Entryway The Victorian House

Painted Stairs and Entryway Makeover

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Dutch Boy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Our back entryway got a makeover from the back door all the way up to the second floor!

Back Entryway, After | Making it Lovely
Pink Painted Stair Runner

Paint from Dutch Boy went a long way here, but let’s start at the beginning so you can get a better sense of how things have changed.

I love that our house has a back stairway (so charming!), but it was kind of dismal. The house had been split into apartments before we owned it, and the back stairs likely saw a lot of use from tenants over the decades. The walls were textured and the stairs were carpeted.

Back Entry and Stairway When Moving In

We skim-coated and painted the walls and ceiling a couple of years ago when I thought I was going to include this area as part of my One Room Challenge. (I did the front entryway and third floor hall, but only partially worked on the back stairway.) In addition to smoothing things out, we ripped up the carpeting, laid new wooden flooring at the landing, and replaced a handful of steps that we discovered were too far gone to save.

Then we had a plumbing leak. After the first plumbing leak we thought we had fixed. (It’s all fixed now!)

We had to replace the cast iron plumbing stack from the basement to the third floor, which meant opening up the walls and ceilings of each bathroom and all along the back stairway.

Plumbing Repairs - Replacing the Cast Iron Stack

There were dark smudges and dirty handprints all over from the plumbers (and knowing what part of the plumbing they were working on, I tried not to think too much about what might have been on the walls). We cleaned things up as best we could and patched the huge holes, but things weren’t looking great.

Back Entryway, Before

Those cabinets resting on the foundation ledge are new and not installed yet, but will be at some point soon. I’m trying to squeeze as much function into the back entryway as possible, so I’m thinking they’ll hold things like dog leashes, the kids’ outdoor toys like bubbles and chalk, and spare reusable bags. Stuff to grab before heading out the back door. The cabinets are from IKEA and I cut them down to be half the depth, but there’s going to be some custom work ahead to fill in the gaps along each side. We may also add heavy-duty brown/black carpet on the landing and stairs up from the back door in the future.

Like so.

Back Entryway Mockup with Etched Arcadia Wallpaper

That rendering is to scale, and I played around with colors and wallpaper patterns in Photoshop before executing the design in real life. You can picture it with the cabinets from the before and after below.

Back Entryway, Before and After | Making it Lovely

Hello, Etched Arcadia wallpaper! The wall color (Antiquated Lace, 017W, from Dutch Boy Brand’s trending Homestead palette) is a great match for the background of the pattern, giving the whole thing a hand-drawn look.

Hanging Anthropologie's Etched Arcadia Wallpaper | Making it Lovely
Etched Arcadia Mural (Anthropologie Wallpaper) | Making it Lovely

I considered also painting the wood trim to match the walls, but decided against it for now as it makes sense with the kitchen and rest of the first floor’s unpainted woodwork.

Back Stairs Before and After | Making it Lovely
Painted Stair Details

My original plan was to add more detail to the runner. A border, and maybe hand-painted pom-poms or fringe? But as everything came together I felt like it would detract from the space rather than add. I do think that maybe a circle centered on the riser of each stair could be cool and unexpected, but again, not needed.

Tips on Painting Stairs and a Runner

First, do a lead check. Assuming you’re in the clear (we were), you’ll need to clean and sand the stairs. I like to use Dirtex to clean because it works well and doesn’t leave a residue that will interfere with your paint job. Sand with a random orbital sander to get most of the surface area and a mouse sander to get into corners. I do a rough (80-120) grit to start, then come in with a finer (180-220) grit to smooth things out. Clean the stairs again to get rid of the dust, and put a base coat down. Dutch Boy Porch & Floor paint has paint and primer, so no need for a separate step!

I used my lightest color (Antiquated Lace, 017W) for the base coat and then caulked all gaps before continuing on. I like to do that first coat before caulking because I find it’s easier to see the areas that need attention. Next, I put my second coat of paint in the same color on the risers, but used Authentic Black, 437-7DB for the treads. I left the center unpainted because I knew I’d be adding a third color for the painted runner effect.

Painting a Pink Runner on Black and White Stairs | Making it Lovely

Dutch Boy paint has the nicest containers for pouring paint! There’s a little spout inside so it’s easy to pour and the top screws back on, keeping it neat and making it easy to store. I used Fruity Pink, 105-2DB, from the same Homestead color palette that I pulled the wall, trim, and riser color (Antiquated Lace) from. The palette makes it easy to pull a cohesive color scheme together, and I also really liked Preppy Pink, North Haven, and their color of the year, Garden Patch, but you know I have a fondness for pale pinks.

Dutch Boy Homestead Color Palette 2019
Pink Painted Stair Runner

I used painter’s tape on the runner’s first coat to get the layout right, then went freehand for the final coat. I used an angled Purdy paintbrush to get a nice line (and that goes for all of the painting — I prefer to paint without taping). I also used the same color in Dutch Boy Dura Clean paint on the back door. I’ve always wanted a pink door! When the weather warms, I’ll paint the other side too.

Pink Painted Back Door

We make good use of the coat rack at the front door, but I wanted to add one back here too. I mounted a coat rack to the wall and added a boot tray and umbrella stand beneath. The family must now only hang outerwear in the designated blush, black, and white color palette. (Ha!)

Blush, Black, and White
Landing with Coat Rack

The spacing of the runner on the curves was tricky, but I taped out the straight runs first (6″ in on each side) and then winged it for the rest. It worked!

Painted Pink Stair Runner on Black and White Stairs | Making it Lovely

The combination of black, white, wood, and pink is one that I’m always fond of. Add in some brass and wallpaper, and you have all of my favorites at once. A wonderful update to what was once a strictly utilitarian entry and stairway!

Etched Arcadia Mural - Anthropologie Wallpaper | Making it Lovely
Pink Painted Stair Runner, Etched Arcadia Wallpaper Mural | Making it Lovely
Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

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  • elizabeth
    March 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    i love everything about this space, nicole! well-done, you.

  • gigi
    March 6, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    What a wonderful transformation and a lot of work. When you install your cabinets are you concerned that your wallpaper will be covered by your cabinets?

  • Leslie
    March 6, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    It’s wonderful. and a ton of work. that’s why i haven’t removed my ugly carpeting from steps in 20 years!

    March 6, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    great job! lots of love from Brazil.

  • Christiane
    March 6, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Just lovely !

  • Sarah
    March 6, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    I can only imagine the sheer amount of energy you put into this project. And, bravo, it looks incredible. I hope this project brings you so much daily joy.

  • Theresa B
    March 6, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Gosh, you nailed it! Again! Everything you design has such great integrity for your lovely Victorian, yet is still current- love it! Well done!

  • Sarah V
    March 6, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    You could paint the phases of the moon on each riser.

  • Danielle
    March 6, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Oh! It looks so, so very lovely! That wallpaper! *swoon*

  • judy
    March 7, 2019 at 5:24 am

    of course you are a designer par excellence-but you surprise me with most of what you do. It combines the charm of the simple with a grace note of sophistication and always utilitarian. I miss your artwork. I am looking forward to further forays into your gardening. Don’t envy you your Chicago winter weather. We had 25 degrees last night and I live in Virginia!

  • Carla
    March 7, 2019 at 6:37 am

    Beautiful outcome! Where did you source the roman shades with the narrow depth to fit older windows. I am having difficulty finding any that don’t require mounting above the window’s woodwork.

  • Sarah
    March 7, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Incredible transformation! It looks absolutely amazing. Love old house back stairways!

    • Sarah
      March 7, 2019 at 1:13 pm

      I forgot to ask – where is that coat rack from? It’s perfection!

  • H is for Home, Adelle
    March 7, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Those painted stairs look amazing, as does the wallpaper. I like that you’ve left the roughness in the wall at the bottom of the stairs. Great job!

  • Tara C
    March 7, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    This is so SO beautiful! I love it.

  • Josee-D Corbeil
    March 7, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Cannot imagine the agonizing over the perfect shade of pink – not easy by any stretch but you undeniably nailed it – squeal!!! I’d be flapping my arms like some awkward bird if I walked through it. The pink, the black, the mural, the wood and the texture – amazing. Well done you

  • Stephanie
    March 8, 2019 at 12:44 am

    A work of art. Truly stunning.

    March 8, 2019 at 3:23 am

    […] I love this home transformation. Makes me want to rip our carpeted stairs. […]

  • Amy KS
    March 8, 2019 at 10:36 am

    Gorgeous. I can’t believe that the runner is paint. I wouldn’t add anymore detail to it, it’s perfect the way it is.

  • Jess
    March 9, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Wow!!! This “after” is still blowing my mind!! What a challenge to create something with such crisp lines in an old home. And the wallpaper is a dream. I never comment on anything ever, but I just LOVE this! Great work Nicole!!

  • Adele
    March 10, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    It looks sooooo good, great job!

  • Carley
    March 11, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Gorgeous! What a lot of work but wow – it looks amazing! I love everything – pink, white, black, brass and that mural!

  • Amanda
    March 12, 2019 at 4:48 am

    This is just what I needed to see. I am going back and forth on painting the front door to my house pink…perhaps with a navy blue mailbox. Right now it’s a yellow door with a purple mailbox. Thing is that the house is a light brown/beige color and the trim and pillars are black. Wasn’t sure if the black and pink would work but looking at what you did in those phots, it does look like it would work.

  • kara
    March 12, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    love it!

  • truelovefamily
    March 16, 2019 at 12:16 am

    So very pretty!

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