Design Ascension: The Art of the Bold Staircase

  |  February 6, 2015

Gray wash stain by John Pawson and worn black stain on steps

It’s not JUST a way to transport you from story to story. You can create a perfectly lovely traditional staircase with a runner over bare wood. But, it’s an architectural feature that can be transformed into a major design element with the inventive application of paint, stain or wallpaper creating a new striking design feature which elevates it beyond its mere functionality. Think color, out of the box!


Especially for the property owner who is timid about adding color to the home, the staircase is an excellent place to dip your color-phobic toe into the paint bucket and create a bold statement in a very contained place. Even with an otherwise monochromatic space that’s neutral; all white, beige or grey, a colorful staircase will transform the house. It’s not unheard of to paint numbers or words on the risers. Get creative. You can play with its elements; painting just the treads or the risers, creating patterns on the steps or the side wall, using its graphic form to help create abstract art in your stairwell.



Here’s a raw wood staircase where color is just used on the rising wall.


Unstained or painted stairs surrounded by deep color. This treatment makes the staircase pop!


Patterns on the stairs: Nautical stripe and a geometric shape


Wallpaper and stenciled risers


Stylized floral pattern and an asymmetrical runner created with paint


Boldly painted risers


About Amy Krane

Amy Krane is an Architectural Color Consultant and founder of Amy Krane Color where she creates customized color plans, advising residential and commercial property owners on paint colors. She is also a Realtor at Anderson Agency Real Estate in Kinderhook, NY. Transplanted from New York City to Columbia County, Amy is trained by the International Association of Color Consultant/Designers. Her expertise goes well beyond design aesthetics to integrate the science and art of applying color to space. Amy Krane Color services clients nationally with virtual consultations and locally in NYC, Dutchess, Ulster, Greene, Columbia, Litchfield, Berkshire, Rensselaer and Albany Counties.

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