DIY Network

Upcycle Repurpose Refinish

How to Make Over a Staircase Using Paint and Wallpaper (page 1 of 2)

A staircase in an 1880s New England home was given a complete facelift using paint and wallpaper that looks like Mexican tile.

More in Decorating

Courtesy of Susan Teare

This old staircase was in desperate need of an overhaul. To get the job done, the old rubber mats were pulled up and the surface of the entire staircase was smoothed out, primed and then painted. Then, to give the staircase a bold pop of personality, wallpaper that resembles tile was adhered to the risers.

Tools and Materials

3 rolls of wallpaper (depending on the size of your stairs and risers)
1 gallon of premium primer
1 gallon of floor and porch paint
1 quart of satin-finish polyurethane (or another type of sealer)
2 to 3 paintbrushes
tape measure and framing square
joint compound
flat-head screwdriver, pliers and a hammer
hand sander with medium-grit sandpaper
wallpaper paste
wallpaper scraper
rags and paper towels
a piece of plywood to cut wallpaper on
utility knife and scissors
caulking gun and painter's caulk

The Staircase Before

Prep the Steps

The key to any successful paint job is the prep — a staircase is no different. Pull out staples and nails and fill in the holes with joint compound. Sand all surfaces smooth, including the risers: Even though they'll be covered with wallpaper, the surface needs to be flat and clean.


When the stairs are totally prepped and the joint compound is dry, apply a coat of primer to the entire staircase. If your stairs have knots or stains that bleed through, apply another coat.


Paint the stairs with quality floor and porch paint. You will need one coat on the risers and at least three coats on the treads. Let each coat dry completely before adding another.

« Previous12Next »