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Creative Ideas for Beautiful Brown-Painted Stairs

Creative Ideas for Beautiful Brown-Painted Stairs

Brown-painted stairs create a warm welcome to your home. Whether you prefer the modern airiness of a light brown or want to create a sense of sophistication with dark brown painted stairs, this versatile colour has a lot to offer.

One of the great benefits of painting your stairs brown is that they can look like natural wood. Dark paint, in particular, looks like a fine varnish, bringing a sense of elegance to your home.

If you’re looking for brown paint ideas to update your staircase or want to know what goes well with brown-painted stairs, you’ve come to the right place. Get inspired with our easy ideas and start transforming your home. 

Before You Begin Painting Your Stairs

Painting a staircase right requires some preparation. These are the essential things you must do before you start painting your stairs:

  • Clean your staircase: Remove any nails, staples, or fixings and clean your staircase. Make sure your stairs are as dust-free as you can get them, to ensure the paint can properly bind to the stairs and has a seamless finish.
  • Sand the staircase: You need to sand down your stairs to get an even surface for the smooth application of paint. Use sandpaper for any hard-to-reach places and a sandbelt for the treads. Clean and dust again after the sanding is complete.
  • Stain the wood: Adding a stainer will mean you can more easily clean paint off the wood finish. All you need to do is apply it with a brush, leave it to saturate into the wood, and then wipe it clean with a cloth. Repeat this three times and allow the stainer to dry for a few hours.

Choosing the Right Brown Paint for Your Stairs

Next, choosing the right paints for your stairs is important. You can get paints that are specifically designed for floors, with higher durability to withstand the constant foot traffic typical of staircases. Floor paints are also safer because of their non-slip properties. 

Only use satin paint or semi-gloss paint on the risers, not the treads (we have a guide to the different parts of staircases if you’re confused). Don’t opt for poor-quality cheaper paints, you’ll only end up having to repaint your stairs again because of chipping. 

The most important thing for choosing the right brown paint is to test it. You may find that the paint actually looks different on your staircase than it does in the pot, especially in different lights. So before you commit to the paint job, be sure to apply tester patches.

Simple but Effective Ideas for Brown-Painted Stairs

Simple but Effective Ideas for Brown-Painted Stairs

Your brown-painted stairs can take any form you like. Take into consideration the kind of look you want to go for, the feeling you want to create, and your existing decor.

Dark Brown

Dark brown is warm and inviting, creating a cosy feel for that all-important entrance hallway. While dark brown paint may not work on a narrow staircase with little light, it can add to the cosiness of a rustic cottage, for example. A very dark brown can almost look black, creating a beautifully bold sweep if you have a grand staircase that you want to act as an eye-catching focal point. Similarly, if you have white walls and the rest of the surrounding decor is light, a dark brown staircase makes for a striking contrast. 

Light Brown

Light brown can give a bright and breezy feel to your staircase that extends out into your home. If you have an open-plan design, light brown and white pair wonderfully to extend that expansive vibe. Combine different hues of lighter browns, incorporating smooth creams and light woody shades for natural airiness. If you like this earthy kind of look, match your light brown stairs with greens to create a forest-like feel that brings the outdoors in. 

Create a Contrast

You don’t have to paint the whole of your stairs in one colour. Painting the treads and risers in different shades adds a pleasing depth to your staircase. Go for brown paint on the treads and white paint on the risers. This will have the illusionary effect of creating more space and light. You could also vary the shade of brown as the stairs go up, creating a gradient effect that is unique and stylish. This will also guide the eye upward, a neat trick if you have a narrow staircase and want to take attention away from that fact.

As brown is a neutral colour, it’s also great for pairing with more vibrant colours. Reds and oranges will add to that glowing warmth while colours like duck egg blue or mint green evoke a fresh, breezy feeling.


Brown paint can be used to create some intricate patterns on your stair risers that can resemble pretty tiling. The colour is neutral enough to not look too busy and overpowering, allowing you to add a little creative flair without going over the top. If you don’t want to have fully brown-painted stairs, this is a clever solution.


If a wholly brown-painted staircase feels a bit too much, you can just add subtle notes of brown. A white staircase will pair wonderfully with brown-painted spindles or even just a brown-painted bannister. This way, you get striking lines of brown that frame your staircase without creating too dark an effect. You can even replace your staircase spindles to transform the look completely.


Enhance your brown-painted stairs with accompanying accessories to bring the design of your staircase and hallway cohesively together. You can also decorate your staircase wall with framed photos or pictures, making sure the frames match the particular brown of your stairs. There are many creative ways to arrange pictures on a staircase wall that you can experiment with.

If you have the space, wooden shelving in complimentary browns will spruce up the area, and you can decorate it with plants, books, and other ornamental objects. If you have less room, clever placing of mirrors and lights will give the illusion of more space.

Incorporating Brown Without Painting Your Stairs

Painting your stairs can sound intimidating. It can also be a big job to undertake, taking time and effort. One of the best ways to transform the look of your staircase with minimal effort is to install a stair carpet runner.

Stair runners can come in all shapes and sizes and can jazz up your staircase – especially if you have hardwood stairs that have seen better days. A light or dark brown runner, or even a brown patterned runner, will cover up any shabbiness and provide a neutral, easy-to-accessorise colour scheme.

Searching For More Staircase Painting Inspiration?

Looking to redecorate your stairs but aren’t sure if brown is the right colour for your home? Whether you want to paint your staircase white or green or blue, we have innovative ideas to inspire you. Check out our inspiration blog and get creative. 
Staircase renovation is made easy with Stair Rods Direct. We have a range of premium accessories, like stair rods and door threshold bars to add the final finishing touches that make all the difference in a home. Browse our full range of products and remember, orders of £75 and over get free UK delivery.