At one time, stairs were merely a method of getting from one floor to another, but now it seems that they, too, have become an expression of our personalities and a part of our home’s decor!  While railings, newel posts, balusters, and paneling are popular ways of dressing up the stairwell, another option is to update the risers.


What is a riser?

A riser is the vertical portion between one step and the next.  {As a side note, in reality, the riser isn’t perfectly vertical but is slightly inclined with the top slightly closer than the base.}  Atticmag has a great diagram detailing the various parts of a staircase.

Stair Terminology



1.  Painted Pretty

Whether solid or stripped, a splash of paint adds instant drama and color.

{via Real Simple}
{via Real Simple}


Painted Risers
{via Erin Paige Pitts Interiors}
Stripe Painted Riser
{via Decor Pad}


2. Wallpaper

Wallpaper isn’t just for walls!  Use one pattern or several depending on your style!

Wallpaper Risers
{via Pistachio Cream}


Cottage Wallpapered Risers
{via Art@Home}


{via St. Louis Homes +Lifestyle}
{via St. Louis Homes +Lifestyle}


3. Beadboard

Beadboard’s texture is just subtle enough to blend with a home’s other millwork, but unexpected enough to give a home a truly custom feel.

Beadboard Risers
{via Beneath My Heart}


4. Stencils

A steady hand will allow you to decorate your risers with color and pattern!

Blue Orange Stenciled Risers
{via Lowes Creative Ideas}


Yellow Stenciled Risers
{via A Life More Fabulous}


5. Tile

Patterned or mosaic tile might instantly spring to mind, but don’t discount the beauty of a more simplistic tile that adds texture and uniqueness!

Tiled Risers
{via Pinterest}
Contemporary Tiled Risers
{via Pinterest}


6. Chalkboard

Chalkboard paint offers endless possibilities, from inspirational quotes, to children’s’ artwork, or even seasonal messages!

Chalkboard Paint Risers
{via Yahoo}
Chalkboard Paint Number Risers
{via Madame Masette}


7. Numbered

Numbers add a bit of whimsy to a staircase.  You can paint them on or buy ready-made numbers (metal or wood) and attach them directly to the risers.

Blue Numbered Risers
{via Country Living}
{via Decorating Files}
{via Decorating Files}
Black and White Numbered Risers
{via Country Living}



8. Decal

Decals are a great way to {temporarily} spice up your risers!

Art Decal Riser
{via Decorating Files}
Inspirational Stair Risers
{via Down the Aisle Vinyl}
{via Pot and Kettle Studios on Etsy}
{via Pot and Kettle Studios on Etsy}


9. Wood Inlay

If you’re building or remodeling, consider adding a decorative inlay to your risers.

{via Grant Chai Architectural Inlay}
{via Grant Chai Architectural Inlay}
Riser Decorative Inlay
{via Old House Online}


10. Contrast

If decorating your risers is too big of a commitment to make, another option is to pick a riser color that contrasts with the tread, like white risers with dark wood tread or vice versa.  While decidedly less artsy than other options,it’s still quite eye-catching and breaks up the vertical and horizontal lines of the stairs.

{via Houzz}
{via Houzz}
Classic White Riser
{via Pinterest}
White Riser with Runner
{via Urban Electric Company}



Would you ever consider getting creative with your risers?
Tidbits&Twine - Signature




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  1. Love this post, Kim! I was actually working on my husband to paint ours before we moved. We had oak stained stairs and had removed carpeting from the steps themselves and found pine underneath. I had wanted to paint the risers white and the step a dark walnut. I love that look. Anyway, we moved before I could actually move forward on that and now I live in a condo with no stairs! : )

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Kathy – I love how you use the term “working on my husband”! LOL! I can relate. :) White risers with a dark step is my favorite look, too, but like so many other things on my “Honey Do” list, painting the risers is toward the bottom. Someday, though!

  2. Our treads are hardwood and the risers are painted white. Notice I said “painted white” , not that the look white. I live with three people of the male persuasion. Each has a size 11 or larger foot. Our risers are constantly scuffed and marked up. I need to try one of the patterned looks to hide all the man-damage!

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Maryetta – That’s a great point! I really want to paint ours white, but if I do, we might have to implement a no shoe rule in order to cut down on scuff marks… :)

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Lol! That happens to me, too. I’ll fall in love with a picture of something that I had previously never given any thought to, and all of a sudden, I want it! Have a great week, Amy!

  3. I’m too chicken, I would definitely do the contrasting paint…the second to the last image is my favorite. The the numbered risers holds some appeal as well.
    Fun post, thank you.

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      Hi Karen – That’s my favorite, too! I’m actually trying to convince hubby we should do that when we refinish the floors. :)

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