Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Transform a Dated Oak Staircase

The staircase is often in a prominent spot in a home and can set the tone for the rest of a home. Here are some ways to freshen its look.

In the 1990s, oak staircases with oak railings and stair treads were commonplace. But nowadays, the oak staircase is dated and no longer matches lighter design styles. Homeowners are finding that there are plenty of things they can do to give an oak staircase a modern update. Here are a few ideas:

Paint the spindles. Take on the cumbersome task of painting each of the oak spindles in white to brighten up the staircase. Homeowners will need to sand each spindle before painting, and this requires a meticulous touch. Often, this look is completed in a two-tone color scheme: The handrail may be in a deep, espresso brown or lighter wood tone and the stair’s spindles in all-white.

Replace the spindles. Save yourself the burden of a tiresome paint project and swap out the wooden spindles for wrought iron. You also could keep the wood look, but swap out those traditionally rounded and twisted spindles in favor of white, flat, straight-edged wooden styles. Some homeowners are ditching stair spindles completely for glass panels, which can filter in more natural light and help brighten a space.

Swap vertical spindles for horizontal. This fits a modern aesthetic by having spindles that stretch horizontally rather than the more traditional vertical, up-and-down spindles.

Stairs in home
Photo credit: Alabn / Getty Images

Invest in a new newel post. The newel post is the long, vertical post at the beginning and end of a staircase that supports the handrail. A contemporary choice is a boxed newel featuring a square top (unlike the traditional oak staircase that often features a rounded top). Just changing the newel post can be an inexpensive way to upgrade the stairs. Remember, the first newels are often the grandest ones and tend to be larger than any others.

Stairway with seating under it
Photo credit: Fuse / Getty Images


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