The Staircase Makeover!

Well the stairwell wall is finally complete!  Hip hip hooray!

Let’s take a look at the before photos shall we?

The above picture is the wall to the right of the staircase, but still the same wall.

And now….the after!

Ahhh, don’t you love moulding??

We continued the rail to that little wall behind the cabinet and I painted it out in a semi-gloss white as well.  We will eventually add a few boxes on that wall also.

I was actually smart for once and painted the wall white before we added any boxes.  I know, can you believe it? I actually followed my own advice. :)

Then we put up the frames temporarily with double-sided tape to get the spacing correct, nailed them in with a nail gun, and added the chair rail.  The rail is not an actual “chair rail” but is window casing trim.  It is decorative like a chair rail and has a nice ledge to it.

Then came a LOT of caulking and spackling of all of the boxes and chair rail, more painting, and then done!  And please, if you need to cover nail holes, use spackle and not caulking.  I already knew this but for some dumb reason I used caulk and ended up redoing it with spackle.  Caulk does not sand well and it gets rubbery.  With spackle, it sands down nicely and you can’t even see the holes.  Just my little tip!

I’ll just show you all more after photos because I know that’s what you really care about. :)

And here are a couple of night shots.  P.S.- the sconces have flameless candles in them and they are on a timer, so they come on at the same time every day and stay on for 5 hours and turn off.  Sweeeeet!

So what do you think?  I think this is one of, if not, my favorite transformation so far!  I think I always say that though. :)  This wall was always a challenge to decorate, so that’s why it’s been empty for 2 years now.  I think having the wall more as an architectural feature was the way to go for sure.

Now, so how about them steps Dad? :)

To see how the design of the staircase came about, you can read about that here.  To see the how-to of the moulding boxes you can read that here.

Source list:

Starburst Mirror – Pier 1 for $69 (was on sale over half off! The original price was $149)

Candle Sconces – Hobby Lobby $30 each (with half off)

Flameless candles – Pier 1.  I already had these candles but had to buy one more for about $14.  Pier 1 flameless candles are my favorite because they glow from the bottom up, instead of just the top like a lot of others do.

Materials – $64.26 for moulding boxes, and approximately $20 for the chair rail.

Wall color – Baguette from Sherwin Williams

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway from Purdy here to win an awesome paint kit!

Thank you to my sponsors:

Altar’d – How to paint furniture guide


Lisa Leonard

The Rusted Chain

Red Letter Words

The Vintage Pearl

Simple Fit RediShade

Cutting Edge Stencils

Knitty Bitties

Donahue Wellness



Linking this post to Layla’s Few of my Favorite Things Party. Go and visit Layla and all of the other links for awesome inspiration!

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  1. Wow! It looks awesome!! Great job! The wainscoting adds so much drama to the space. Love it (:

  2. Acckkkk!!! It looks GREAT!!!!!! Can you just imagine how it’s going to look for the holidays?! I can’t wait to see what you are doing next! I’m trying to finish up my boys Car themed room! Check out my post today and tell me what you think about my gluing things to the wall;-)

  3. Looks great! Good job to you and your dad. Thanks for including your sources. I was going to ask about the flameless candles. They will be on my Pier 1 shopping list.

  4. Looks amazing!! We’re moving in a few weeks and I can wait to “renovate” the staircase!!

    Oh, and I talked about your “mom cave” office today on my blog!!

  5. Um, can I borrow your dad, please!? Looks amazing! I love it! Nice work!

  6. WOW! The molding looks amazing! You have totally convinced me to try this in my own home. Awesome job! Oh, and thanks for the tip about the candles, I’ve been in the market for flameless!

  7. eeeee! LOVE it! I want to do this to my staircase so bad!!!!! Not sure if I am up to that level on the DIY scale yet though. On a side note, you said you put your flameless candles on a timer? Please share! I would love to do the same!

  8. wow girl! That stairway transformation is fantastic! Love Love LOVE it!

  9. Beautiful! I wish I had even one tenth of your motivation and know-how!


  10. WOW! Are you KIDDING ME!! This is FABULOUS!!! OH EM GEE!!! I would just hang out in the stairwell like all day I would be so proud!! WOW! Amazing job Emily!!!

  11. Fantastic!!! It has such a custom look now!! :)

  12. Weeeeeeeeeeee! looks great!

  13. Weeeeeeeeeeee! looks great!

  14. Hooooray! Looks so amazing! I LOVE the lanterns and the height of your molding. Great job!

  15. Crazy how molding can transform a space! That is absolutely gorgeous, I love it!

  16. The whole reveal is gorgeous!! I especially love the sconces! When I saw them in the pic on either side of the doorway, I could really tell how big they are! Love them!! Great job!!

  17. Emily's Dad says:

    I’m really pleased with your results. This was a good project.

  18. Gorgeous! I love it. You did such an amazing job. I would have never thought of doing the chair rail in different patterns, but from the other side of the staircase, it is so striking!

  19. Very pretty, wish I was handy with moldings, what a difference it makes! I cannot WAIT to do my own stairs. All these stair makeovers make me more determined.

  20. Gorgeous! The moulding is the perfect touch to your staircase. I wish I HAD stairs, just so I could do something like that! :)


  22. Looks great,Emily! What an inspiring project. All the molding in blogland just really takes it up a notch. I think I need more!

  23. Emily – wow! You and your Dad are welcome to come and do my stairway next…..I have a question – if your short wall was a full wall with no bannister would you have done it the exact same or would you have added the smaller boxes as you did on the bannister side? In my stairway I have 2 full walls, but only a bannister on one side. Just curious how you would have done it with 2 full walls. Thanks ~ Karen

    • Hmm, well it’s hard to answer without seeing a picture and how your handrail is exactly. Maybe do a chair rail on both sides at the same height, but maybe not do the smaller boxes, just the larger ones like I have on the bottom. Again it’s hard to tell without seeing pictures of how big the actual walls are, and how much architectural interest would be necessary. The wall I was working on was huge, so that’s why I wanted the smaller boxes up top as well to add more detail. HTH!

  24. Wow, that’s awesome! You do really great work!!


  25. What a difference the paint and moulding makes! You guys did a great job!! And I love the Pier One mirror. How fun to go and and down the stairs now:)

  26. Wow…it looks so lovely! I really love the sconces, they add such a warm touch!

  27. Wow Emily! What a terrific job you guys did. It just adds so much to the staircase.

  28. Hi, I just found your blog and I love it!! I am getting ready to do a similiar molding project in my home, wish me luck!! Also, I see that you have already tackled some of my ideas, like the Ballard Initial!! Great job!
    Hopefully mine will turn out as nice as yours!
    Have a great week!

  29. I love it!! Wow – that is a lot of stairs to do too. I discovered painting the wall before on my second board & batten project and it made such a difference. That was smart!

    It is elegant and beautiful! Great job!!!!!!


  30. holy moly! this is awesome!

    i know this took some serious work. it looks wonderful! what a difference!

    great job!

  31. One word: Beautiful! :-)

  32. Oh my goodness, what a transformation!! I have to show my engineer hubby whom I have been trying to convince to try this some day. Great job!

  33. Jennifer H says:

    This looks absolutely gorgeous!! Thanks for the info on the Pier 1 flameless candles glowing from the bottom up. I have a couple flameless candles and now I realize why I wasn’t crazy about them; they didn’t glow all throughout. What I love about your blog is letting us in about even small details like the best flameless candle.

  34. Kuddos! Looks great! I am so sad we are moving and probably renting a house in Alaska, because I wont be able to do this to my staircase :( Oh well, one day…

  35. Wow!!! This is just beautiful!! I love it! Great job!

  36. Oooh it looks so GREAT! That is exactly what your staircase needed! AMAZING transformation. I’m about ready to jump on the faux wainscoting train!


  37. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! You and your dad are so talented. I wish I knew someone with those talents to do MY house! :)

  38. One word ~ B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L.
    What a transformation!! I stumbled upon your blog by accident searching for fun decorating ideas and I can’t wait to see what you post each day. Your Dad does amazing work (I love the pantry too).

  39. Stunningly Elegant!

  40. wow — great job!!! Love the mirror too!

  41. This stair case is incredible! Excellent job. I could totally see this going up my steps. I might have to see if this is something I could do on my own :) Wooohoo!

    Debbie @

  42. What a beautiful job!! Your staircase looks amazing. I have so many favorite parts!!: The idea to paint the wall first, using the double sided tape first, the overall look of the molding, the flameless sconces on a timer (!!), and I love the sunburst mirror. Really really beautiful!!

  43. This is an amazing moulding job-My staircase is on my to do list but I’ll have to spend alot of time studying yours pics before I begin-incredible transformation!

  44. The paneling looks awesome! It totally makes the stairway. We are working on some in the living room right now.

  45. Wow! What a transformation! But I gotta tell you, I’d never have the patience to miter ALL those corners . . . and on an angle, too? Wow!

    Would love for you to stop by this weekend and link up to Passion for Paint!

  46. What a fabulous wall! The moulding makes a huge difference. Love that you carried it on to the little wall too! I’m in love with those timer flameless candles you put up! What a great idea.

  47. It looks AMAZING!!! I don’t know if I would have the patience to do that! :) What is the blue color on the outside wall?

    • Thanks Denissa! The color on the other side of staircase is called Connected Gray. It’s actually a green/gray. The office is Mindful Gray, both by SW.

  48. WOW, what a great stairway makeover! I love it! You did such a great job.

  49. It looks gorgeous….. Great Job

  50. what a great job! beautiful end result! love it!

  51. This looks fantastic! I love the design and the color.

  52. Sarah @ Thrifty Decor says:

    Love it Emily! It looks fantastic! Love the sconces with timers too — brilliant!!

  53. Fabulous transformation!!! Love it!!! I also love the timer on the sconces and I will remember the tip about Pier 1 for the flameless candles. Thanks so much for sharing!

  54. Magnificent! Your Dad did a wonderful job for you. Congratulations, it looks wonderful.
    Best regards,

  55. Beautiful!!! What a great Dad…you guys did an awesome job. It makes such a difference. Very nice:)

  56. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! You can’t go wrong with molding and crisp white paint. I’m putting your staircase in the PoPP Spotlight tomorrow! I LOVE your scones too… gorgeous at night.

  57. This looks absolutely FANTABULOUS! I have been adding molding pieces on the wall behind my fireplace and it certainly makes a difference. Now, I am going to add more and you have spurned me on.

  58. That’s great! I would love for you to come link this up at my Strut Your Stuff Party, and enter the giveaway as well!

  59. Wow, what a fun before/after. Enjoy a new dramatic stairway.

  60. Stunning! Makes me SO wish I had a staircase to renovate!

    If I may be so bold, however, I’ve gotta say that the arched-top doorway at the bottom is begging for a makeover too. With all of the gorgeous angular molding and trimwork you’ve done, the roundness of that doorway just doesn’t tie in well at all. I kept thinking how much more stellar that bottom landing area would look if that doorway was squared off and trimmed out similarly.

  61. Emily this looks amazing! Gorgeous job!

    Hsppy Sunday sweet friend.
    ~Melissa :)

  62. Stunning! I love the sconces, that was a really nice touch. I need to do this to my staircase as it looks just like your before picture :0)

  63. This looks WONDERFUL! I have a staircase that needs work too and I will surely be taking inspiration from what you have done here. It’s really so beautiful – great work!

  64. That. Is. Gorgeous. I’ve been trying to get my husband on board to redo our staircase so I’m going to show him this! I’d love to do something similar. Simply beautiful!

  65. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that I accidentally walked into the wrong house. Amazing job!

  66. What a great job! I love the contrast of the dark frames on the lighter wall. Your home looks so warm and comfortable.
    We did something kind of similar in our bathroom. Seen here The blog post is actually about roman shades but the last pictures shows the panelling.

  67. Wow, I came to your blog to look at stencils (via FB) and now here I sit 2 hours later…stunned and wishing I had a fat bank account so I could go out and redecorate my house. Will you be so kind to come over and do it for me…free of charge of course ;) lol. Anyway, you are so creative and amazing. I love your blog and your ideas and your pictures, and your sense of humor and the list goes on and on. I will be back!!

  68. Simply Stunning. This is a incredible transformation and looks like a lot of work! Great job! Thanks so much for linking to the Sunday Showcase – I greatly appreciate it. I have featured this today – stop by and grab a featuerd button if you like. Hope you are enjoying your week ~ Stephanie Lynn

  69. Im so excited to find that you did those shadow boxes down your stairs,!! My awsome husband who worked in construction for 5 years and perfect moldings, trims, ect. Has told me that he cannot do that for me. It is not possible with his saw. That is what he tells me. But thanks to you and your Dad I now can SHOW him that it CAN and Will be done! Thanks so much. Your stairs look awsome I am so jealous!

    • Emily's Dad says:

      We used the Ryobi sliding chop saw and table shown in the prep post for this one ($270 for both, drive-out from Home Depot). It did require turning the trim material 90 degrees to cut the tight angle corners on the boxes as the saw would only rotate a little past 45.

      It really did not take long to cut the 84 pieces we needed. Using gluing jigs for stability is a must, but the most important thing is planning the boxes and getting exact piece counts. It is very easy to get confused. I checked and rechecked before we started cutting and we only had one piece cut wrong.

  70. You’re so handy!
    And thrifty!
    And AWESOME!
    Thank you so much for sharing this post with us…such an inspiring makeover!


  71. I know it’s been over a year, but this is what drew me to your blog! I had no idea how to do my staircase but this it what I was looking for! I have the rail and all. How high above your handrail did you go? I’m already planning everything out! Hubby already has plans for the miter saw =P

  72. Fair play to your dad that is amazing!!! Truly epic job.

  73. I LOVE your taste/style! Would it be possible for you to give me your opinion on my stair way if i sent you a picture? I haven’t a clue.

  74. WOW… Your Dad did a wonderful job of designing this… love, love, love it!
    gee… I don’t have stairs due to health issues… but if I did… I would be copying this! it’s worth all the caulking! =)

  75. I stumbled upon your website a while ago, and LOVED your candle hurricanes, so beautiful! What did you decorate them with, on the inside, besides the flameless candles? I really liked what I saw! Congrats on your beautiful home and blog. I’m already a fan on facebook! :)

  76. Oh, one more question about the candles, what size are they? I’ve seen some on Pier1 and not sure which size you’re using in the wall sconces.. there are quite a few different sizes available. Thanks!!

  77. These steps look ludicrous. At first I thought it was finished panels are glued to the wall, but on the following pictures show the battens are cut and glued in the appropriate manner. I was looking for inspiration to renovate the stairs because my stairs are not interesting.
    I replaced the stair treads for the stairs treads of a beech wood, painted the color of machogany and varnished. The walls are covered with wallpaper. Wallpaper has been damaged by the children, and after a year would need to be replaced. I was looking for inspiration of what could replace it. The solution used by you for me is perfect. The paint you can renew when it is dirty or worn, the decorative shapes created from strips could paste the vinyl on which you can draw with chalk. Daughter rather than paint on walls may draw in designated areas, and in the future be used as a photo frame. Thanks for inspiration.

    You can see my job here on my blog.

  78. トリーバーチショップ

  79. What size picture frames did you use here? This is amazing work!!!

  80. This is glorious! Just glorious! Might I ask how you set the flameless candles on a timer?


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