A few weeks ago I shared the current state of my stairway/entryway with you guys as well as my pans for giving the area a little update. When I found out that I couldn’t simply pull up the carpet on the stairs like I had planned, I decided to paint and hang a new light fixture and see how I felt about it.
It’s not a huge difference, but I’m really loving the more sleek and modern result:
It’s a huge improvement from where we started, two years ago this month!
First, I cut off that funny-shaped finial on the railing post that I always disliked:.
I sanded down the tops of the posts. Then I used wood filler on the semi-rough posts at the top and bottom of the stairs to fill in any holes and dents. After it dried, I sanded once more. I also wiped down the handrail with warm soapy water followed by TSP substitute to help remove oils from hands over the years
Then I primed and used two coats of matte black paint to match the black iron spindles.
In between waiting for coats to dry, I painted the back wall to match the rest of the living room. In order to reach up to the ceiling on the top half of the stairway, I needed to use a multi-position ladder (the one Tina broke). We tied a board to the top of the ladder to make sure the legs wouldn’t punch through the drywall.
This picture also reveals that yes, I had left the ceiling in a sad state when I scraped the popcorn months and months ago, so I needed to finally spackle, sand, prime and paint the ceiling while I was at it.
So let’s talk about that light fixture!
Remember how I originally planned to use my Ikea-hack “Hicks” pendant light in the entryway but I wasn’t able to hang it as high as I needed to clear the door? My poor ceiling suffered quite a bit and I was seriously bummed because my budget was completely blown.
I hopped back on the IKEA site looking for something simple and cheap and landed on the Östanå light fixture. It’s plain, modern, and at $19.99 I could squeeze it into my tiny, bleeding budget. Plus, I had an idea for a little hack…
I used the exact same steps I took for the pendant light and I think it turned out pretty cute! The Östanå fixture was much easier to install and provides a decent amount of light in our otherwise-light-fixture-less living room. It’s definitely not large or blingy, but it’s really perfect for the space since I only had 16” between the ceiling and the top of the door to work with. (For some reason, it always looks like more in photos.)
I’m still working on a plan for some art on the back wall but I always seem to move the slowest when it comes to finishing touches like that! I photoshopped two options using art I already have on hand, but I’m not sure I like either one.
The first is the gold-leaf artwork I completed just about exactly one year ago.
The second is a really neat print I found at the thrift store featuring a collage of woodland animals. It’s super detailed and I love it! It’s also super large and I would need to find or DIY a frame for it (a little bit of an intimidating proposition). I photoshopped a slim black frame on it, but I’ve also considered attempting a floating acrylic frame…
Update: Here’s an option you guys suggested in all it’s photoshopped glory. Keep sending me your ideas & I’ll try to keep up with posting them here!
Update 2: My long term goal is to remove the carpet and replace the stair treads and risers. The stair treads will be black and the risers will be white, echoing the front door. Sleek, glam, and no more fuzzy caterpillars climbing up the living room wall 😉
I also have a few other ideas, so we’ll just have to see! What would you do? Any new ideas for me?
Kristen @ Pursuing Vintage says
Great work! I like the black.
I like the gold art – but maybe try hanging them vertically lengthwise?
Hmm… I think I know what you mean. I tried it out in Photoshop – I'll add it to the post 🙂
Love the new updates! Cutting off that weird wood thing on the staircase definitely made the look come together! We had a scroll wood thing on our bookcase in our living room and I cut it off as well. Definitely a easy but effective improvement! I ADORE the new light! Just a suggestion, but what would the door look like painted black? I think it would help tie all the new improvements together. I'm not sure what it would look like viewing the door from the other perspective (looking into the living room?), but just an idea.
Hmm… I'm not sure I would paint the door black because I love the black and white version so much, but I'll definitely take the suggestion to heart! Maybe I need some black and white art on the stairway wall to tie them together?
Julia Konya says
The light and the collage are perfect. Love it
Cassie @ Primitive & Proper says
SO much better! i want to paint out rail black, too, but OMG it is so shiny and spindly and will be a lot of work.
Oh man – I am so thankful I didn't even have to paint the "spindles" (I guess that's what they are called?) on mine! I wonder if a paint sprayer (or one of the smaller airbrush types) would be worth looking into for that? You would have to do a lot of prep work but it would save so much time brushing on paint!
Vicki Ashby says
I agree with Ashley that the door might look nice all black and in addition I like Kristen's idea of the gold art turned lengthwise. Perhaps a black door will bring the two together more. Just a thought.
Thanks for the suggestions Vicki! I added a lengthwise art option to the post and tried out a photoshopped black door, but I feel like it really darkened that corner – our house is already pretty shady, unfortunately. But thinking of tying the two together, perhaps I need to bring more black and white in for the art on the stair wall!
Trisha D says
Cutting off the top of your post and painting the wood really updates the whole look. Really digging that hacked light- sort of gives a nod to the other room. Great work. I'd love to see a DIY'd floating acrylic frame 😀
The two are within a line of sight, so it worked out perfectly! *Sigh* a floating acrylic frame… Here's hoping!
For My Love Of says
My vote is for the floating acrylic frame. Please do it! Also, love the mini hack of your first hack. Quite incredible!
Thanks girl! My heart is with the floating acrylic frame too! I might need to save my pennies up a bit (that stuff is not cheap!) but it would be so cool, right?!
Lets just build a house! says
i like where you are heading with this. I'd go for an acrylic frame but maybe add some gold details to the edges?
Swoon! How incredible would that be? I'm picturing a gold leaf edging on an oversize acrylic frame… Love the idea Trina!
stephanie, sandpaper and glue says
Thrifty Decor Chick recently posted about a DIY black frame for some canvas art she had… it didn't sound too scary so that might be something to check out. 🙂 Overall though, the wall being painted and the new light look great!!
I will check that out! Thanks Stephanie!
Layne @ The Room Journal says
I think the matte black railing is a great improvement! Much more modern and sleek. I love it!
Thanks Layne! I'm really happy with the way it turned out and it'll definitely tide me over until I can tackle the stair treads too one day!
acrylic frame–yes! love that print! and the bannister painted black–nice!
Thanks Gretchen! 🙂
brynne you have such incredible taste! there are these beautiful moments everywhere! such a treat to see your home! <3
Thank you so much Ananda! What a sweet comment!
Jennifer@The Chronicles of Home says
Sometimes the little differences are the BIG differences when you take them together – the whole space looks so much fresher!
Thanks Jennifer! I'm pulling this house out of the 80's one little difference at a time! 🙂
Mekenzie @ interiorsbykenz.com says
It's amazing what paint can do. It has so much more flow now. Your light fixture looks flawless in the room design. Great job!
Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking says
Wow you have done a wonderful job on your stairway! It looks great!
Kimberly Duran says
I'm so completely shit and so behind on my blog reading so apologies for being so late to the party here – but holy crap, it looks great!! You did an awesome job on modernising that stair railing and the paint really makes it look part of the whole. And the light fixutre!! Oh my god, you are so creative, I love it 🙂 Whoop whoop! Ya done good, kid!! 😉 xxx
No worries my friend! Thank you so much for your kind words! 🙂