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.
  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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 🙂

  • 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 ❤️

  • 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!

  • This would make me smile every time I went up the stairs! Love! Hope to do something like this one day

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