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The New Balusters are Painted Black… And White!

October 5, 2021  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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Last week I took some time to slow down and this week I’m hitting the ground running, or rather the stairs. When I shared an update on the grand staircase and entryway, I mentioned that I might want to paint the balusters black and we even did a fun mock-up. Well, the entryway got painted, along with the balusters, and I decided on white. At least these balusters, and at least for now…

Here’s what the entry used to look like.

Before

Today

Some of you are probably surprised I was even debating on white because of my deep love for black, and yet here I am. It’s everything I pictured the entryway to be. Just an effortless white on white with the walls, the stringers, and the balusters.

Before

Today

I realized that once I swap out the light fixture for something black and add a runner down the stairs–it will really ground everything, but still allow the railings to remain a quiet supporter in the design.

 

 

The white is giving me the look that I wanted with the staircase (I was reminded that I even said I wanted white in our original plans here–something I always need to remember to reference as things start to come together). However, I didn’t make the same choice in the rest of the house.

Bonus Room Before

Bonus Room Today

Okay, this is quite a bit more zoomed in than the before because of all the construction that’s happening here. But the black painted balusters needed to happen here. I think they look so sleek and elegant. Because these railings don’t have the grandeur the front staircase does, I think the black helps add a little something.

Also, sneak peak of the planking being installed. You can read this post here for an update on the bonus room, and also how to DIY your own planking.

Home Office Before

Home Office Today

I love the way the black and wood (the railing and end post are both stained weathered oak and the balusters are painted tricorn black) work together. I debated staining the support post in the middle and on the corners, but I really loved the look of just one wood baluster at the end.

Attic Staircase Recently

Attic Staircase Today

Ignore the shoe-moulding at the base of the staircase. That will get removed and replaced with a wood-toned shoe moulding to match. This space might illustrate my dilemma with the entryway balusters being white, because you can actually see them here! My biggest concern in keeping them white is that they’ll feel disjointed from the rest of the house. It makes me wonder if I should just paint them black. Or is this something I can overlook and just get used to? I think time will tell.

 

I really love the black and I really love the white. I’m going to keep the entryway white for now, while we add finishing touches over the next little bit and then reassess. It’s the grand staircase, so I think it’s okay for it to be different–but I can’t tell if it’s weird or not. Haha!

Black is Tricorn Black by Sherwin Williams.

White is White Flour by Sherwin Willams.

Wood is Weathered Oak

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What do you think?

  1. Irmarie Cervera says:

    What is it about dark colors and smaller spaces that is so yummy.

  2. Veronica D says:

    I love how you show is all your process of decision making. I don’t wish you headaches abs frustration second guessing but I do find it very honest and sweet that you don’t know precisely what you want. It’s very relatable abs that’s why I’m here. Thank you and at the end I’m always in awe of your final product.

  3. weird can be wonderful! I love both so good luck on making your decision, glad it’s you and not me because I would be vacillating until I die.

  4. Sydney Haskell says:

    The Grand Staircase says it all. It is grand and white suits a home like this. Imagine the girls coming down in their prom dresses. The black in the more informal areas works with your design esthetic. Trail Blazers away Julia!

  5. Deborah Plifka says:

    The new entry is just gorgeous, and I’m voting for white balusters throughout. I like the black, too, but I do like the white better. I like that the white balusters are in synch with the cool, serene vibe of the white walls, light floor and stair treads. I think the black disrupts that vibe (in a good way, though!). Can you tell me the wall color in the entry? I love following your home renovation!

  6. Christine says:

    This all looks beautiful! You’re doing a wonderful job. I love following your home design journey!

  7. monica says:

    Hmmmmm – I think the front staircase (saying “grand” staircase seems a bit silly to me) looks fine. I do think that the original open stringer served an interesting purpose in that the peek at the wood stair treads broke up the sea of white that is now there. Perhaps that is what the original designer was going for. Either way, it is a lovely entrance view.

  8. Tonia says:

    Entry way looks amazing.
    Its just all a greatt change
    The attic looks good
    I was thinking the railing going dwn the attic would look good painted black
    Enjoy ur make over.

  9. Rob Leach says:

    Please stop using “really” when you are writing.

  10. Anne says:

    I love the black spindles – they really enhance the oak flooring. The new stringer does calm down the hallway – but the spindles are much shorter as a result. Great idea to live with the white spindles for a bit – they are set in the white stringer, rather than oak, so they wouldn’t look the same as your other staircases. Vive la difference – until you make a ‘final’ decision.

    • A.S. says:

      Your paint choice is similar to mine except that i was thinking of painting all the spindles black on both staircases and painting all the trim and the banisters white. Or the opposite and banisters tricorn black and spindles pure white. Can’t decide! House color will be crushed ice.

  11. Ali says:

    Really love the white as it is, as you said, the grand staircase. Beautiful job and absolutely should be fine with the other balusters being black. It’s a whole different animal. 🤩

  12. Paige says:

    I love the grand staircase white! Everything is beautiful.

  13. Jen says:

    My 2 cents (and only that) – leave the bonus room and home office staircases black and return the attic staircase to white! Everything is looking lovely!

  14. Lee Harrison says:

    All your choices have been stunning! I admit I thought you were gilding the lily changing the grand staircase…but oh my…what a wonderful difference! I’m willing to bet you end up with black spindles on the grand staircase. You could use black wrapping paper to cover a half dozen spindles toward the middle of the staircase to sort of road test the black.

  15. Vicki williams says:

    I’m wondering why my comments never show up. I comment fairly often and then when i look back they are not there. Trust me they are always positive :))

  16. Courtney says:

    It definitely doesn’t look weird! I love it! I think BECAUSE its the grand staircase it CAN be a little different. When its all accessorized with a new light fixture, runner and entry styling, it will still look cohesive to the rest of the house. I think the white balusters add to the warm and inviting nature of the entry. Its truly stunning and can now serve as an inspiration image for others :)

  17. Summer says:

    Hi Julia! First… I love the white balusters on the main stair. To be honest, I thought it’d be impossible to achieve your original goal for the entryway with those stairs, but all the changes, with the white, have really quieted them and also elevated them in the best possible way. For what it’s worth, I’m with the others who say paint the attic balusters white too if you need them to match, vs. the other way around. I think the white is especially key where the balusters arch along the top landing.

    Other than that, I’m wondering if you could share whether all the railing pieces (including the hand rails) are white oak, or whether some of the parts are red oak. I’m curious whether the weathered oak stain is pulling them together despite being different woods. If so, it’s very encouraging to see that it’s not that noticeable!

    Thank you for all the time you take to answer these sorts of questions! :)

  18. Jennifer I says:

    I don’t think I would even think about it if I were coming into your home! Whatever makes you happy

  19. Katie says:

    I think this is one of those instances where you couldn’t go wrong either way. They all look lovely.

  20. Natalie says:

    Wow, it’s absolutely beautiful! All of it

  21. Linda F. says:

    I love the white in the entry with the black everywhere else. The entry is the queen of the house, with the herringbone floors and the white balusters. Everywhere else has the same flooring material and baluster shape, complimenting the queen while letting her be distinct and special. Love it!!

  22. ashley says:

    definitely keep the grand staircase white!!

  23. Misa says:

    Julia, this is stunning! So classic and sophisticated and chic!

  24. JL says:

    I must say, I love the Tricorn black. I think once you have incorporated all of the other design elements in the entry AND once you’ve seen how the staircase plays with the dark green island on one side and the mural wall on the other, you’ll have a much better idea whether the white or black conveys the overall effect you’re looking for. The grand staircase will be stunning either way. Having said that, for some reason the white balusters look “unfinished” to me. It took me a minute to put my finger on it. The black balusters have such a gorgeous shine to the finish. It may be just the lighting or it may be intentional, but the white ones appear a bit matte or flat. BTW, did you keep the Juliet balcony balusters white as well?

  25. Linda says:

    I love love the grand staircase balusters are white. I would keep them white and if the continuity with the attic stairs bothers you, paint the attic stairs white as well. The continuity would not be an issue for me so if you like them black just leave them black, but for sure leave the grand staircase all white. Great job!! It’s all gorgeous.

    • Bobbi says:

      Hey you’ve nailed it .. again.
      Looks beautiful! How about the front door being painted black ;) be the perfect touch…

  26. Shelby Dawn says:

    Is the weathered oak a sherwin Williams stain? It’s perfect! And I love the different baluster colors. Perfect for their own spaces.

  27. Samrah says:

    I love how you kept the balusters white allowing for a standout black light fixture! I’m so excited to see everything tied together with a vintage runner 😍.

  28. Sarah C says:

    Black & white go together like peas & carrots! I say leave it as is. Everything looks great.

  29. Tracey says:

    Its your space, you have to do what makes you feel good every time you look at it. Personally too much white for me in the foyer. I have to have some color somewhere, so for me they would be black. That stunning stair case seems to get lost with all the white. BUT that is me.

  30. bailey says:

    Love this contrast so much! Especially that last picture.

  31. Susan MacEachern says:

    White entry stairs look peaceful and elegant. Black might be too busy and distracting from graceful staircase. I’m team white.

  32. Bree says:

    I love them both!! But love the entryway white, maybe if the attic stairs were white it would jive better. Then you could leave the bonus room and office stairs black!

    • Lauren Buras says:

      The white in the entry is AMAZING! I agree with this comment about the attic stairs going white too. This is such a fun update. Thanks for sharing!

      • All of the other spindles are black. So I don’t think it would make sense for the attic stairs to be white. The entry ones are like the grand ones so I think that’s the only one that makes sense.

  33. Laureen says:

    I love the white on the grand staircase, so elegant, AND the black on the bonus room stairs. One traditional and one transitional. I’m thinking once you get the supporting pieces in the entryway the white will work. As always the choice is yours and you always make excellent choices for what works for you and your family.

  34. Ellen says:

    I absolutely LOVE the white grand staircase. So beautiful. And like one other reader said, you can mix white and black just like you can mix different metals. Black will come back in the lighting so that’s a connecting piece.

  35. Janell Hirschoff says:

    I love the black! It really adds a punch of excitement to the railings!

  36. Edie says:

    Absolutely stunning! Can you please give me the details on the baluster you used? What diameter?

  37. Sharon says:

    This looks 100% better. Love wood colour. Glad I read about shoe moulding as my eyes kept going to that white area in picture. Didn’t think you would leave it like that lol.

  38. Becky says:

    Do you have a source for the newel post and your balusters? We are building and I can’t find ones I love. Thanks!

  39. Karen F says:

    I think you’re overthinking it. The white was the right choice for the grand staircase, especially with the other things you mentioned (light, runner). If it really bothers you that they’re different, why not paint the attic balusters white?

  40. It is stunning!! May I ask what line the Weathered Oak flooring is please? I love it! Thanks!

  41. Marie says:

    Not weird at all. Absolutely love the white for the grand staircase and personally think that’s the way to go. Also absolutely love the black on the other staircases and think it adds interest throughout the home. I’ve so loved following along. Thanks for sharing with us!

  42. Anne says:

    I love everything you do! The white on the main staircase is so elegant. The black for the secondary staircases is perfect for those areas.

    I used to get your love letter, which I look forward to every Thursday night and suddenly it stopped coming:(. I have re-signed up twice to no avail. Any suggestions ?

  43. Pia says:

    I love the simplicity of your designs of all your stairs! Black or white is equally lovely in your home. The vibe is there independent of the color.
    But I don’t understand the ornate “chess runner” post at the bottom stair in the entry? All the other posts are simple and straight forward and then that one. It feels a bit ornate for your preferred style?

  44. Kathy says:

    Not weird can’t wait to see change of light. Decorating banisters at Xmas?

  45. Brenda says:

    I think they look gorgeous!!!

  46. Monica says:

    I love both the white grand stair and the black ones. If is really anoying to you I will prefer to put a door that separates the hall to the bonus room from the grand stair landing.

  47. MH says:

    Perfect! I am so glad that you left the entry staircase white. I also love the black on the other parts of the house. For a girl that teach us how to mix metals why not mix black and white? I think once you get all your decoration magic done it will all be seamless.

    • Mika says:

      Agreed. What I love about Julia is she mixes styles, textures, metals and colors. It’s nice to see that you don’t have to be tied to one look and cohesion does not mean same.

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