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The Basement Stairway

February 20th, 2012

Our basement stairway is like most, utilitarian and boring. Now that we’re going to be putting the house on the market we’re trying to clean up some of those dreary areas of the house and the basement stairway was on the list. I pinned this idea a long time ago and decided it would be perfect for this area.

The best part is that it was FREE. A few extra bits of paints from various areas of the house and a few hours and I was in business. I used caulk to fill in all the cracks around the stairs to clean it up a bit. It’s not quite as bright green as it looks in the photos, it’s a lithe more muted in person.
This is what I started with:

And ended up with this. Isn’t it amazing how it makes the stairs look wider?

Basements are a wonderful thing, we use our for storage. My main pantry is down there and it’s filled with jars of home canned goodness, the deep freezer and my seed starting area. Since our basement is unheated it also works fairly well for storing potatoes and onions. A proper root cellar would be better, but since this is all I have I make it work. Growing up we had a proper root cellar in the basement and my bedroom was down there too.

I still need to give them a good sweep, wipe them down and put a coat of Polycrylic on them. This will make them so much easier to clean and they will stand up better to all the foot traffic they get. The moulding around the door and the hand railing need stained before going back up. With those two tasks the basement stairway went from drab to fab! I’ll definitely be keeping this in mind in the future.

Are you lucky enough to have a basement? What do you use it for?

24 Comments to “The Basement Stairway”
  1. Joan on February 20, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Wow Susy, what a difference. It looks GREAT!

    Reply to Joan's comment

  2. daisy on February 20, 2012 at 7:59 am

    It looks fantastic! I love those simple ideas that add such a WOW factor!
    Great job.
    We have no basements in FL, but maybe our next house will!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  3. kristin @ going country on February 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

    We have not a basement, but a cellar. Dirt floors, stone walls, the whole bit. We store potatoes down there very well, plus all the canned food. We also have a chest freezer in there, the washing machine and dryer, and a room we use for plants in the winter.

    It’s a pretty damned scary cellar, I must admit. Looks haunted.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  4. Victoria on February 20, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Great colors! Love green.

    We too have a basement…it serves as a home-movie theatre, storage, home of the ping pong tournament of champions, and most importantly my seed growing station!

    Reply to Victoria's comment

  5. Jennifer Fisk on February 20, 2012 at 9:02 am

    I have a full basement which is the norm in Maine. I have my freezers, a couple of cords of firewood, as well as furnace, water heater and expansion tank down there. In the daylight end, I have my herd of Silver Fox rabbits. The advantage to having the buns in the basement is I don’t have to fight frozen water from November to April. A major improvement would be to create a real root cellar for winter vegetable storage.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  6. Kaytee on February 20, 2012 at 9:04 am

    That makes such a difference and it’s such a cute idea (and would be great with young kids to help them learn to count!).

    Our basement is used for storage. All my home canned goods are down there, along with all the other store we “store”. If we ever finish the stairwell, I’m keeping this idea in mind.

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  7. Sofie Dittmann on February 20, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Cute. :)

    Reply to Sofie Dittmann's comment

  8. K.B. on February 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

    That looks fantastic!

    No basement here – the house is too old and built too close to Lake Erie. Newer houses in the area have to have sump pumps if they have basements, and I actually prefer not to have to worry about the basement flooding on a regular basement. Of course, the storage space would be nice!

    Reply to K.B.'s comment

  9. Greg on February 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Love it! They look great, guys! And yes, it is a pretty cool optical illusion you created there: they definitely look wider. :)

    Reply to Greg's comment

  10. Missy on February 20, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Looks great! It’s amazing the effect when you take the time to pay attention to a neglected area of your house, how much it can brighten your day when you walk into that space. I feel that way about our laundry room now. I always hated that room and felt deflated when I walked into it, a little sprucing up and now I feel happiness and pride when I walk in. I’m sure you’ll feel the same walking up those stairs from now on. Well done.

    Reply to Missy's comment

  11. Josie on February 20, 2012 at 10:31 am

    That is beautiful and I love the green! We don’t have basements here in Oklahoma but I did growing up in Ohio! Mostly ours held the laundry and anything mom and dad wanted out of the way and stored throughout the year. Lots of people have tornado shelters here dug into the ground and I imagine they could double as a root storage too with narrow shelves along a wall. Lots of hope and luck with the sale!

    Reply to Josie's comment

  12. Amy on February 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Thta is so cheery and fun! Love it! Isn’t Pinterest great?!

    Reply to Amy's comment

  13. KimH on February 20, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Great job.. sure changes the feel of the place, doesnt it.. Enjoyed your linked posts too..

    Reply to KimH's comment

  14. Jennie-Team Dean on February 20, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Beautiful! What an awesome idea!

    Reply to Jennie-Team Dean's comment

  15. Brittany P. on February 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    We do not have a cellar and most, if not all, other people in our area do not either. That is because we have a great big water aquifer running under the ground beneath us and we don’t have to dig very far and bam, water. So basements are not common here. It would be so lovely to have one.

    You did a beautiful job on the staircase. It really does look wider. Amazing! The color you used is the same color we painted our master bath. All the paint colors we used in the house are colors found in nature.

    Reply to Brittany P.'s comment

  16. Sherri on February 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    That looks absolutely fantastic!!!!! :) So impressive – well done and totally worth the time invested.

    Reply to Sherri's comment

  17. tj on February 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    …Wow! That looks wonderful! Great job! :o)

    …No, we don’t have a basement and I long for a house with one if for no other reason than for storage. My husband would like to have one to have a sort of Rec’ Room or Man Cave. Either way, they are nice to have.

    …I can’t get over the difference that transformation made – it is awesome!

    …Hope you’re both having a great day!

    …Blessings :o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  18. Rhonda on February 21, 2012 at 8:06 am

    That looks great! I like your version better than the pinned one. :-) We have a basement. It’s finished, but there’s one room that I use for my pantry. It’s the coldest room in the house. In the winter, I keep the heating vent closed with cardboard over it and in the summer, it get opened so we get cool AC in there. It stays cool enough that I can store eggs and waxed cheese in there with no problem. I love my pantry being in there because it’s off to the side with a door that closes. You wouldn’t even know it was there unless you went looking for it.

    Reply to Rhonda's comment

  19. Teresa on February 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Amazing! What a great treatment for your stairs.

    Reply to Teresa's comment

  20. sarahkincheloe on February 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I like the colors, but don’t really get the numbers. I would be careful about doing something so specific for a house you want to sell. I personally liked the stairs before and if I was buying the house I would be thinking “We’ll have to repaint those stairs…” Not to say anything bad about it in particular but just that it can be a waste of time, money, and resources (not good for the environment!) to do improvements that are such a particular style if you plan to sell.

    Reply to sarahkincheloe's comment

    • Susy on February 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      I suppose that could be the case – but since I was using up all the old cans of paint that needed to be used up and they’re all colors from the rest of the house the stairs fit right in. If someone doesn’t like the stairs they won’t like the rest of the house so I don’t really have to worry about that. If you could have seen the stairs before in person you’d probably think differently as they were in very very rough shape. And I’m glad I’ll be able to enjoy them for a while or who knows how long if we can’t sell the house or something happens and we don’t move. I have the same mind about the house as I do about the garden – you should live there as if you’re never leaving!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  21. Roberta on February 22, 2012 at 11:20 am

    You did a great job on the stairs and I that’s coming from a fan of natural woodstain. How is it that it makes the stairs look wider? It must be that the color is lighter perhaps. I have some painting projects this summer. I have swatches of colors all over the place. Who knew there were so many greens, so many reds? I may never be able to decide!

    Reply to Roberta's comment

  22. Chas on February 23, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Susy, It looks amazing!! Great job! :)

    Reply to Chas's comment

  23. Chris on February 23, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I don’t like the numbers, but that’s the only thing I don’t like about it. The colours look wonderful together and it really lightened such a small space. From the before pictures, that area did look rather drab.

    Reply to Chris's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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