10 Ways to Freshen Up Outdated Banisters

Updated: Mar. 22, 2024

There comes a time when your staircase banisters need a makeover. Maybe it's when you're looking through your teenager's prom photos and are distracted by the unattractive 90s railing, or maybe it's when you notice the paint chipping from where your now 8-year-old dog once chewed the banisters as a puppy. In any case, there's always a DIY solution to your banister woes and perhaps you just need one of these ideas to freshen things up.

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Swap Your Wood Spindles for Iron Ones

Iron spindles (or balusters) are a great way to add some luxury to your otherwise basic staircase. There are many styles available. A quick search of “metal stair spindles” on amazon.com gives you a lot of options.

Embellish your stair risers at the same time for an extra upgrade.

Annoyed by some squeaky stairs? No more! Here’s how to quiet them.

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The Ol’ Reliable: Paint

Does your honey oak staircase stand out like a sore thumb in your otherwise updated home? If so, then you can likely just repaint your banister to get a staircase as chic as the rest of the house. Get creative with your paint colors or keep it neutral (farmhouse white is a top choice right now… although some may disagree.)

Learn how to paint woodwork here.

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Make Your Own Banister

If you have carpentry and woodworking skills, use them on your staircase! The easiest way build your own banister is to build one around what you currently have. Get inspired by looking at different banisters online, being honest about what you can do at your skill level, and then have at it. While you’re at it, try one of these 15 awesome woodworking projects.

Be sure to follow these woodworking tips if you’re a beginner!

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Keep it Simple

The old adage “less is more” may be one to live by in your staircase makeover. Instead of repainting or rebuilding unique railings and balusters, opt for unembellished ones. Installing posts horizontally with wide boards or metal pipe adds character while maintaining a clean and classic look. Renewing your banisters in this fashion would be great for freshening up your home or giving your century-old home some contemporary simplicity. We think these 13 old adages still hold up for DIYers – do you?

Does your old house have one of these cool but no-longer-useful features?

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Lois Gobe/Shutterstock

Get Colorful

Wake up your banister with a colorful collection of spindles. This is such a simple project you can change the colors on a whim.

Another way to add color? Paint your ceiling something other than white!

Then, wow your neighbors with a new front door color.

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Replace that Handrail

If your staircase hasn’t been updated in a couple decades, then chances are high that it’s old, dirty and maybe even not up to code. Luckily it’s very easy to remove a handrail and replace with it with a more attractive and safe one!

Need to make your home safe for older family members? Here’s what you need to know.

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Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock

Add Depth and Luxury with Two Tones

A dual-tone staircase truly pops. Here, the homeowners updated all-over honey oak with ebony stain on the floors and handrail and crisp white paint on the spindles and risers. This look will likely remain on-trend for quite some time. Make your house look more luxurious with these inexpensive decor ideas.

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Brackets to Beautify

Sometimes all your staircase needs is a splash of ornate design. By adding brackets underneath the lip of the stairs, you can easily add luxury to your staircase. These would pair especially well with newly installed iron spindles, as pictured. Another way to embellish your home is with metallic paint. Here’s some inspiration!

Buy it now on Amazon.

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Go Horizontal

Balusters don’t have to be vertical even though that might be what you’re used to seeing! Replacing your vertical spindles with something horizontal is great for a more modern aesthetic. However, if you have children who are climbers, think about keeping your vertical spindles because the alternate may be too easy to scale.

Give your house that modern feel with one of these 15 ideas.

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Glass it Up

If you want more light throughout your home, then consider eliminating your wood balusters for glass panels. Glass panels on a staircase make your living space look larger, cleaner and more chic. Although, you should be prepared for extra cleaning if you have young children or an especially slobbery pup. Glass panels won’t be too difficult to clean if you follow these glass and window cleaning tips!

Up your decor game with these 14 modern elements.