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Step Black!

by | Feb 22, 2010 | Details

Step Black!Written by: Tim Layton (aka Remodeling Guy)

Tim’s love of creativity and design mix with a perspective built on a career as a remodeling contractor.He can also can be found at his blog,

Step Black!? Oh man… sometimes I really make myself wonder with my goofy titles.

Maybe a picture will help!

Step Black!Black painted stair treads!

I was looking though some pictures on House Beautiful, and I started to realize that I was seeing the same idea over and over.  I must have been living under a rock, because I didn’t realize much of this was going on.  Maybe it is.

Have you ever considered painting your stairs black? I’m talking solid black, as in “pitch”.

How about a few more pictures:

Step Black!

Step Black!

I like it!  I really think this is a great alternative to stained wood steps.  If you’re remodeling and your old steps are pretty worn out, this is an option that can look wonderful without breaking the bank.

Step Black!

This is also something that can be done by a less experienced DIY’er if you’re so inclined.  The real key is to make sure the paint dries well between coats and then that it is allowed to really cure for a good week or more before allowing traffic on it.  This allows the paint surface to harden up before it has to withstand foot traffic.

So, what do you think?

Are you going to step-up to the plate and give black steps a try?
Or maybe you want to take it down a notch and go with a lighter color?

Tomorrow, Melissa will be showing you her dramatic red staircase before & after makeover, her thoughts on the upkeep of wood and painted steps versus carpet, and her plans for making over for her new staircase (and the plans involve BLACK!) Stay tuned…

photos: House Beautiful


  1. Jess

    All the sudden I feel like stair treatments are everywhere! I would love to do this. I think the black on the stairs and white on the risers look fantastic!
    .-= Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish´s last blog ..Using Spring Colors: Yellow =-.

  2. Jenny86753oh9

    I absolutely LOVE black stairs…when they’re clean. We had black stairs growing up in India and it was my job to keep them clean. Blech! Of course it’s so much more dirty and dusty there. Anxious to see what you’re working on!
    .-= Jenny86753oh9´s last blog ..What is a booger? =-.

  3. Jennifer

    I would love to have stairs to paint black! These are just fabulous!
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..{Digging} in the Dirt =-.

  4. Franki Parde

    I, too, am having a black attack. Every room could stand some black – and now I’m going to paint the rungs black to our lower level. THANKS!

  5. Sarah

    I love the black and white stair color combo – it looks so fancy and from a distance still almost looks like really deeply stained wood.
    .-= Sarah @ Dream In Domestic´s last blog ..A Renter’s Guide to Photo Groupings =-.

  6. 50centlove

    I’m a new reader. I LOVE the black stairs. I would totally do this if I had wooden stairs.
    .-= 50centlove´s last blog ..One of my favorite things =-.

  7. Vee

    Have noticed black doors, but not the black stairs. I really, really like it a lot.
    .-= Vee´s last blog ..Too Soon Again? =-.

  8. Mary Joy

    Wow! Those look gorgeous! Now that you have mentioned it…I have seen it a lot more in magazine photography recently. Thanks for giving us a peak into the how to for this project.
    .-= Mary Joy´s last blog ..It is priceless and I won’t give it up for anything =-.

  9. Marianne

    Wonderful idea. Our stairs need a fresh coat of paint. But how on earth am I going to give the stairs at least a week to ‘cure’. We only have one set of stairs and I do appreciate to sleep in my bed as opposed to the couch.
    Any ideas on how to paint my stairs well rested?
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..The Staging of a Vignette =-.

    • Remodeling Guy

      My mom has a black handrail with white balusters and it looks great! I’ve also seen the risers painted in colors, but never black! If you go for it, send me a picture!

  10. Kristen

    I have loved black stairs for years. My husband? Not so much, but he did let me paint our attic floor boards black for our boys’ room and I love it!

  11. Janell Beals

    It is a great look that can be rustic to incredibly chic! If only I didn’t have carpeted stairs I would be tempted to do something like the beautiful examples shown! Janell

    • Remodeling Guy

      Hey Julia! I wonder if the fact that I didn’t consider the work involved in keeping them clean means I’m spoiled and don’t do much dusting? Or is it just because I haven’t had much black? In any case, you’re not the first to mention that!

  12. Kathy

    I want to paint my stairs {although, not black}. I’d love to do a walnut and white. My worry though is that my stairs lead to an upstairs hallway that has wood flooring. I’m guessing that would have to be painted, too, and I’m not sure I want to have to do that portion.

    • Remodeling Guy

      Hi Kathy – I think you could paint just the stair treads and not the floor at the top. It seems like a natural transition to me at that top riser. Just my thought. Walnut sounds nice! – Tim

  13. Peggy

    As the biggest gripe of our black stove, the dust would drive me crazy! Looks great but very high maintenance.

  14. shannon

    Hmmmm…I just wondr how much the dust might show on the black step? It is pretty though…very classy and apealing to the eye!

  15. Karen

    I love the IDEA of black stairs…but I’d worry that they’d show dirt and dust. I have a black end table and tv stand in black and you can see every. single. bit. of dust on them…of course, after a quick clean and polish they look great! Just wish I kept up with it more… :)

  16. Gena

    Oh I do love these images ….. the black stairs … stunning!!!!! I particulary love the first image and the third – probably the pops of bright colour!
    thanks – great post as always!
    Gena @ Inspired Living Spaces
    .-= Gena @ Inspired Living Spaces´s last blog ..A spot of yellow =-.

  17. Marija

    We did this in our home – quite by accident. It was surprisingly formal – a little too “baby grand piano”. And everything showed, including dust trapped in between coats. And they were crazy dangerous (slippery+dark +disaster!).

    We took it down a notch and changed it to ebony (as in a dark wood) which was the original plan. Much much much better!
    .-= Marija´s last blog ..Fri. Style + Mon. Distraction =-.

  18. Dena

    Oh I love little pops of black! I am adding little bits here and there and loving the impact. :)


  19. micaela

    i like it! too bad i don’t have any steps in my house :

  20. Cindy

    I did this in our home. The riser is white and the steps are black. I also painted the hand rail of the banister black. Then I put an oriental runner up the center. Looks fantastic!! It is in the foyer of our home. When people see it they love it!

  21. The Tiny Homestead

    Very pretty, but the black is not my style. I am planning to paint my stairs soon, but just the edges. It will look like a “reverse runner” with the main part wood and the sides will be a color.
    .-= The Tiny Homestead´s last blog ..How we finished our basement =-.

  22. Irene

    Hmm, they look nice.

    I think they have a place, if your home is large enough to withstand the dark colors. But in a small home, I wonder if they will make the place look smaller.
    .-= Irene´s last blog ..My Dear Daughter’s Room =-.

  23. Mary Jean

    I recently did a post on my blog about painted black stairs and how I was going to do it in 2010! I’m for sure going to do it, I just need to find the time!!! Thanks for re inspiring me to go for it!!!
    .-= Mary Jean´s last blog ..Praying for Drake! =-.

  24. Lesley

    Love the idea. And I like anything painted black because you can fix dents and scratches with a Sharpie!

    But dust could be a problem. Still, great idea for worn out steps.
    .-= Lesley @ TheDesignFile´s last blog ..Geometric patterns add interest & fun to rooms =-.

    • Remodeling Guy

      Cool thought about the Sharpie! That’s convenient!

  25. Jennifer

    I like it but worry about dust. I don’t want to clean any more than necessary! On the same note, I was watching a home improvement show yesterday where the people installed black doors with white trim through the entire basement. It was LOVELY!

  26. ClassiclyAmber

    I love the black, too! This is fabulous~!

    We definitely have black on our staircases, too. You can see what I’m talking about in my post here:

    The steps themselves are stained a walnut brown, and the risers are solid black. It matches the iron banisters and the black iron chandeliers in both hallways. I have always loved this look! And I’m pretty sure that with having kids around – if I had painted the risers cream, then they would be all nasty and scuffed up looking all the time. This is a good option for our family!
    .-= ClassiclyAmber´s last blog ..Spit-Shinin’ the Sink =-.

  27. Hannah

    I can’t WAIT to paint my treads a glossy black! Over the years I’ve learned the trick to painting stairs is to paint every other stair – let them cure for a week and then paint the other ones. This way, we’re not stranded downstairs. Right now our stair treads are navy blue and the railings are red. Our entire house, when we bought it featured red,white and blue. Three yrs later I’m still trying to eradicate it. Takes time.

    • Remodeling Guy

      What a great tip about painting every other one! Can you tell my perspective is a contractor. I’m all like “just move out!” Your idea makes much more sense! Except for the kids and pets with short legs! The might need help! Thanks for the tip, I’ll remember it!

  28. emelie

    LOVE. Such a chic alternative. Now all I need are some steps…
    .-= emelie´s last blog ..Alehouse Rock =-.

  29. Jill

    I love the look! Now how can I add some stairs to my one story house…..

  30. Renee

    I have definitely pondered this idea, I live in a 1929 home and the stairs look so worn. Would you use oil based enamel?

    .-= Renee´s last blog ..{marigold & gray} =-.

    • Remodeling Guy

      I probably would use oil-based enamel. It generally dries much harder, though there are some latex paints with what they call a “high solid content” which makes it more durable. Oil has some drawbacks: it stinks, it takes forever to dry sometimes, and it is a mess to clean-up. But on a floor surface, especially one that will be abused like stair treads, hardness is a big issue if you want to be able to forget about maintenance for a few years. I’m still totally in-love with Ralph Lauren Paints though and the latex semi-gloss has proven to be tough stuff!

      • Renee

        Thanks so much for the great advice – I think I’m leaning toward the oil base.

        .-= Renee´s last blog ..{marigold & gray} =-.

  31. Stacey

    I love black on those inspiration stairs! You’re right, a very updated alternative!
    Can’t wait to see the makeover, Melissa :)!
    .-= Stacey @ The Blessed Nest´s last blog ..The Blessed Nest on Facebook =-.

  32. Amy

    I love black…recently posted about my love affair with painting black accents…just painted my french door into my bathroom black…dreamy!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..A long 9 months =-.

  33. Beki - TheRustedChain

    Gorgeous! LOOOOVE the hot pink walls and black steps. I could never get away with it, but I love it. :)

  34. laurie

    Thank you for sharing this- I will be painting our stairs in July. Since we are taking a 10 day vacation I thought it would be a good time to let the paint cure, with no traffic.

    I am debating on the color still, I may need to add black to the list of consideration. White /cream-white risers with gray treads- white risers with black treads-and now just black.

    They look great.
    .-= laurie´s last blog ..Desk facelift =-.

  35. Jennifer

    OOHH… loving this idea! Too bad our stairs are covered by carpet! Hmm… maybe I could change that! ;)

  36. Jennifer

    Would this look as nice on cement stairs?
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Perfect Day =-.

  37. kathysue

    Hi Tim, I love the black stairs. I love the look I am not sure I would love the up-keep. But who knows ,I have absolute black granite checked floors and they are easy to keep up. Now all I need is a two-story house. Kathysue
    .-= kathysue´s last blog .."FRIDGESCAPING" =-.

  38. Diana Windsor

    You know black color gives a sophisticated look to anything and this is really awesome to see these black stairs.I also loved it.

  39. lorrie

    those are great photos thanks for sharing
    .-= lorrie´s last blog ..Canada’s Victory- Glory and Triumph =-.

    • Kim Kelley

      I just found this site. I painted my banister and newel post black this week and the spindles white. I love it.

  40. Susan

    I’m seriously going to do this in my new house…probably in the next week or two (or three). But I think I’ll also go w/a patterned runner as well for a few reasons: 1) less wear, 2) less slippery, 3) less dusting, and 4) softer on the feet.

  41. Jennifer

    Can you tell me if this would work over a layer of minwax ebony stain? The contractor just put it on and I don’t like it at all. It’s not shiny enough and the color is inconsistent. I would love to do a black or dark espresso. Would love paint/stain brand/color recommendations!



  1. DIY Staircase Makeover (Before & After) - [...] The before photos were missing for awhile in the move, but I finally located and scanned them so you…

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