent years, this is changing as many are installing gallery walls, creating staircase landing play areas and giving their staircases fun yet stylish makeovers like this one.

We love a DIY idea resulting in a fresh makeover in the Ideal Home office. Especially when it’s as jaw-droppingly impressive as this rainbow staircase created by Caroline South (@caroline_south). While renovating her 70s home in Sussex, Caroline came up with this bright (quite literally) and colourful staircase decorating idea and documented the making-of process in her Instagram reel.

And seeing the before and after shots, you wouldn’t believe these are the same stairs in the same house. So how exactly did she pull off this drastic transformation? 

The rainbow staircase makeover

A painted rainbow staircase

(Image credit: Caroline South @caroline_south)

If you’re looking for a cheerful staircase idea, then look no further. Getting rid of the original ‘manky’ (her words) beige carpet, Caroline exposed the wood underneath and painted the stairs with gradient earthy shades - a chicer version of the traditional rainbow colours. 

‘I wanted something really colourful to replace the beige carpet that was currently there and chose a gradient of earthy tones to create a warm welcome to the entrance of the house,’ Caroline explains. ‘I used tester pots on the risers to keep the cost down and stripped the paint back from the treads, keeping the natural wood.’

Using various tester pots of paint to save on costs is a clever paint idea if you ask us. So if you want to recreate the look and are wondering what you’ll need to stock up on and what you’ll need to do, read on. 

What she used

  • Paint stripper - Caroline mentions in her reel she had to use five tubs due to the thick layers of glue underneath the carpet
  • Paint - the content creator used tester pots of Valspar paint in multiple gradient shades
  • Natural oil to seal the wood

How to guide

Paint-stripped wooden stairs

After five tubs of paint stripper

(Image credit: Caroline South @caroline_south)

As outlined in the reel, the process was time-consuming and a lot of work but otherwise rather simple. 

Caroline started by ripping out the old carpet, which revealed thick layers of glue underneath, as well as some paint on the sides of the stairs. To get rid of all of this, she used a paint stripper to get the wood to its former glory. Five tubs of paint stripper later, she managed to do just that.

Before shot of the staircase


(Image credit: Caroline South @caroline_south)

Then it was finally time for the fun stuff - the painting. Each stair’s front panel was painted a different colour to achieve a gradient, rainbow effect, while the tops were left au naturel. Only sealed with natural wood oil from Ronseal.

This is not about somewhere over the rainbow. No, here the rainbow is the star of the show. 

Sara Hesikova
News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.