03 March 2011

So...Here's The Thing

To paint....or not to paint....that is the question.

The above photo is of my entryway....the front door is to the left and it opens up into my living room....but here's the thing....it seems a little wood heavy to me. Hubby and I have pondered painting it white for 4 years now.....and seems how we're unable to decide....we thought we'd ask you....cuz you guys always have great ideas. The only thing that's held me back is that this is the original stairway...which makes it 121 years old. I usually never have trouble painting wood...I've painted all the doors and 6 inch moulding all over the house....but for some reason, I haven't been able to paint this area. I know it would look wonderful...and match so much better with my style....but I think I just need your 2 cents.

This is how it would probaby look when we're done. The stairway above looks very similar to what we have...and I love the white against the wood floor treads....

Okay....so please....

tell me....

what would you do....

paint or not paint.

photo via

P.S. I also wanted to thank everyone who commented that they'd help my little guy out with his duck project....you guys are the best!

85 comments:

  1. I say paint. I mean, if you leave the treads wood, it will give you a bit of warmth. I am planning on painting my banisters too soon.

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  2. Agreed, just paint the banister. Though, it is nice wood... mine is ugly, and I've been dying to do it but it's carpetted and I just don't want to start a project that big just yet. It's driving me crazy in the mean time though!

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  3. definately paint. everyone freaked out when i painted ALL the trim in my 85 year old two-story. but it's my house, so i do what i want :) and it'll still be original, just painted is all. go for it...lots of work, but worth it!

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  4. I am aaaallllll about painting EVERYthing ! But, I think those stairs are so beautifully aged. They are the perfect rustic warm honey color .If you bring in all sorts of other painted furniture pieces I think it would bring a lot of warmth and coziness to all the surrounding painted things. My favorite thing is a rich wood tone against white, absolutely beautiful!

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  5. I say paint too. I like wood but I had my stairs done like the picture you displayed, white stair spendals, and I love the look. Glad I did it.

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  6. If I were you I would paint the rails black and the rest white...black will hide all the marks that lil hands will leave...it also anchors the entry way, I use lots of black in my shabby cottage industrial style home and I think it is lovely :)

    Sheila

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  7. I would paint, my in-laws just painted their stairs white with the wood planks on the floor and it looks amazing!

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  8. Andrea, you just have to paint them. That photo looks amazing and will change the whole look of your entry. Leave the actual steps unpainted, as in the photo, as they really pop against the white. Also it will show off your timber floor to perfection. If you change your mind in 20 years you can always strip...just joking! Robx

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  9. I would definitely paint it white! It would look gorgeous!!!

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  10. I would paint! Hard decision, I know, but I would still do it. I think it would even look great when the wood starts to show through on the rail and treads!
    Liz
    http://mylovelylittlelulu.blogspot.com/

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  11. I would definitely paint them just like the picture you showed, leaving the treads wood. The stairs would just come alive. Right now, there is no contrast!

    Heidi

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  12. Paint them!
    i love the look of the ones in the picture...

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  13. Hi Andrea! Last fall I stained the top and bottom rails and posts of our entryway in a darker wood stain (they were a honey pine color) and left the spindles painted white. I love the result, the wood/paint combo really appeals to me and think it would look nice in your area. I'm sure whatever you choose will look stunning - trust your instincts, you have great taste!
    ♥Laura

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  14. Normally I would say paint but yours in so beautiful. Maybe by painting the risers and balusters a nice creamy white would be enough to lighten it up.

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  15. Yep! I would paint everything but the surface you walk on.

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  16. I I would paint but I would start on the spindles only at first... leaving the handrail wood... See if that gives enough without going the entire way

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  17. I say do what YOU want. I am always scared to paint anything around my place. lol. If I had that stair case, I would probably leave it just because I'd be too scared. But the picture for your inspiration looks great in the white - so I say go for it! :) I mean, you will still have the steps in the original wood, so...if you like white...then go for it. Just remember, once it is done...you can't turn back. Ever. lol.

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  18. Paint, Paint, Paint! I think it would look wonderful!

    ~Dan~

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  19. I agree with pretty much everyone: PAINT! If you leave the treads the natural wood, it'll still be warm, but not overwhelmingly so. Plus, I don't think the white is a trendy thing. It's been around forever, and will be here in 50 years still.

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  20. I've struggled with this regarding furniture so I can only imagine what a huge mental hopscotch you're having over this! I'm afraid one day I'll be on Antiques Roadshow and they'll tell me something I had is worth $100,000 but since I painted it white it's now worth $10. I think I would leave it, just because it's so old and so beautiful as is! Like someone else mentioned, maybe if you bring in enough white accents it won't need painting. But ultimately you have to do what you want with it and I'm sure it'll be beautiful either way!

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  21. Hello Andrea,
    I think you shoul paint in white color:) It will be beautiful, warmth, romantick...
    I donť like when everythink is paint in white..but these stairs will be perfect in white:))
    Have a nice work bye Vlaďka

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  22. I would go for risers white and banister spindles white the rest wood, it warms up a room. Can you use a gray on the walls? To tie in your look.
    Check out my post earlier this week, it is all about you. Thanks.

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  23. ~*~*Paint it~**~ I think it will turn out beautiful!! Hugs, Rachel

    French Farmhouse 425

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  24. My entryway is very similar... if ours wasn't painted already I'm not so sure we would have painted it. It's beautiful as it is, but I'm sure it would be beautiful painted.

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  25. Definitely paint it and leave the tread a stained wood! It would be breathtaking with a white railing!

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  26. paint. if it has been bugging you for 4 years you won't be happy until you do. but I'd leave the tread wood also!

    good luck!

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  27. :( oh don't paint it is so beautiful.

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  28. I say paint the spindles white only and restain the wood dark . This way you wont be painting it every year for the rest of your life and it will give it a nice refresh.

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  29. I`m in the `don`t paint` camp! Although the `after` pic looks nice, I`ll bet the wood underneath is just plain old ugly and needed covering up, whereas the wood on your staircase is absolutely beautiful and it would be a real shame to cover up all that fabulous grain with paint, which you would also need to repaint at regular intervals to hide the wear and tear.

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  30. I love the warmth of the rich wood, what a difficult decision to make. Good luck! Florence

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  31. My home has a similar entrance, the wood floor is a rich sherry tone, the big posts of the banister are dark brown and the rest are white, a lot of people that has come to our house likes the idea of the three colors, I will try and send you a picture this evening.
    I say paint!

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  32. I see your dilemma....and your respect for the history in your home. I would paint everything but the treads, as others have suggested. Your inspiration photo is one I have seen before, and I love it! Your stairway has lovely "bones", and I think it will look even more fantastic when you are done with it. :)

    Amy

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  33. I would paint but leave the stair treads wood! Ooh such beauty! Im excited for you!!
    That second photo is beautiful in white, but the first is also!
    Cant wait to hear what you decide!

    Deborah :)

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  34. It's very pretty now, but I would still paint it. I think that's the way you are leaning so you should just go for it...it will be beautiful.

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  35. i have the self same problem...i'll be watching to see what you decide!

    blessings,

    alison
    stuff and nonsense

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  36. Love the white paint with the dark contrast...I say go for it!

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  37. Paint it, if you feel like doing the work....
    Paint it if you're wanting a brighter feeling and a match to your trim work....

    I'd paint it...no matter what it's history, it simply has to work in my decor!
    I like white and clean, and bright!

    Paint it!

    Paint it!

    Paint it!

    Ciao Bella!

    Creative Carmelina

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  38. It's difficult to say. For this, I would have to see the complete environment. I love white, but sometimes the old wood looks fantastic. If you can no longer see the brown, then paint it. If you are unsure, then wait. If you know paint all other things (furniture), the staircase looks again different.

    Hugs

    Tine

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  39. Stupid :-))))

    Last sentence: not "know" but "first" ;)

    Hugs

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  40. oh! i would paint! cant wait to see what you do!

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  41. don't paint...leave it the original way and lighten it with accessories

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  42. Definitely paint! Aw it'll be so gorgeous!

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  43. I'd say it's time to dust off those paint brushes and get to work! Keep the treads unpainted to give you a pop of wood and the rest paint her up baby!

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  44. Paint it. Go for it. I don't think you'd regret it.

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  45. I'm going to have to disagree with the majority and recommend you don't paint it. You live in a historic home (kudos to you!), and are fortunate to possess the original wood stair, baluster and newel posts in a beautifully aged oak(?) wood. This is one of your home's most important character-defining features. It tells a story. Once you paint you can never go back. But I can completely understand how tough a decision it would be.

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  46. 121 YEAR OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't paint, please :)

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  47. You should just paint the spindles and risers white and leave the rest wood. It will give you the look you want by making it look lighter, but will keep the original character of the wood. Good luck, hard decision!!
    Melanie

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  48. I too think paint the spindles & risers. Leave the tread & rail... you can always go back and paint them if you don't like the look. I have a customer that painted their stairs and it looks wonderful. It's more of a taupe... their house is more primitive than yours. Can't wait to see what you do!
    Laurie

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  49. Oh...I originally thought, "Keep the natural woodwork!" But then you showed the next picture and I just love the look of everything white except the stairs. So I guess I'd vote, paint it white.
    But, you know what either way is just beautiful!
    Debbie

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  50. Paint!!!! Ugly wood isn't good wood!:) That staircase is stunning.

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  51. wow! wish I could be original but I have to say..PAINT! I think it will look stunning!

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  52. Andrea, that second picture just makes me swoon! Absolutely go with the paint. It will give you that gorgeous lightened up look you're going for in the rest of your most fabulous farmhouse.

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  53. Andrea,

    I am faced with the same dilemma. Our home was built in the 1880s and I hesitate to paint the beautiful wood although I do love the inspiration you provided. I am going to be reading all your readers' comments and watch your progress.

    Your Friend,
    Deborah

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  54. PAINT!!!!
    gail
    adventuresininnkeeping.blogspot.com

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  55. Andrea,
    How are you doing? Still working on my Blog! I love your home and I say Paint. You would love it.
    Keep in Touch:)

    Carol
    freshlinenscottonandlace.blogspot.com

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  56. I'm in the same boat...I haven't done my woodwork yet but oh I want to...I finally decided this is *MY* home...and painted is really farmhouse-y and that is what this house is...a farmhouse...always was...but I understand the dilemma...we can be so fickle when it comes to style. I'll be watching to see what you do...
    Rene

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  57. Ohhhhhh....you asked the wrong girl, here, Andrea! lol! There's NO question that I would paint the banister. Except, I would keep the handrail part natural wood. That way, you won't be cleaning it all the time, and it will match the top of the steps. I've been wanting to paint our kitchen cupboards ever since we moved into this wonderful old 1895 farmhouse BUT hubby won't let me touch them because they are original to the house. UGH!!!! Looks like from all the comments, that you'll be painting them soon! Have fun!! :)

    xoxo laurie

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  58. You know you want to! :) Do it! You are a very good painter and I know it will look spectac!
    Have a great weekend!
    Lara

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  59. Paint!
    It will be SO beautiful!
    The white paint will compliment the beautiful wood treads.

    Be Brave!

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  60. I would not paint that beautiful wood, even though I am a big fan of painted surfaces. I see that you have painted baseboards, kitchen cabinets, and furniture in your home to balance that wood. I think you may regret it!

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  61. Paint, It will make your wood floors stand out and look even better!.

    Heather

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  62. Hello,

    Your inspiration pictures looks beautiful but I do love the way it looks right now. This is a tough decision. I have updated our trim to white and windows and everything else but have always left the stairs with the original wood coloring. It's almost to hard for me to paint it white. I wanted to keep something with the original look. But, that's just me. It does look pretty in white. I always say go with what you are feeling and it looks like you are feeling to paint it white. Either way it's going to look beautiful.
    Can't wait till to see what you guys decide.
    Take care and have a good weekend.
    Claudia

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  63. I just painted mine and I am so thrilled with the outcome - it brightened up the space immeasurably!

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  64. I think you should paint, paint, paint. If you leave the stair treads unpainted then you will still get a sense of the age/character of the wood. Plus a little white will lighten and freshen up the whole space.

    Good luck with your decision!!

    P.S. If you regret it you always have the option of stripping the paint off again... :)

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  65. Please don't paint. Keep it original. It is awesome and it tells a story! I LOVE it

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  66. I saw a really nice photo of a similar idea. I will try to find it and send to you. They left the steps and the handrail woodfinish, and painted the rest white. It looked fantastic. Jamie V in MT
    http://rem-nants.blogspot.com
    amzanioli@yahoo.com

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  67. I really like the inspiration photo you have....but I would paint the banisters - and just add a white table there too...with accents -

    it's just so hard to make that committment with white paint and then later down the road change it!

    xo+blessings,
    anne marie

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  68. PAINT,PAINT,PAINT will look so good you will only ask why did we wait so long!!! x0x0

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  69. I love your inspiration photo, and say "go with your heart!" :-)

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  70. No question, paint, paint, paint.
    Linda

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  71. I vote paint the risers first. Step back and re-evaluate if you want to do more. I've stripped layers of old paint off spindles, etc....and I never want to do it again!!

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  72. Oh dear . . . I couldn't paint it either (and my husband wouldn't let me:)! . . but I truly believe that you would regret it. And that's the reason you haven't painted it - you KNOW BETTER:) I also love the age of it and the beauty of the wood. PLEASE don't touch it!

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  73. My second comment :). I voted to paint, I also like the idea of leaving the top rail wood. It is easier to keep clean.

    Heidi

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  74. i'm the minority. i say leave as is. it is gorgeous. i would kill for a staircase like that.

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  75. Probably in the minority here, but I wouldn't paint it. If it has been this long and it hasn't been painted, leave it be. I live in an old Victorian that has had its wood painted and although yes, I like the lighter look, I would never have been the first to take a paint brush to old original honey colored wood. Get your light look from other things and this will ground your decor. You can never go back (easily) to unpainted wood and you will never be able to get that beautiful patina back once it has been painted over. For what it's worth...

    Hugs,
    Judy

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  76. No Paint! That wood has been touched and loved for over 100 years! Paint will be constantly chipped and look worn so soon. If you have something old and beautiful, I believe that it should be respected. If you paint it, it will look like all the other MDF painted substandard construction that is out there today. Painting is a fad, and some painting is fine, but don't ruin a staircase and a piece of history for future generations. Sincerely, from an owner of an old house. Aleta

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  77. I say paint but, leave the handrail and ballister natural, then you get the lightness of the white and the patina and warmth of the original wood.

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  78. Paint, paint, paint! :) It is beautiful, but paint can always be stripped if you later regret it, right? :) My staircase has painted spindles and risers,so it's a nice mix. Whatever you do, I would do a mix of wood and paint. Love reading all the comments on this! Fun.
    Can't wait to see your end result.

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  79. Not sure if you have made a decision on this yet, but I would say paint them! Leave only the actual steps and the hand rail wood (leaving the hand rail will make cleaning easier) We live in an older home too (built in 1835). Our steps are not nearly as beautiful as yours but you can check out our before & after here if you would like an idea of the finished product
    http://mainstreethouse.blogspot.com/2010/10/day-eighty-five-steps.html

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  80. I'm normally a painter, but in this case I'd say no paint. That wood is beautiful!

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  81. I say paint the spindles and the risers. Leave the top of the newel post and the handrail wood!

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