Who says a staircase makeover has to be expensive? This easy DIY staircase makeover will give your staircase an updated modern look for an affordable price! By focusing on the banister and spindles, we completed the look using contrasting colors, a warm black and a bright white. This final look complimented the rest of the house and contributed to the fresh new look we wanted for the foyer. Follow these simple steps to give your home the easy and affordable update it needs!


  • Paint Brush
  • Sandpaper (medium/fine grit)
  • Painters Tape
  • Basic Primer Paint
  • 1 Quart Hi-Gloss Enamel Pure White Paint
  • 1 Quart Sherwin Williams Black Bean

How to Start Your Staircase Makeover:

Before diving into painting your stair banister, some essential prep work ensures a smooth and durable finish. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:

1. Cleaning is Key: Start by thoroughly cleaning the banister with a rag, dish soap, and warm water. This removes any dirt, dust, or grime that could prevent the paint from adhering properly.

2. Smoothing Out Imperfections: Inspect the banister for uneven spots or areas with built-up paint layers. If you find bumps or ridges, lightly sand those specific areas to create a smoother surface. Don’t worry about sanding everything – the primer will help fill in minor imperfections.

3. Masking for Protection: Use painter’s tape and drop cloths to carefully cover the surrounding flooring or carpet. This prevents paint splatters and keeps your workspace clean.

4. Priming: Once everything is clean and masked, apply a coat of primer to all the rods and railings of the banister. Primer creates a strong bond between the bare wood and the paint, ensuring a long-lasting and professional finish. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on drying time before moving on to the painting stage.

Start the staircase makeover by using a basic primer on the rods

Painting Stair Rails for Your Staircase Makeover

With the primer dry, it’s time for the main event – applying the paint coats! I used a high-gloss white paint on the rails to match the surrounding trim work and achieve a crisp polished stairway look.

Double the Coverage: While one coat might provide some initial color, applying two coats of paint is highly recommended for optimal coverage and a flawless finish. This ensures even color distribution and minimizes the chances of streaks or missed spots.

A Touch of Patience: Remember, applying multiple coats requires patience. Make sure the first coat dries completely before applying the second. This allows each layer to properly adhere, resulting in a more durable and professional-looking paint job. Your extra effort will be well worth it when you admire the finished product!

Pro Tip: Use a high-quality brush suitable for trim painting. This will provide better control and minimize the risk of paint drips or splatters.

Banister prepped and sanded for painting

Painting The Banister

Protecting the White: To ensure clean lines between the colors, use painter’s tape to carefully mask the top edge of each rail. This will create a barrier and protect the lighter color from accidental smudges.

Rich Contrast: We’ll be using a beautiful, rich dark brown paint for the railings, Sherwin Williams Black Beam. Using smooth, even strokes, apply a coat of paint. Two coats are recommended for optimal coverage and a flawless finish. Don’t worry about achieving perfect precision at this stage; focus on getting an even coat across the entire railing surface.

Sherwin Williams Black Bean – The Perfect Choice

Sherwin Williams Black Bean is the ultimate warm dark brown hue, making it an ideal choice for transforming a staircase banister. This colors rich feel is both inviting and sophisticated, making your stairs look modern without going overboard. It’s a timeless choice that makes it perfect for your staircase makeover.

Finishing The Banister

Protection for Busy Areas: For high-traffic areas like the railing leading into your kitchen, consider adding an extra layer of protection with a polyurethane clear gloss coating. This is especially helpful in homes with little ones who might accidentally bump or scrape the painted surface. The clear gloss acts as a shield, making the paint more resistant to nicks, scratches, and everyday wear and tear.

Long-lasting Beauty: Applying a polyurethane coating extends the life of your paint job significantly. Those inevitable little handprints or bumps from everyday use won’t require immediate touch-ups. The clear gloss creates a barrier, allowing you to enjoy the flawless look of your newly transformed banister for much longer.

A Few Application Tips: When applying the polyurethane coating, opt for a well-ventilated space and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times between coats. Using a high-quality brush suitable for clear coats will ensure a smooth and even application.

Staircase Makeover
Staircase Makeover using SW Black Bean
Staircase Makeover - Banister Update
Staircase Makeover – Banister Update

The first part of the stair transformation is complete! The next project will be the wainscoting molding! Coming soon!

For easy instructions on how to add a photo gallery wall, click here!

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