Archives For Stairway

DIY Stair Runner

July 14, 2012 — 21 Comments

I have been wanting to do a stair runner ever since I first finished the stairs. (I wrote a post about that project here)  The problem with a stair runner is that I couldn’t find one that was both long enough and pretty enough.  I wondered if anyone had ever used floor carpet runners on their stairs and after a little googling I found out that some had!

Casey over at Loft & Cottage did her stairs using some runners from Ikea. Didn’t it turn out beautiful?

Loft & Cottage DIY Stair Runner

I was hoping for something with a little more drama like these stairs with a chevron pattern runner.



Since we’ve been saving for the kitchen renovation lately I haven’t even given our stairs a second thought.  Enter Marshalls.  Or should I say Emily entered Marshalls and found one gorgeous 2.6′ x 8′ navy and white Ikat runner (for $30!!!!) and fell in love and wondered where oh where was she going to find two more just like it.

I got a little desperate.  There may have been some Instagram, Twitter, Facebook begging going on. Maybe.

fb screenshot

The next morning I called no less than eight different Marshalls before finding the store that saved my life stairs! The nice man said he’d hold it for me until that afternoon.  After work I drove straight there.  I saw it sitting on the back counter waiting for me.  My heart went pitter patter. Okay, enough of the melodrama.  I went back to the rug section just to see if there was any way they’d have TWO of these beauties.  (For some reason it had escaped my mind to ask the man on the phone that morning if they had more than one–I guess I was just so excited someone finally said something other than “no, we don’t have anything like what you’re describing”.)  I couldn’t believe it, there was one more runner waiting just for ME!!

I really think I had have an emotional attachment to these things.  They are beautiful and affordable, how could I not?

I had read on many sites that a great way to make a rug/runner non-slip was to apply silicone caulk to the back of the rug.  I had some in the basement so it seemed like the easiest fix to me.  I grabbed the stuff and the runners and applied it like I saw in the pictures.  I took about 2 minutes to do all three!


That’s where the good news ends.

About 24 hours later Alex noticed a yellowing on the back of the carpets…right where the silicone was.  I’m talking highlighter yellow.  I frantically turned the runner over praying that it didn’t bleed through.  It did.  It’s only where the carpet is white, but it’s noticeable in day light.  We tried everything we could think of to get the stain out, but it was no good.  I ripped the silicone backing off and let it sit for a few days while I contemplated what I was going to do.

I just love these runners so much I couldn’t just not use them.  The yellowing faded slightly, but it’s not bad enough for me to abort the whole plan all together.

caulk caused yellowing on rug

Needless to say, I found another option to help the runner grip the stairs.


A few lot of staples later we had a runner on our stairs and I’m so glad I didn’t just give up!


(Excuse the bum shot)

navy Ikat stair runner

Some places there are no yellow marks at all…

navy Ikat stair runner

…and then there are other spots where it’s very evident.

navy Ikat stair runner

We spray painted the staples black before putting them in the staple gun so they’d blend in.  A Sharpie would work great too.

DIY navy Ikat stair runner

navy Ikat stair runner

navy Ikat stair runner

It took us a few hours, and we got really sweaty even though it didn’t seem like we were doing very hard work.















UPDATEJesus healed my runner and the highlighter-yellow stains from the caulk have completely disappeared!



















Stairway Picture Wall

February 4, 2012 — 1 Comment


I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll mention it again—-I am NOT good with details.  I see big picture-like the colors of the walls, the shapes of the room, but accessorizing???  No way.  It scares me to death.

Enter my mom.

I enlisted her to help me put some frames on my stairway wall.  I hit up Ikea earlier this week and snagged 11 frames for less than $40!  Oh yeah!

I originally started with the pictures I had and tried to find frames, but I not so quickly  eventually realized it’s much easier to start with the frames, then find the pictures to go in them…so that’s what we did.

We started off by practicing on the floor: (PS-Those sub-floors won’t be naked for much longer….I picked up 37 boxes of beautiful floors on Friday!)

Once we had the general idea of which frames would go where we traced the frames on to some paper and cut them out as temporary holding places on the wall.

This is how it started.  In a very straight, organized, diagonal line.  I called Alex to give me his opinion on it and he changed it around a little bit.  I like it even better after he did.

I know that this is just the beginning of what the wall will be someday.  It may still look a little bare, but I will be able to add things to it over time.

 The walls aren’t naked anymore!!!!  Woohoooooo!!!   And doesn’t Abby look so dang cute just sitting up there?  I wish she’d sit perfectly still for all of my pictures:)

Yes, some of the frames are still empty, but that will be fixed soon enough.  The port-hole mirror and brass key were finds from Queen of Hearts Antique’s a couple of weeks ago.  I can’t wait to add more and more details as time goes by.

I created some of my own graphics on photoshop that are unique to me and/or Alex.  Some were Pinterest inspired, but most were just unique to us.  Here are the ones I used for the stairway.



So here we are.  The official “before” shot of our entry way and stairs.

Wait, hold up.  This isn’t really the ‘before’ shot.  Here’s the REAL before shot from the day we moved in.

So we’ve definitely made some progress since Day 1.  Painting all the stained trim and doors took a lot of time.  Lots of priming and waiting to dry; priming and waiting to dry; painting and waiting to dry; you get the point.  But that’s finished, the wall paper is down and the walls are painted a shade of gray that sometimes I like and sometimes I don’t.  It’s a lighting thing—sometimes the gray looks a bit blue.  But I think once I get the walls decorated they will look great.

Here’s a close up of the stairs before getting started–

I played around with some tools adding texture to the stairs–a hammer, some wide thread screws, random objects that I hammered on to the stairs.  You pretty much can’t go wrong with whatever you do.  My only suggestion is to start out light and after you stain you can re-assess if you want more distressing or not.  Our stairs were definitely beat up already and had plenty of distress on them which made my job much easier!  There are a million staple holes in them which I was worried would look weird, but in the end it looks absolutely great!

There was this weird wood appliqué thing-a-ma-jig on the side of the stairs that had to come off.  It took me about a minute to pry the thin wood layer off.  I’ll paint part of that white when I’m finished to match the rest of the molding.


Okay, I have to admit that I’m someone to tends to jump in to projects and neglecting the prep work.  I’ve learned the hard way that this is not a good idea.  So this time around I blocked off all the doorways to keep the dust isolated as much as possible.

This may seem the most “duh” thing ever–but WEAR A MASK!  When I sanded my dining table I skipped out on a mask because I just didn’t have one—errrrrr, bad idea.  By the end of the day I was coughing and wheezing like crazy.  I’m a nurse.  How could I be so dumb?!  HA–You live and learn!  And when you’re stubborn, sometimes it takes a little longer to learn;-)

Here’s the half-way progress point of sanding the stairs.  Can you see the difference?  And have I ever mentioned how much I love my Dewalt palm sander?  It’s MAAARRRVELOUS!

I stained the first stair and had to stop and take some pictures because I was so excited how it was turning out!

Another tip that is so obvious, but I didn’t think about it until I had just started—When you’re working on stairs, you have to do every other stair so you can get up and down them!  Duh, right?  I’m so thankful I realized it before I got halfway down the stairway.

It looks like I didn’t skip stairs here, but I did.  I was able to go ahead and stain the faces of the stairs since they don’t actually get stepped on.  This made staining the skipped steps go really quickly because most of the surfaces were already finished.

I took the arm rail off the wall and sanded it and gave it a little distressing too.  Here I’m doing the “screws in a ziploc bag, banging on the wood distressing effect”.  I have John from Young House Love to thank for this one.  YHL did a great tutorial for aging wood that you can check out here.

I was able to do all of this last Saturday.  I’m not finished with the stairs completely, but I’m almost there.  I need to finish the hand rail and seal the stairs.  As you can see, the walls are quite bare.  I’m working on that.  I’ve found that I’m better at big-picture things and not so great on accessorizing. That’s the fun part of this house reno, though—trial and error!

So here are the stairs almost finished. I’m so excited about them!

I went darker with the stain to have a strong contrast between the light colors in the rest of the house.  I’ll be on the hunt for a stair runner soon too since wood stairs can be a little slippery—and I’m a total clutz.

Hopefully I’ll have a REAL after shot soon!