In the first phase of our renovation, it felt liked there was a lot connected. The dining room led us to tackle a balcony which led to new windows and doors and doorways which led to floors which led to addressing our stair railings–that were NOT my favorite. But the truth of the matter was, we were already MAXED out on our budget, and we couldn’t afford to add on all new railings.
We talked about postponing new flooring on the stairs and upper landing until we could save up some more money, but the more I looked at what we had, the more I could pinpoint what it was that I didn’t love.
- I didn’t love how each stair was trimmed out in wood on the sides.
- I didn’t love the ornate wrought iron spindles.
- I didn’t love the cream glazed balusters and railing.
But I realized, the shape of the newel post and railing wasn’t all that bad. Could we simply replace the spindles? We took the question to our contractor and were met with a little bit of a hesitation. “We’d have to wood fill every hole on the underside of the railing and sand that down. It would be easier just to get a new railing.” But once I expressed that I’d really love to save this railing (and our budget) and just paint it black, even if it meant filling holes–we got them on board. Here’s how it looks now!
It has made such a night and day difference and I am SO SO happy we were able to reuse parts of the railing–only getting new spindles–which still cost us about $1600 for the custom spindles, install and paint. I looked at SO much inspiration (and shared a bunch in this post) and narrowed it down to a simple wood tapered spindle. I wanted it to be fresh but classic, so we had it all painted the same color–Top Hat Black by Sherwin Williams in their Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel. Warning: It’s smelly! (We left the house for a day and a half while they were painting this.) But I love the high gloss, rock hard finish.
Below is the back staircase which has a much shorter railing that we also refreshed with new spindles and fresh paint.
Although our spindles were custom, I’ve searched “wood tapered spindles” online since and found a plethora of options at really good prices. We only wanted 2 spindles max per stair which required a very specific measurement to ensure that it still met code–so we had a local wood worker make the spindles to all the same height and then the installer actually trimmed from the bottom during install so the angle of the taper was consistent going up the stairs.
We nixed the individual trimmed out stairs for a slick white stringer (the molding going up the rise of the stairs). I really wanted the white risers to look like they were wrapping around seamlessly and I’m so happy with how it turned out and the combination of white, wood, glossy black and our beige baseboards. I’m dying to update the lighting in the stairwells and entry. We’ll be replacing all the wood doors in the coming months, too. I was just going to paint the ones we had but I have gotten so many inquiries about them, I’d rather sell them to someone who will LOVE them for what they are and get new ones–probably painted the same color as the trim.
This black (Top Hat Black by Sherwin Williams) is a wonderful true black. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a way to modernize your own stair railings. (Another bonus–we were able to pass on the balusters to another family that really wanted them!)