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Come see my new Magnolia Green Painted Stairs! Learn how to paint your stairs (without losing your mind) with a step-by-step DIY staircase makeover tutorial.

How to Paint Stairs - step by step tutorial - Magnolia Green Painted Stairs - A DIY Staircase Makeover

Magnolia Green Painted Stairs – A DIY Staircase Makeover

When we first moved into our new house, I knew the first thing that needed to be addressed was these stairs. I ripped up all of the upstairs carpet and had the hard wood underneath (Woo-hoo! Original hard wood floors!!) re-finished. This left me with the stairs. I ripped up the nasty old carpet, and then I thought about a solution.

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Magnolia Green Paint Color from the Joanna Gaines Paint Line

I went to my local paint store and bought a sample  of “Magnolia Green” from the new Joanna Gaines paint line. When I was certain that I was sold on Magnolia Green, I took the paint sample to The Home Depot and had it color matched and mixed into porch and patio paint.

Magnolia Green Paint Color Match

What Kind of Paint to Use on Stairs

I chose this particular porch and patio floor paint for a few reasons. First, the steps weren’t in the best shape to begin with. They are structurally sound, but the treads have seen some abuse. I knew going into this that I needed a good paint to cover the dings and divots, and that would wear well under the feet of my young twins and Raisin. Oh yeah, meet the newest member of our family – Raisin:

Magnolia Green Paint Color from the Joanna Gaines Paint Line - New family dog sitting on green painted steps

We don’t know much about her other than she’s a 1-year-old Yorkie/chihuahua mix, she always has to be with her humans, and she only takes orders from my 5-year-old daughter. Yes, it has been a very exciting time around here!

Here are the exact supplies and paint that I used on these painted stairs

  • pliers and staple remover (if you’re removing carpet)
  • electric sander and sandpaper in different grits
  • wood filler and putty knife (if needed to patch any holes)
  • primer – I use this kind for just about everything
  • porch and patio paint – tinted to Magnolia Green
  • white paint – I used Sherwin Williams Pure White (SW 7005)
  • 1-inch and 2.5-inch angle brushes
  • painter’s tape
  • Misc: scrub rags, paint can opener, stir sticks, and some good music. This can get repetitive!

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Remove Carpet and Refinish your Staircase

1 – Remove your carpet (if necessary – otherwise skip to step 3)

This is the fun part. Start at the top of the stairs. Loosen a corner with a crowbar or hammer. Then (carefully…. don’t lose your balance) rip back as hard as you can. I highly recommend doing this after a long, hard day. It’s a fantastic stress-reliever and a decent workout.

In case you weren’t traumatized earlier, here is what I found under the carpet:

2 – Remove Nails and Staples

Grab a phone or tablet with a netflix subscription, something soft to sit on, and get comfy. Pulling up tack strips and staples can get boring. I set up my iPhone one step above where I was sitting, binged a few episodes of The Office, and ripped up anything metal from the stairs.

3 – Patch and Sand

My stairs were really worn, so I didn’t worry about filling every nail hole. If yours are in better shape, you may want to. It just depends on how much “character” you want your home to have.

Fill any holes or cracks with wood filler. When the wood filler has dried, go back with an electric sander and course sandpaper. Sand once, then switch to medium-grit. Finally, finish with a once-over of fine sandpaper.

Using a detailing or a “mouse” sander will help you get into the corners on the steps.

4 – Prime

I used one coat of primer on the treads, and three on the risers – we had some stains peeking through. If you don’t have this problem, one coat is fine. But be sure you have any stains covered with primer before you move on to adding white paint.

Prime and Paint Wooden Stairs

Pro-tip: kids can help with this step. Leave the final coat to the grown-ups to avoid brush marks.

Wait… How did you walk on the stairs?!?

I have two solutions/methods here. I used the both on this project:

  1. Paint the left. Let Dry. Paint the Right. Let dry. Repeat. This works better with the primer, since you risk leaving  a line in the middle of the step where the brush strokes don’t align.
  2. Paint every other step. This works better for the final coat, so you get an even, smooth finish. Just carefully climb on the unpainted steps while the others dry.
5 – Paint the Trim and Risers

I patched the plaster and added new trim. You can read all about that process here.

6 – Paint the Treads

Using porch and patio paint on stairs

Taping – Since I feel pretty comfortable cutting in and painting straight lines, I only taped under each stair tread. If you don’t feel as comfortable, tape all the way around. The key here is this: Remove the tape when the paint is still a bit tacky, peeling the tape away at a 45-degree angle. This will get you the best, crisp line.

Painting every-other step

I painted every-other-step so that we could still go up and down while this project was ongoing.

That’s it! I think Raisin approves 🙂

New family dog lying on green painted steps

Painted Green Stairs and DIY Stair Trim

How to Paint Stairs - follow this step by step tutorial - Magnolia Green Painted Stairs


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  3. Great job!! Your project brought on a dejavu moment for me. About 35 years ago I did the same task in our then 100 year old family log home.
    BTW, Raisin is absolutely adorable!!

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