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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

staircase update

djbarnettJanuary 21, 2013
Can't decide - hate the newel, want to replace with a square box newel, thinking forged iron balusters and updated handrails. Not sure if I should go with stained newel and rail with white flat base for balusters...or paint the newel white with a cap that would match the stain on the handrails...

Mouldings are all white, the house is a modest 4 bedroom traditional home but the staircase looks very dated and is the first thing you see when walking in.

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Judy M
1 Like    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 6:53PM
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I agree, just paint it ! On another note, the carpet looks a bit worn.
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 7:13PM
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This works for this space because the stairs are exposed -
Staircase · More Info
. Here is another visual:
Basement with Brick Arches · More Info

This has a white post and a wood rail, which I think would be the best combination for your situation:
Box newels & Wought iron · More Info
. The white post ties in white your trim and the wood tone railing looks best with the iron spindles.

Good luck!
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 7:18PM
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houssaon, thanks for the great pics. So you're thinking replace the newel with a box newel painted white, replace balusters with iron.

How about the flat piece that the balusters attach to at their bottoms (don't know what it's called)? Should I paint that white, replace it and stain to match the handrails or sand it and restain with a polyurethane sealer for some updated shine? I guess same question for handrails...replace and stain or work with the existing one and sand/restain?

Actually, looking at that flat piece, I would either have to replace it or use an iron runner piece to cover the holes from the wooden spindles.Maybe best to just replace. I am guessing that would probably be stained to match the handrail, which I am probably best to replace as well. Just start fresh.

One last question - any recommendations on stain color? Perhaps I should go darker.
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Houssaon, went to Portland Stair Co pictures (have already been to the website - love it!)...what is the benefit to using poplar vs oak for the rail? Can I go with oak for the newel (cheaper) since it's going to be painted?
Thanks, Deborah
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:08PM
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I think paint it all semi-gloss black would look great.
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:08PM
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Darzy, would never have thought of that but found one picture with that combo and it looked pretty elegant. Designer used oil based paint on rail and newel with iron balusters.
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:49PM
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I'm not an expert, but I think the railing and the wood at the bottom (what is that called) should be the same. One thing I noticed looking through the Houzz images for iron railings is the the hand rail is always stained but that the newel post can be painted or stained. Oak and poplar are both good woods, but I don't know the advantages of using one or the other.What I like about Houzz is that if you want to see how something you are imagining will look, you can search and find some visuals to give you a clue and an inspiration!
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Oak will show a grain texture through paint, better to stain. Poplar is smoother and is better for painting. What does the current stain color relate to? Some people match stairs to their kitchen cabinets. Otherwise, to match trim color.
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:36PM
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Marie Hebson's interiorsBYDESIGN Inc.
YUP - Just paint the entire rail, and update carpet. Perfect!
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Gkemp, believe it or not, I still haven't finished the project....pulled out the old newel, balusters, railing etc, so now must start fresh! Thinking painted white square newel 4" is all my space will allow. Iron balusters and stained rail and bottom flat wood the balusters go in on bottom. Your question was what does the current (now previous) stain color relate to? Nothing. The new one just needs to be something rich looking. I do have a mahogany tv armoire in the family room and light/natural red oak hardwood floors. Any thoughts on stain color?
    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 8:57AM
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I'm thinking a rich mohogany stain.
    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Portland Stair Company
Some ideas to think about.

Portland Stair Co.
    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 12:50PM
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WHITE....match your trim. Keep it simple. If you want color, use accents. Brighter rug, pictures....
    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 4:57PM
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Flourish Design Elements
If you decide to change the newels - visit or website www.flourishde.com we have some really unique designs.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 11:33AM
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Marta Ro
As Judy said, I would just paint it white, like in the picture. I also think it would look better without the rug!
    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 12:35PM
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Summit Stairs & Millwork
Most likely the treads under the carpet are pine or partical board. A change that would make a huge impact on the looks of your entry would be to remove carpet, change treads to red oak to match your flooring, change risers if needed and paint white, replace your wall cap, handrail and use iron balusters and make your handrail do an "S" turn around your short wall so it goes all the way up without interruption. Stain all red oak to match your flooring. In our part of the country, without paint and staining, we would be around 3500-4k. If you go this route, make sure the ones doing it are stair experts. They would be able to correct any rise and run issues at this time to make your stairs safer if anything is off.
    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 1:11PM
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