Rainbow Stairs DIY

Recently, I painted the stair risers rainbow, which turned out to be a very satisfying weekend project—and I loved how it turned out! Elsie helped me pick out the colors. We were aiming for something a little more muted, and of the 13 stairs, we wanted to lean a little more into warm colors than cool. It feels like a fun little surprise when you open the door that leads upstairs—it’s whimsical! 🙂

Here are the stairs before I painted them rainbow. Another goal I had was to fill a lot of the old nail holes and small cracks/crevices before painting. Since we had the floors refinished a few years ago, the white really shows off how chewed up these old wood stairs actually were.

Supplies:
-paint samples (I used interior latex paint in an eggshell finish)
nail hole filler
sandpaper or sanding block (fine grit)
paint brushes
painter’s tape

Step One: Before I even bought the paint samples, I laid out the paint chips to make sure I was happy with the progression of colors. I’m a visual person and it always helps me to take little steps like this to see if I’ll be happy with the final result before spending too much time on a DIY project.

Step Two: After wiping down the stairs, I used the above nail hole filler. After it was completely dry, I sanded the surfaces smooth and then cleaned off the stairs again. This took longer than I thought and was WAY less fun than painting the colors. Ha. But I filled so many holes, it was insane.

Step Three: Tape off the areas you will paint. You may also want to use a small drop cloth as you work from top to bottom.

*I should also mention, if your stair risers aren’t already white (like mine) you may need to prime them first after taping off. I didn’t need to since they were already white.

Step Four: Starting from top to bottom, paint the risers. I only had four brushes so I had to clean them in between at times. I also needed two coats of paint, so I had to wait for the first coat to fully dry. I worked on this project over two days.

After the paint is dry, remove the tape. If needed, use a very small paint brush to fill in any small areas if the tape wasn’t sufficient.

Here are the BEHR paint colors I used, from the top to the bottom:

Best in Show N550-3

Big Surf M460-3

Summer Dragonfly M440-4

Pesto Paste S370-5

Chilled Wine M310-5

Honey Nougat S250-3

Trick or Treat M220-4

California Coral M190-4

Priceless Coral M180-4

Indian Summer M170-5

Tea Room S150-2

Bubble Shell S160-3

Red Clover S150-4

Thanks for letting me share my rainbow stairs DIY with you! xo. Emma

 

5 from 2 votes
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Rainbow Stairs DIY

Author Emma Chapman

Ingredients

  • paint samples
  • nail hole filler
  • sandpaper or sanding block, fine
  • paint brushes
  • painter's tape

Instructions

  1. Before I even bought the paint samples, I laid out the paint chips to make sure I was happy with the progression of colors. I’m a visual person, and it always helps me to take little steps like this to see if I’ll be happy with the final result before spending too much time on a DIY project.

  2. After wiping down the stairs, I used the above nail hole filler. After it was completely dry, I sanded the surfaces smooth and then cleaned off the stairs again.

  3. Tape off the areas you will paint. You may also want to use a small drop cloth as you work from top to bottom.

  4. Starting from top to bottom, paint the risers. I only had four brushes so I had to clean them in between at times. I also needed two coats of paint, so I had to wait for the first coat to fully dry. I worked on this project over two days. After the paint is dry, remove the tape. If needed, use a very small paint brush to fill in any small areas if the tape wasn’t sufficient.

Recipe Notes

I should also mention, if your stair risers aren’t already white (like mine) you may need to prime them first after taping off but before painting the colors. I didn’t need to since they were already white.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • This would make me smile every time I went up the stairs! Love! Hope to do something like this one day

  • 5 stars
    I love these and have been waiting for this post! Thank you!
    Question for anyone reading this! I want to do something similar to jazz up my basement stairs. Right now, the stairs are covered with what I think is like vinyl flooring. Should I try to remove that and see what’s underneath? I’m also wondering if I could sand it or if peel and stick wallpaper would just be easier.
    Thanks again for sharing!! So fun.

    • Depending on the age of your home, there may be nothing exciting under the vinyl. When I had the carpet ripped up on the basement stairs in my 70’s home, it was just your basic construction lumber/MDF under there. Peel and stick wallpaper on the risers could look pretty awesome!

  • Emma! I saw this on ig last week and am currently doing this on our playroom steps (different colors obviously 🙃) but thank you so much for the inspiration. Our pup passed away late last week and I just wanted something fun and happy to work on and this was just what I needed ❤️

  • I LOVE this!! It`s so colorful and fun. It sparks happines!I want to do this in my home too 🙂 You are so creative 🙂

  • What timing! I am planning on painting our dark brown attic stairs something lively. Does the white get dirty with all the foot traffic? How do you keep it clean? Thank you so much!

  • We have a staircase leading up to our grandchildren’s bedroom suite simply crying out for cheer and whimsy. I’ve been thinking I would just refinish the stairs and add a runner. I’m delighted to have seen this before I did something boring. Thank you for sharing your spark!

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