We have these floating stairs that lead from the main level to the second floor. It was one of the features that attracted us to the house. When we removed the carpeting upstairs and down and put in bamboo it was painfully clear the carpeted stairs had to go. Carpeting on stairs feels wrong to me, which is silly because it's very common. But I grew up in a house with wood stairs so maybe there's something familiar about that.
Anyhow, we kicked around ideas for how to approach these stairs: paint them white, wrap them in the same bamboo as the floors, wrap them in another type of wood. We were all over the place. I Googled and Googled and Googled some more and there was nothing out there for how to update floating stairs like ours. Lots of beautiful examples of floating stairs, but none we could use.
Finally we just decided to pull off the carpet and see what we found.
Turned out the wood was totally something we could work with! The grain of the wood and the integrity of the facades were undamaged although they were covered in drips of paint and stain and other construction-type products. We had to work pretty hard to clean the paint and drips of glue and stain off the stairs (you can still see the paint smeared all over the riser). Each stair required quite a bit of TLC but eventually we cleaned off the treads and they looked pretty good. We went to the store and picked up a stain that matched the wood on the railings. It's called Early American. One coat of stain and two coats of polyurethane and voila! the treads were looking great the riser needed major priming and painting but that was no biggie. We just used the same glossy white that we have on all the trim.
Finally it was time to tear up the carpet on the landings and put down the bamboo to carry the bamboo visually between the two spaces and complete the look.
This project required quite a bit of sweat equity but didn't cost much money at all.
I would like to dedicate this post to the person who invented baby gates because it kept the kids at bay while we were working and surfaces were drying.