Painting Staircase Spindles With Ease: A Step By Step Guide

Post Updated: 09/04/2022

Painting staircase spindles, also called balusters, can be a tedious DIY project when you want to give a staircase a new look, but it doesn’t have to be. This how-to guide with step-by-step images will give you helpful tips on how to paint stair spindles efficiently and get the job done faster.

This isn’t my first staircase makeover. I made over a fully carpeted wood staircase in my previous home. In my present home, I know firsthand what will make the painting spindles process go faster. If you are thinking about redoing your staircase, don’t miss seeing how I first stained the steps and then painted the risers on this staircase before now taking on painting the spindles.

Staircase makeover on a budget and painting staircase balusters

… you are rewarded with this – a beautiful staircase with a fresh clean look. All the time put into this open stairway transformation is so worth it!

Staircase makeover showing how to remove carpet and paint risers and stain steps for a clean modern look

Making over a staircase can be a time consuming project, depending on how large or small your staircase is. But it is a very budget friendly home improvement project.

I spend $75 for all the supplies needed to transform this large staircase with 62 balusters. This includes staining the steps and painting the risers.

How to Paint Staircase Spindles: Step By Step Guide

White painted riser staircase
Staircase Spindles / Balusters Before Painting

In this guide I am showing how to paint round staircase spindles, but the process is the same if the spindles on your staircase are square.

supplies needed:

  • Primer KILZ Stain blocking primer – any of their formulas sold at Home Depot or Lowes
  • Paint – Sherwin Williams Semi-Gloss Waterborne Interior Acrylic Latex paint in the color, Pure White
  • 1″- wide angled Purdy paint brush
  • 100 and 220 grit fine sandpaper
  • Vacuum
  • Hot soapy water, rag or microfiber cloth and tack cloth
  • Painter’s tape – Easy Mask KleenEdge or wide Scotch Blue Tape
  • Tape & Drape drop cloth
Blogger of DIY Decorating blog Diane Henkler of In My Own Style

Helpful Painting Tips:

Plan ahead as having the prep work done and in place will make the actual painting process go faster.

Using the right painter’s tape will help the process since the tape will keep the paint off the steps for as long as it takes to paint every spindle.

Using a quality brand name primer and paint will lessen the need for more than 2 coats of paint.

Listen to music or turn the volume up on a nearby TV so you can listen to a movie or show. It will make the painting time pass faster.

Time needed: 3 days

Step-By-Step Guide to Painting Staircase Spindles

  1. Prep the Area Around Each Spindle for Primer and Paint

    Mask off the step for every spindle with masking tape or painter’s tape. I found I liked the way the wide kraft paper painter’s tape, Easy Mask KleenEdge covered more area around the balusters in one piece which means less time was spent taping off.

    It only has one sticky side that you place against the bottom edge of each spindle so when it is time to remove, it comes up fast. More time saved.

    Taping off the 62 spindles both on the bottom where they met the step and top to protect the underside of the banister from paint. It took about 2 hours. I did this a few days ahead of time.

    staircase makeover

  2. Protect the Staircase

    To protect the staircase from paint splatters, I used a roll of plastic sheeting called Tape & Drape to use as a drop cloth. One side of this sheeting that has one taped edge… genius!

    See the blue edge on the plastic sheeting? That is the tape. It costs $8 for a big roll, but was so worth every penny in the time it saved me since

    I could simply push the plastic to one side in between coats and it stayed right in place.

    I have plenty left on the roll for a future project.

    Staircase makevoer

  3. How to Sand The Spindles

    Sanding each spindle can become tedious depending on how long your staircase is, but not is not hard to do.

    You may think a sanding sponge would be the best for sanding each spindle, but to sand the entire surface of each one, it will be much faster if you cut a piece of sandpaper so it measures approx: 3″ x 11″.

    How to Use Cut Pieces of Sandpaper to Sand Each Spindle

    Hold each short end of the sandpaper in your hand so the rough side is facing the spindle and away from you. Move your hands holding the sandpaper back and forth quickly so the sandpaper is moving against the wood.

    Next, use an up and down motion to cover the length of the spindle to remove some of the previous wood finish. This will provide “tooth” for the primer + paint to adhere.

    You don’t have to sand the spindles to the bare wood, but do try to remove any shine from a previous finish.

    Repeat the process for the opposite side of each baluster by placing the paper so the rough side faces you and is behind the baluster.

    How to sand and paint staircase balusters

  4. Clean Each Spindle

    Clean all the spindles of dirt, grime and sanding girt with hot sudsy water and a damp cloth. Dry them off with a clean absorbent towel. Then go over each with a tack cloth to make sure all the sanding dust is removed.

  5. Prime and Paint

    Once spindles are completely dry, use a 1″- wide angled paintbrush to prime with a stain blocking primer. Using this will ensure no tannin bleed will leach through your paint.

    Using an angled brush will make it easier to prime and paint the stair spindles. I used an up and down brush strokes and when my hands got tired, I did a horizontal slapping with the brush against a spindle to apply the paint.

    I then repeated the process on the opposite outer side of the spindles by bending over the railing to reach them. You could also place a ladder to get to the outer side.

    I used 1 light coat of primer and 2 light coats of semi-gloss paint. Let each coat dry before applying the next.

    I did not seal the paint since it is very durable paint with a semi-gloss finish.

    I needed 3 coats of paint and did one coat a day. The first coat took the longest – 3 hours since I had to cover the dark wood.

    The second coat took about two hours and the last coat only an hour since all I needed to do was touch up.

  6. Painted Stair Spindles After Painting

    Side by side comparison of how the spindles looked stained brown and now painted semi-gloss white.

    How to stain staircase balusters

Hidden closet under staircase

After getting the staircase painted, we added a hidden closet. Be sure to see it in this post How to Build a Hidden Closet Under a Staircase

Frequently Asked Questions Answered About Painting Spindles on a Staircase

Staircase makeover tutorials

How do you determine the amount of paint you need?

When painting spindles the amount of paint needed will be determined by the size and thickness of each spindle and how many there are.

For the average size home staircase where there are 30 or less spindles, a quart of primer and a quart of paint should be plenty. If using a paint and primer in one formula, one gallon of paint/primer will be enough.

Can I paint stair spindles without sanding?

To save time when painting spindles on a staircase you may want to skip the sanding step. This is a mistake as sanding the surface will ensure good adhesion of the primer and paint.

Sanding also removes any glossy shine that paint doesn’t adhere well. If you want your painting efforts to last a long time, take the time to sand first. Keep in mind, you don’t have to sand the finish to the bare wood, you just want to rough the surface up to provide “tooth” for the paint to stick. You will be rewarded for your efforts in the long run.

What is the best paint brush for painting spindles?

When painting spindles, the best paint brush is an 1″ – 1-1/2″ angled brush. Using an angled brush over regular paint brush or roller will ensure you get into all the nooks and crannies of the spindles. The angle also makes it easy to paint a nice clean edge where the spindles meet the step and under the bannister.

What is the sock method for painting spindles?

The sock method for painting spindles is a paint fad that got popular on the social app Tiktok. It can work well if you use the right thickness of sock and have more than one sock ready to go for when the previous sock gets over saturated with paint.

You also want to make sure to put a tight fitting latex glove on your hand first, then place the sock on your hand. This will keep your hand from getting covered with paint as paint saturates the sock.

Don’t overload the sock with paint as it will make for a sloppy application of paint with lots of drips and too thick of a coat of paint getting applied. This causes drips to happen.

Even though the it looks like using a sock can make painting the spindles easier, it may – but if the paint is applied too thick, it will just peel off eventually. If you use the method, have an angled paint brush on hand to evenly spread the paint around the top and bottom of each spindle to ensure a lasting paint finish.

How to paint stair spindles with carpet?

If you want to paint spindles on carpeted steps, the process is the same as in the painting guide in this post. You will just need to make sure to press the painter’s tape into the carpet around each baluster and definitely use an angled brush to keep a clean line where the spindles meet the taped carpet.

How do you paint spindles without drips?

Painting spindles in a production line way one after the other, can become tedious and paint can get applied too heavy when you are trying to get the job done fast. To keep drips at bay, apply the paint in light coats.

The way to ensure you have no paint drips on your spindles is to go back and check after painting about 10 spindles. In the time it takes to paint that amount, you will be able to go back and see any drips and brush them away before they dry.

Completed DIY Staircase Makeover

To read more about everything involved in this DIY staircase makeover, check out the following posts:

Tips on painting staircase balusters
staircase-makeover-at the lake house
Hidden closet under staircase
Home Improvement. How to makeover a staircase and paint the balusters without losing your mind

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  1. Marilynn Traupmann says:

    I loved learning more about you and all your projects. I love your blog. I am now 81, a retired Interior Designer. I went into Commercial Design upon graduation at the age of 40. Aerospace allowed me to do multiple design challenges of interior in huge buildings with multiple uses, but homes are so much fun. I love seeing what you do. I still love home projects though it takes me longer to finish them at this age. I loved your comment on your 3 hours a day on painting your staircase as I have learned to do that with my energy level. I also have a handy talented husband to do the construction part of projects.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Marilynn –

      I had a few friends who did Commercial Design. It always fascinated me and what they did. As I have gotten older, I don’t work as fast as I used to. Ed and I have been considering making our kitchen larger. Ed said we could do some of the work ourselves to save money. I told him if we do it, I would want all of it done by the builder and contractor’s following my plans. Once it was done, then I would decorate it. Everything else I would want done for us. :-)

  2. Donna Marie says:

    Something entirely different;but I think the cabinet would look better with darker baskets in it, or paint the ones in it. What do you think? Your staircase is beautiful and you are to be commended for completing such an enormous job!!! As for you closet, you will find it will be so fine. Lots of storage and right where you need it. Carry on!!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Donna Marie – I agree with you about the baskets and a few years ago I changed out the sideboard in my foyer. I moved it to another room and replaced it with a dresser. In am in the process of updating the post about the balusters since I did wrote it a few years ago and will swap out the photos. You can see the new piece in this post.

      That is the one thing that takes time as a blogger since we share our projects and decor in real time. Changing the decor is always going on so all the old posts need updating from time to time. Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment. .

  3. Hi, can you see woodgrain through the paint on the balusters? Did you have any trouble with brush marks?
    I have an oak staircase I want to do a similar remodel on. The balusters are round on the bottom, not square. Any ideas for taping around them?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Don –

      I cannot see the wood grain through the paint. My balusters were very smooth after I sanded them. No trouble with brush marks. I like to use a high quality 1″ angled Purdy paint brush and Pro Classic paint from Sherwin Williams. Using these you won’t get brush strokes and the paint formula is self-leveling. :-)

      To tape around the circular baluster, start by laying down a 2″ piece of tape so that the center of the tape is along the edge of the baluster. Then slightly overlap another piece next to it. Repeat adding tape this way until the step around the baluster is covered. I do this when I paint spindle back chairs. Let me know if this makes sense.

  4. Your stairs look beautiful! Do you have the color of stain you used on top rail? It looks so god together.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thank you Sue –

      I didn’t stain the top rail. I left it the same color as it was when we moved into the house. I chose the stair step stain to match the top rail. For the steps I used Minwax Jacobean. It was a little bit darker then the rail, but looked the best and coordinates with all the dark stained doors in my house. I would try looking at stain samples at a home improvement store and see what looks the best for your staircase.

      Sorry that I don’t know the exact stain color of the rail as I know how hard it is to choose stain colors. I just had to choose a stain color to redo my my kitchen table and ended up mixing two colors of stain to get the color I was seeking.

  5. Frances Hawe says:

    I have recently sanded what felt like a million spindles. I had purchased Bosch mesh sanding discs some time ago and ended up using some to sand the spindles. They made quick work of the sanding and quickly lost some of its rigidity which was perfect for the detailed turnings. The mesh is a little more expensive than sand paper but is more durable and work faster imo.

    1. Frances Hawe says:

      Also if I had had the time I would have got rectangular mesh sheets to do the hand sanding for ease of use.

    2. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Frances – Thanks for taking the time to share what you used to make the process of sanding what seems like a million spindles easier. I will look into getting some of the mesh sheets the next time I have to sand something round like the spindles.

  6. Hi! Great post! Do you have to sand the ballisters if they are painted white already? Thanks!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Dani –

      First you need to make sure the existing paint on the balusters is not oil-based paint. If it is you will need to lightly sand and then prime them first. Try this test to determine if they were painted with oil: Pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a paper towel and rub over the surface. If nothing comes off, the paint on the balusters is oil. If this is the case you will need to prime first before using a water-based latex paint. If the paint comes off on the paper towel, then it is latex and you will just need to clean the balusters and let them dry before painting with a latex paint.

      Also if the paint right now on the balusters is shiny latex, then you should lightly sand first. It will only help with adhesion. You don’t have to sand hard, just a light going over.

  7. Renee Hunter says:

    Do you stain and varnish the railings before or after painting the balusters? Also, my stairs are manufactured wood. Can I stain the stairs and paint those risers as if they are wood?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Renee –

      My railing was in good condition so I didn’t have to make it over. If I did, I would do it first. The reason, the stain/varnish could drip onto the steps/risers and you would have to redo parts of the steps after just doing them.

      As far as staining manufactured wood. If the top layer of the flooring is actually wood veneer, then yes you can stain and paint it. If the top layer is not real wood, then you can paint it, but the stain may not take. The only way to find out is to test the stain out on a small area. If you are going to paint the risers, be sure to sand them first so the paint has something to grip onto.

  8. Doris Booth says:

    Thank you for your tips. Did you tape off the round top of spindles? Or any other suggestion?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Doris – I did not use painter’s tape on the under side of the handrail where the balusters met the handrail. I used a 1″ angled brush to carefully paint around each baluster’s top section.

      For other painting tips, make sure you prep everything and if you are going to use painter’s tape – get it all in place first. Once you get in the groove of painting, you will have no need to stop your rhythm to do more prep work. Also once you get going, you will find out what kind and length of strokes will be needed to get the balusters painted.

  9. Irene Ozuna says:

    What a difference . Love you’re creativity. The way u used paint is so practical and made such a difference. Looks wonderful . Sorry that I just now noticed this .

  10. This looks great!! I am embarking on my own staircase project (treads, risers, and balusters). How long did you wait in between sections (after the treads and before moving onto risers, etc)?

  11. Hi there!!
    I love how your staircase came out! Great job! I am in the process of doing ours too. My balusters are originally a light stained wood, and I am about to paint them white just like you. I am nervous about getting white paint on my freshly stained handrail. Like yours, my balusters are rounded up at the top, and my taping seems not too great. I am wondering which painter’s tape did you use. Did you use the blue or the green. Did you get the standard 1″ kind or the rounded kind? PLEASE help me with any advice about this, specifically how you taped your handrail around the spindles or balusters. Thank you so much!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Becky –

      Either tape will work. I find Frog Tape is easier to remove. The key to getting the tape fitted around the balusters is to rip the tape or cut it into short pieces, about 1″ long. Apply the pieces under the handrail around the balusters, overlapping them to make sure you are getting the handrail masked off. I always use the standard 1″. I have never used the rounded kind.

      1. Thank you so much Diane! I really appreciate your advice!

  12. Shaye Steve says:

    This is amazing, looking forward to seeing a more relevant article like this.

  13. Roger Rock says:

    This is a stunning makeover of yours. this is amazing, you stair railing is awesome. It looks simple but elegant. Thank you for sharing this one.

  14. What a beautiful job, the whole effect is stunning! I can appreciate the hard work factor as I’m right in the process of painting our ballusters. I was up until 2 am the other night trying to touch up where the paint leaked under the tape and onto the stair skirt. I just made it look worse and was close to tears so yeah, losing your mind is an accurate term when it comes to painting ballusters! I’ve decided to leave it for a couple of days before I tackle the next set of 10 posts. I’m trying to find a better tape than the blue 3m stuff. The one listed didn’t get very good reviews. Anyway, wish me luck!

  15. Mary Lynn Johnson says:

    I’m so sorry that I addressed you as Jenny. I was looking at one of your responses.
    Mea Culpa!

  16. Mary Lynn Johnson says:

    Jenny, I need your advice.
    I need to repaint the balusters white and repaint the handrail with stain.
    How do I prepare the balusters? Wipe clean and apply primer then paint?
    Parts of the handrail are more worn than other.
    Do I sand the handrails before re-staining?
    Can I stain in a darker color?

    You are a real trooper!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary Lynn –

      Do the handrail first, then the balusters. This way if any stain drips down on the balusters you will be eventually painting them. If you do the balusters first you may need to touch-up any stain that gets on the balusters.

      Everything needs to be sanded, then cleaned with hot sudsy water, the dried before apply stain or paint. A light going over with 100 grit sandpaper will be good. To smooth, go over with 220 grit.

      You can re-stain the handrail if it doesn’t have a protective sealer/finish on it, like polyurethane. If it does, then you will need to strip it off first, then sand lightly, clean and re-stain and then poly.

      If the handrail is simply stained, run 220 grit sandpaper over the surface to rough it up ever so slightly, clean it off, let dry and re-stain. You can use a darker color. You may want to apply Pre-stain Conditioner to the wood first. This will help ensure the color of the stain goes on evenly. I used this for both the staircases I redid.

      You can see the posts here: and here

      Once you have tackled the handrail, paint the balusters. To prepare the balusters follow the tutorial at the end of my post. After sanding them, clean off all sanding grit, let dry and then one light coat of primer and two light coats of semi-gloss or gloss paint.

  17. Mary-Anne Matthews says:

    We would love to paint our staircase (not the actual stairs) and trim. Our walls are not white … all of our trim in the rest of the house is Benjamin Moore Cloud White. The trim or ‘string’ borders walls that are not white. Would we still use Cloud White on that part?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary-Anne – I would use the same color that is on the rest of your trim – Cloud White. It will coordinate all the trim through the house which is a good thing. :-) Use a semi-gloss finish or if you want a very shiny look, use a gloss finish. I used semi-gloss on mine.

  18. I would love to do this to my stairs but I’m afraid of slipping on the wood with socked feet. How can I make the stair treads not slippery?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joanne –

      If you are concerned about slipping when you have socks on you could add a runner up the center of the steps. It is a nice look. I am not sure of any other way to make the wood on the steps less smooth. I know for paint you can add sand, but I don’t think it would look very good in a stained and poly-ed finish.

  19. Thanks for posting this! I painted my banister (white spindles, left the handrail oak) and kept referring to this post often to give myself moral support! Now that it’s done I love it. I know it is popular now to stain the oak handrail dark and paint the spindles white but that look doesn’t work in my house. So, I was really happy with this compromise and i think it has a timeless look about it.

  20. Lucy Tobias says:

    That sanding and painting is too big job. I tried to do repaint old my old kid bed because it is still in good condition after 30 years except paint and mattress. I wanted to give it to my sister who should have newborn in October. Idea was nice but sanding was to exhausting. I worked on it for a week. For project like yours I would need a year :))))
    Congratulation on your expertise.

  21. It looks wonderful! You are so inspiring! I need paint my staircase. “Block off the time.” That does sound like the key. I’m so excited about the tape and drape link. I used to buy something similar and haven’t been able to find it. Love that stuff!

  22. I was inspired when you first began talking about this project. Our stairs are carpeted and I really dislike them. I had a carpet guy over and asked him what kind of treads he thought was under the carpet. He pulled the carpet back from the side (I didn’t know you could do that) and they are not pretty. It looks like just lumber the contractor cut to size. I’m sure it would be very expensive to put in new risers and treads so I’ll just have to keep looking at that ugly carpet. But I’m glad yours turned out so well. Congrats to you for getting that done. And I’ll remember your tip to put jobs I don’t want to do on my calendar!

  23. It looks fantastic! All of the work was worth it for that fresh look! :)

  24. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    So much better now! All the stain (balusters) to me was a too cluttered look. My boyfriend’s house is painted dark and reminds me of a dungeon. He is almost 13 years younger than me, but his house looks like he is a hundred years old. And a hidden door is so wonderful, a dream come true, but my house is way too tiny. Also the bf told me that when you decide to sell your house, you paint it white. Yes, he is crazy. How we have stayed together for over 8 years, is beyond me!

  25. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Great job! The stairs and balusters look new! I’m for leaving the newel post and rails natural wood… ‘dirty’ hands running up and down the rails and the post could eventually show up on the white. (Of course by dirty…I don’t mean nasty. Preventative measures for any grand-kids in the future.)

  26. Fabulous job, Diane. So glad you came out of it alive! We had a similar problem here at OneandSeventy although, thankfully, just one set of stairs and a small landing. Ours was highly varnished in a dark (very orange!) colour, so I opted to prime with Zinsser BIN. No sanding for me, yay! I did 4 coats in the end… 3 primer and 1 top coat. Compared to the Lake House, ours is a tiny postage stamp of a North-facing hallway, but you can imagine it makes almost as big an impact. I’m looking forward to seeing how you and Ed tackle your storage solution and how you style the space; it will be wonderful, I’m sure. Sue

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Sue – BIN is such a great product to use when painting over wood. I am sure your hallway looks much brighter now.

  27. Hi Diane! It looks beautiful! I loved your old house and I love this one too. We love SC- I grew up there, and we would love to go back someday. Anyhow, I would live to get your opinion on something if you don’t mind. I have been planning on painting my risers, and balusters white. I have the honey colored oak. The floors are hardwood, and I plan to leave the treads as is. I want to paint the railings black. Would you recommend painting those first, or the balusters? I thought maybe railings first, and then if I drip black paint on the balusters, I could sand it off, lol. Thanks for your time!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Colleen – I would paint highest to lowest, so just like you said, if any black paint gets on the balusters you can sand it off before you paint the balusters. It sounds like it is going to look very nice once you are done. Happy painting!

      1. Thanks, Diane! If it looks half as nice as yours, I’ll be happy!

  28. lindalw666 says:

    It is a beautiful house, but it wouldn’t be quite as Beautiful without the time and attention you put into it! I think when you work on something that you really love, it shows!
    A hard job, but you did some wonderful work there! and maybe not have to repeat for 4 or 7 years… or 23.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – I am hoping my staircase painting days are over. :-) I am enjoying updating the house. Wes B’s brother-in-law is a frequent visitor and always comes in and looks around to see what got changed since the last time he visited. He is coming tomorrow night so I know he will comment on the staircase.

  29. I am so glad you put the two pictures side by side, it really shows how beautiful they turned out. I always like to read the comments other people write, sometimes they see something I didn’t notice in the picture. Now would be the perfect time to go sit on the deck and enjoy the changing season on the lake. Great Job

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Lou – I do try to take some time each day to sit outside and enjoy the whole reason we moved. It is a nice feeling. It is still hot here, but I am looking forward to watching the trees change color.

  30. Love it! What a beautiful transformation.

  31. Terri/Houston Lady says:

    Hi Diane,
    Wow what a transformation! Looks awesome..great job : )

  32. Mary Heicher says:

    Wow Diane,
    It looks wonderful. Personally, I’d leave the posts dark. It seems to frame the white in between the dark posts.
    I’m waiting for the weather here to cool, so I can paint the railings and posts on my newly finished deck.
    They are turned wood also, of course, no flat easy to paint surface, lol.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Mary – Deck painting…no fun! Those darn turned pieces of wood. :-) They look great, but are not the easiest to paint. I hope the process goes quickly for you and you can soon relax and enjoy all your hard work.

  33. I’m inspired to redo my staircase. Fortunately the balusters are already white so another finish coat wouldn’t be all that hard to tackle. I do like the look of no runner on the stairs but need one for safety. I also want to darken the stain on the tread as it is too light for my tastes.

    Question for you: how do you clean the railing? Mine is dingy and feels sticky in the summer. I haven’t found the right solution to getting it clean.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Patti – The humidity in the summer seems to do that to wood especially as the finish gets older. I clean all the woodwork and almost everything with a spritz of Thieves Cleaner. It is a concentrated cleaner made with essential oils that you mix with water in a spray bottle. I like it because it is not toxic, smells great and removes all smudges. It is sold by Young Living. Another cleaner I have used in the past is Murphy’s Oil Soap. Have you ever tried that?

      1. I have tried Murphy’s Oil Soap. The finish is 22 years old so that could contribute to the stickiness. I will try the Thieves Cleaner. Thanks for your reply.

        And I love your blog. I used to work in the display department of a large store, too, and learned how to do a lot of quick fixes.

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Thanks Patti – Everything I learned about decorating came from 3 places… my mom, working in display, and magazines. Most of it though and my confidence came from my many years of doing retail displays. :-)

  34. Diane, another great job!! I dread these kinds of jobs but you put your head down and get on with it. The recommendation on putting in your calendar is a good one. I vote for painting the end post though.

  35. Cindy Richardson says:

    Diane, that turned out AMAZING!!! It makes the whole foyer brighter.

  36. Amazing. I love the contrast of the wood to the white – very classy looking.
    Love all the fun ideas you have created in your new home and seeing them transform
    the space. You are such a creative person. Love your blog posts.

  37. Amazing!!! What a fantastic job you did, brightens it up so much, love it!!!
    I absolutely would have lost my mind!!!
    Great job?

  38. patty reed-pederson says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Stunning.

  39. Melissa Leach says:

    Diane, what you have accomplished is amazing! Congratulations! You deserve a rest :)

  40. Looks AMAZING, Diane!! Want to come visit and help me with mine? Pretty please? Ha! HUGS.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Coming right over with my paint brush in hand. XO :-)

  41. Turned out so nice, Diane!! I can’t imagine how terrible it must have been. My husband and son helped me do a bathroom, a small hallway, the kitchen and dining room this summer – paint, some beadboard, and trim. I still have to finish the upstairs stairway – paint the walls and the steps. I’ve already taken more time off than I intended. I have the wall paint, so I can definitely begin with that – just needing a little push to get going. Lol.

  42. I know it had to feel like the project that never ends, but wow it is BEAUTIFUL and now you get to enjoy it for years! I think it’s just sit there in the foyer for a while and enjoy that beautiful sight!

  43. Your efforts turned the staircase into something really beautiful! I think the white paint on the outside edge of the stairway made such a difference. You are really transforming your house & I love the fireplace transformation too.
    I’m wondering what the square footage is of your home?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – The fireplace truly transformed the house. Neighbors who had been in the house many times when the previous owners lived here, can’t believe what a difference the fireplace made. The square footage of the house is 2780. From the front it looks like a ranch house, but from the water side you can see it is a 2-story home.

      1. You have a beautiful home & the transformations are amazing! I forgot to mention seeing the colorful towels at the top of the stairs. I love happy colors like that!

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Thanks Linda – That is one reason I like white walls…. colors pop against it. When I saw the towels at HomeGoods I knew they would look perfect in the guest bath that you see at the top of the stairs. Happy colors for sure and a little color therapy for all those who pass by or use the room.

  44. We live in a house with an open foyer and an oak stained staircase very similar to yours. I would love to remove the carpet and paint the balusters white like you did. I love that look and yours looks amazing! The time involved was worth it! My fear is that by removing the carpet, the foyer will become an “echo chamber”. I imagine you have the same issue. Do you feel the noise on the stairs is a small price to pay for the enhanced aesthetics? Does the noise bother you at all?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susan – When we first removed the carpet on the staircase that I made over in my previous house, we did notice that the sounds of our feet hitting the stairs was different from what we were used to hearing. We didn’t mind it though. It just took some getting used to. Here in the lake house I don’t even notice it, you do hear someone going up or down, but it isn’t loud and doesn’t bother me at all.

  45. This is a different paint then what you painted your baseboards with. Did you have the it color matched? I have all new trim in my house; baseboards, windows, doors, and a staircase. Should I paint all of it in the same white? Your staircase looks great. I have been dreading all this painting but if I do it in chunks of time like you did maybe I can get through it.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carla – You should use the same color on the trim throughout the house. I used different semi-gloss paints to try them out, but have them made up into the same color which is Sherwin Williams Pure White 7005. It is the best white, not too blue or yellow. I always use semi-gloss on the trim. I have used two different paints in my house on the wood trim. Glidden Complete and SW Pro Classic. I like both and have many gallons of each…one of the perks of being a DIY blogger, so I switch back and forth so I can see how they wear and hold up on different areas. In my bedroom I used Glidden Swan White on the trim for a post about the HGTV house, but everything else is SW Pure White. In my previous house I used Valspar Bistro White, but in my lake house it has a yellow cast…so I am sticking with SW Pure White.

      If you plan ahead and schedule it on your calendar is the best way to get the project going. Once you have everything set up, the actual painting process won’t seem as overwhelming. Just know with every stroke of the brush you will soon be rewarded with the look you are after. That is what gets me through. :-)

  46. Looks great!!! I know it took awhile but only $75?? Totally worth it!

  47. Wow, Diane. A job, well done! I so enjoy watching how the house is becoming your home. I’m really looking forward to your kitchen posts.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Erika – I have all the paint ready to go for the kitchen, I just need to get it going. I may use the sprayer out in my garage to do all the doors and can only do that once the humidity is gone. Looking forward to low and a no humidity fall for fast paint drying. :-) I will post all about the process.

  48. Christina in FL says:

    Diane, my hat (if I had one on) is off to you! Wow! Now I know why ranch style houses are popular. :))) You did a beautiful job and thank you to the links to the products you used. :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Christina – I have used so many products and have never used one that didn’t work, but when I find products that I think make the job easier, I will always link to them. The Tape & Drape is the best. I picked it up at Lowes, just to try it out. I will be using it from now on for all my painting projects. :-)

  49. WOW Diane I have only just discovered your blog and I love it! You are so inspirational you make me feel like I can do anything I put my mind to. Thank you for that. The staircase looks amazing great job well done. I can’t wait to see the new ‘underneath’ when you decide what you’re having. Kitchen next? You certainly are a go getter……….. Looking forward to following you around your house :-) cheers CARol

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carol – Thanks for taking the time to say hi. I love hearing from new readers. Many years ago I realized that the only way I was going to be able to afford to get the look I wanted for my homes was to DIY it. My background in retail display gave me the “can-do” attitude. I will be posting all about the changes in the kitchen.

  50. As always Diane you continue to inspire and encourage by your efforts. They look beautiful I will be un the Staes in December but only inColumbus otherwise I would call and say hello from Oz> I wonder what you will do when it is all finished :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Patricia – I do enjoy updating the house, but I have do look forward to the day when most of the big projects are behind me. Enjoy your trip.

  51. jenny

    take a look at amy howard chalk paint; no sanding or priming, just paint. you do have to wax or add her gloss sealer (easy) but i carry the line and have bee using it for years and painted many a staircase.
    yours is gorgeous!

  52. Patricia Wilson says:

    Diane, your staircase is beautiful. Great job! Your step-by-step is so comprehensive I feel I can finally tackle the reno of my own staircase and foyer, though I’m not at all looking forward to what’s involved. Nevertheless, you inspire me, so I will, indeed, “suck it up,” and follow in your DIY footsteps.

  53. Ooooh I love the finished look of the stairs and railing. I like the idea of a hidden door in a closet too. But I actually do rather like the appearance of a sort of “floating” staircase with it open under the stairs as it is now. It’s so light and breezy that way. But I know, sometimes storage wins out. Lovely lovely lovely Diane!

  54. Diane, you are an amazing woman. I love the newly painted parts of the staircase. Lovely to see how you knew the stained part needed to stay. That way. I am looking forward to seeing the hidden door. Smiles

  55. Excellent! I like the stained post. If it were painted I think the handrail would look like it was floating. I love the look. What a great job your doing!

    I ended up with tennis elbow after painting all the trim on second floor – three coats. But it was worth for the white trim!

  56. What an amazing transformation! I’m in awe of your talent, stamina and vision. I just love the idea of having a hidden door. Well done you!

  57. Good job! But I am intrigued by the unusual piece of furniture with the baskets. I have never seen a piece like this. Would you share its history with us?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Hannah – The sideboard/desk is a hand-me-down piece of furniture from Ed’s uncle. We have had it for about 26 years. In one house we lived in, it didn’t fit so it lived in my sister’s house for 4 years. When we moved to our previous house she was sad she had to give it back. :-) It is in many blog post photos when I showed the foyer in my previous house.

      The top center drawer slides out and then lays flat to create a desk. There is a green leather blotter attached to the inside. I believe it is a reproduction of a Hepplewhite piece.

  58. Great job!!!! Looks more open now.

    You have enough room under your stairway to make a nice nook or can add shelves with some glass paned doors in front. So many ideas…… :-)

  59. Wow! love the transformation, a lot of work but it looks beautiful

  60. Debbie Mayfield says:

    Looks beautiful!!! I imagine you are sitting back admiring your work. Great job!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Debbie – Thank you. I did relax over the weekend and enjoy how the foyer is starting to come together. Now I hope I have the stamina to get the kitchen done.

  61. Beautiful transformation! Well done!

    I must admit, I think you left out the part about how to prevent losing your mind! Surely there’s a secret involving loud music to sing along with, adult beverages in moderate supply, and a sweet treat every time you finished one baluster, right? :-)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jenny – I did have music on and one day put the TV downstairs volume to high so I could at least listen to the movie, Pillow Talk. :-) Wine would have made me feel great, but knowing me would have had me missing a few balusters.