Monday, April 16, 2012

Stairway to Heaven...or at least the second floor!

I finally tackled something that spontaneously popped up on my to-do list in January.  I hadn't given it much thought and just threw it on there as a one-day-i-might-get-to-this kind of project.  It's amazing what happens when you Pinterest for an hour (yes, I just turned Pinterest into a verb, much like Google e.g. I was googling the other day...).  Inspired by what I was seeing in the Home Decor section, I decided to hit up Home Depot on my way home and strike while the proverbial creative iron was hot!  Of course, there were zillion other things I should have been doing, but I'll get to that another day.

Allow me to introduce you to my ho-hum staircase leading to the second-floor master bedroom.  The original hardwood (at least I assume it's original to the 1939 house) also extends throughout the entire bedroom, but let's just focus on the stairs for right now.  It's scuffed and scratched everywhere which, honestly, kind of adds to its charm in my opinion.  So this makeover wasn't necessarily about covering up ugly, it was mainly about brightening up the small area.  I took to the stair risers for this one.

I'm also exposing you to my dust.  Just remember, if we focused a camera on your steps, they would probably be dirty up close, too! 

And here is another step-by-step tutorial on how I took paintable wallpaper from Home Depot and used it on my staircase.
The whole process only took me a little over 2 hours - 15 minutes of that time was me lying flat on my back in the living room because there is a lot of hunching and scrunching and crouching involved in this project and my back killed by the end. So DIYer beware. But all-in-all, it was actually really easy.
-Paintable vinyl wallpaper - 1 roll=25 sq yds for $12.97
-Hot glue gun
-cutting mat
-rotary cutter
-tape measure
-metal yard stick or straight edge
-Sharpie or pen

I didn't want to do anything permanent to the steps, like adhering the wallpaper the way it's supposed to be adhered (it was prepasted, so you could do that if you wanted).  I was looking for a quick, easy, cheap fix and decided to use hot glue - the almighty answer to everything!  This way, if I want to remove it or change it later, it will peel off easier.  Will this last for a long time?  Probably not.  It will also make cleaning the steps with the Swiffer a little more time-consuming, being careful not to get too much cleaner on the paper itself.  But it is paintable wallpaper and relatively durable, according to the instructions on the package.  So I gave it a go.  
A few tips:

-Measure twice, cut once. Only had to make that mistake once.

-Measure each step individually. Don't just assume each step is the same, especially in an older home. My shortest step was 6 1/4" high and the tallest was 7 3/4" high. They all visually appear the same, but weren't.

-Don't make your pieces too large, or it will be hard to get them to lay smooth. It won't be noticeable if you come in 1/8" here and there to make sure it fits.

-Start with a few blobs of glue in the middle of the top edge directly under the stair nose. Work out from there along the top edge, smoothing and straightening until you hit the wall on either side. Then start at the middle on the bottom and work out. This helps smooth the paper as best as possible and prevent an air bubble right in the middle.

-Try and find a happy medium between too big of a blob and too small of a blob of glue. (again, these instructions will not work if you are actually wetting the paper and attaching it the correct way)

-You really only get one shot at sticking the paper up. It's removable with hot glue, but it will leave a hole in the paper and you'll need to re-cut that piece. Don't hesitate to do so if you're crooked or something, but just have fair warning
Even after just the first 3 stairs, I already noticed an improvement.  Granted, it was dark outside and I was working by the light of our very dim overhead fan, but the 3 stairs brightened up the area immediately.  I think it makes a huge difference!




  1. Courtney MichielsenApril 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    This looks great, if we had stairs like that I would so do it!!!

  2. What a great idea. Very nice looking also. Good job.


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