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Painted stairs can be a real feature in a hallway. While big design decisions are made around hallway flooring, walls, wall art and lighting, steps and staircases can often get forgotten. But they are a great untapped resource, offering the possibility to do something fabulously decorative that doesn’t cost the earth.

Painting a staircase involves a bit of prep, but is generally a straightforward business. Remove any stair carpet and pads and brush down then vacuum thoroughly. Repair any damaged treads or risers and tighten up screws or knock in nails if you have any squeaks.

There are a few options with staircase design. Keep things simple with Brilliant White and do not add a stair runner. This is an inexpensive update that can have as much impact in a small narrow hallway as it does in a grand entrance hall. The beauty of plain white stairs is that you can add a second paint colour elsewhere: on other areas of the staircase, such as the hand rail, balusters or string (staircase skirting), or on an adjacent wall.

Painted stair treads in white can also be combined with wallpapered risers to introduce a touch of pattern. Look for toning or contrasting wallpaper designs and alternate with brightly painted risers.

Another option is to fit painted stairs with a stair runner. Because a runner doesn’t cover the entire width of the stair tread, it allows you to enjoy the beauty of the paintwork while still having the warmth and noise-masking benefits of carpet.

Painted stairs with patterned inserts (pictured)

Paint a staircase in Brilliant White and then choose a mix of bright paint colours and patterned wallpapers, one for each of the risers. Here, yellow and blue paint has been teamed with floral and abstract designs in pink and blue. Apply a coat or two of hardwearing clear varnish to protect against knocks and scuff marks.

Image credit: Paul Raeside
Image credit: James Merrell
Image credit: Adrian Briscoe
Image credit: Jan Baldwin
Image credit: Chris Everard
Image credit: Robert Sanderson
Image credit: David Giles
Image credit: Claire Davies
Image credit: Robert Sanderson

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