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Stairwell Before and After

You might have seen the bits and pieces of my super-cheap stairwell makeover already, but I thought you might like to see how everything came together.  We have one of those homes (you can see before photos in the Townhouse Tour) that looked so bad when we bought it that even looking not-bad, looks good.  So what might seem like a simple makeover is a major improvement for us, especially when you consider that we spent very little money.

Here’s the before.  And yes, the mess is included.  Because the stairwell looked so ratty, it was easy to rationalize not tidying up.  I would shove things there, instead of putting them away.  It looked terrible and was a major trip hazard.   Plus, the paint was dingy and chipped, the railing was faded and worn, the mirror and art I randomly hung did nothing for the space, the light fixture appeared dis-coloured and the carpet was a major eyesore.

Various problems . . .

 And now:

What changed:

I still want to paint the light switch cover and steam clean the carpets (which are less noticeable now that the walls are a lovely greige, making the line between wall & carpet a little less obvious):  

Since replacing the carpet was out of the question, painting the walls a greige shade make the carpet stand out less.

Grrrr . . . with white walls, switch plate covers have never been an issue – I plan to paint this one.

But even with just a little freshening up, the entrance to the basement looks less tired, less dated and just, well, prettier.  More like part of the home, and less like a space we enthusiastically ignore.  The rest of the stairwell still needs art & accessories, but it already looks so much better painted:



  1. Meg
    March 20, 2012 / 1:03 pm

    Looking good, Tanya!

  2. Jae
    March 20, 2012 / 1:15 pm

    Your fabulous painting fancies up that stairwell! I have a similar project on my To Do list. The stairwell leading to the basement & garage is very unfortunate.

  3. nickarmadillo
    March 20, 2012 / 1:22 pm

    That stairway looks so much better now. I really like the home-made art. Now, about that carpet…

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 20, 2012 / 1:39 pm

      Ack! You're supposed to briefly glance at the carpet, agree it is less noticeable and pretend it isn't there. Lol. I don't have the beans to replace it. Frankly, it is pretty new, it just looks old because it needs a good, thorough clean. Blech, I hate carpet.

  4. Alyssa
    March 20, 2012 / 1:33 pm

    Love the color you used in this space, and the fact that you painted the handrail black. It compliments your artwork perfectly. That piece actually reminds me of something my sister did. Looks great!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 20, 2012 / 1:40 pm

      Thanks! Hope you blog about your sister's art on your soon-to-be-awesome DIY projects page.

    • Martina
      March 20, 2012 / 2:26 pm

      Ditto, I love how the colours echo each-other design wise. It really pulls everything together to make a unified space.

  5. Jessica Turner
    March 20, 2012 / 1:55 pm

    great painting!

  6. Faith Pike
    March 20, 2012 / 2:13 pm

    Looks great! Love the painting there.

  7. Chris Loves Julia
    March 20, 2012 / 2:47 pm

    That painting still gets me every time. I love it!

  8. Christine
    March 20, 2012 / 3:17 pm

    Love it! You accomplished such a great transformation. I agree that the carpet is less noticeable now and I LOVE that painting there. Great job!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 20, 2012 / 6:56 pm

      Yay for the carpet blending in!!

  9. Sarah @ { rad: renovations are dirty }
    March 20, 2012 / 4:26 pm

    It's really coming together, and the artwork fits perfectly there. 🙂

  10. Melissa
    March 20, 2012 / 5:08 pm

    Great job! Looks awesome!

  11. Teresa
    March 20, 2012 / 5:14 pm

    looks great! I love that painting!

  12. Melissa
    March 20, 2012 / 5:35 pm

    Looks GREAT! 🙂

  13. Adding the finishing touch
    March 20, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    It looks fabulous! I love your art and those green frames – stunning!

  14. Amelia @ House Pretty
    March 20, 2012 / 5:55 pm

    Looks great and I LOVE that painting – it really stands out in the space! I'm planning to try following your tutorial to create something similar for our mantle.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 20, 2012 / 6:56 pm

      Oooo – can't wait to see what you create!!

  15. Olga@Stardust-Decor&Style
    March 20, 2012 / 10:19 pm

    Simple, minimal and yet delicious!

  16. Jenny from My Handmade Home
    March 21, 2012 / 2:58 am

    So nice!!! Great job!

  17. Michelle
    March 21, 2012 / 8:10 am

    I really like the graphic you made – I think bold art in small places looks so good

  18. Jen @ RamblingRenovators
    March 22, 2012 / 2:19 am

    That looks great! Your art was made for that space.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      March 26, 2012 / 7:50 pm

      Yep, literally. I painted it with the stairwell in mind, lol. Thanks for the compliment!

  19. Sheila @SZInteriors
    March 22, 2012 / 5:07 am

    What a difference! Oh, the power of paint 🙂 And I love your artwork – it's perfect for that space and adds such great impact.

  20. Lindsey @ Better After
    April 5, 2012 / 8:36 pm

    I love the artwork too! The whole space looks calming and serene and blends so nicely. I agree, the carpet is much less noticeable too. Great job Tanya, thanks so much for sharing this!

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