What Color To Paint Stair Railing? [4 Design Options]

Painting your steps and stair railings is a relatively easy improvement that can completely change the interior of your home. However, considering what color to choose for your stair railings might be challenging. If you don't know what will suit your taste and style, you can leave it to us! We researched some options regarding that matter. 

It will help if you consider options when choosing the right paint color for your stair railings.

  1. For a modern style, you can play with the colors gray, deep navy blue, or almost black-green.
  2. You can incorporate beige, cheery yellow, or black and white for classic styles.
  3. For eclectic ideas, you can play with the colors turquoise, coral, or cornflower blue and yellow. Or opt for sage and lavender or periwinkle and lilac.
  4. Lastly, for a handful of color options, you can incorporate amber, amethyst, deep sapphire, lavender, and gentle lemon yellow.

Aside from choosing the colors for your stair railings, you might also want to know how to paint them. And to do that, we suggest you keep reading to perform it successfully.  

Carpet stair runway with brown stair railings and white painted banister, What Color To Paint Stair Railing? [4 Design Options]

What Color To Paint Stair Railings

Your home steps will soar to renewed heights with painted banisters, elevating this frequently uninteresting and functional location. The handrail, the thicker modern posts, and the thinner spindles make up the railing's three primary components.

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Interior of a rustic designed two story mansion

Keep the look uncomplicated, use two or more tones, or paint these components the same color to increase your decorating possibilities. Choose water-based enamel paints with a glossy finish to extend the life of your railings. The gloss makes washing easy without muting the color, and the enamel ideally suits frequent touching.

Below are the options you can choose from in painting your stair railings:

1. Modern Ideas: Gray, Navy Blue, or Black-green

White painted stair banister with gray handrail

To build a railing that blends in with the rest of your decor while still looking classy and well-put-together, you don't have to keep to black and white.

The stairs are airy and offer a beautiful change from black and white thanks to the use of gray and white. Combine the two using white on the spindles and newel posts and gray on the railing for a spa-like appearance.

Change the gray paint with a deep navy blue or almost black green. We can still consider these colors neutral, but they add more texture than other colors without looking overly bright.

2. Classic Choices: Black, White, and Yellow

Brown painting stair banisters and railings

Since they are true neutrals, black and white blend with any hue on the stairway wall, perfectly complementing beige or contrasting with a cheery yellow sunflower. A seamless transition up and down the stairs is achieved by using just white or black railings, newel posts, and spindles.

Allow a visual break by balancing a sharp black railing with white spindles and newel posts, or paint newel posts entirely black and leave the spindles white.

Despite the neutrality of both hues, you will see both in various tones. A near-black espresso provides a hint of warmth and depth along a stairway decorated with blues or greens, while a sharp black is crisp and grounds a bold wall.

Additionally, the most pleasing color for banisters is cool white. Avoid any white with a visible yellow tint because it might give off an unfavorable dirty impression.

3. Eclectic Combinations: Multicolor

Multi-colored stair banisters and white railing

Exciting yet clever color options give the stairs personality if your personal preferences go toward bright color selections. Pick a card from a deck of paint that has several similar-colored hues. It would be best to use the darkest shade to paint the railing. Then you should apply the following, one color per spindle.

For a waterfall effect, begin at the top spindle and move the spindles down from the second darkest to the lightest. Alternatively, move the spindles backward, from light to dark, to attract the eye upwards.

To transform the stairway into a sign, choose two shades: one for posts and railings and the other for the spindles. Choose periwinkle, lilac, sage, and lavender for a gentler yet more adventurous style. Different complementary color combinations are coral, turquoise, yellow, and cornflower blue for an optimistic and cheery outcome.

4. A Smattering of Color: Jewel Tones or Pastels

Red painting stairs and stair railing inside a white mansion

Begin with a neutral spindle tone if you want to add color to the railing without running overboard. While leveling your selection of eye-catching paint, black, white, and gray provide comfort to the eye.

Finally, add energy and excitement to the steps by painting the handrail a stunning color. Jewel tones that are darker provide style without bombarding the eye. Amber, amethyst, and deep sapphire provide elegance and interest without overpowering the surroundings.

Moreover, make a statement with a mid-tone red or keep things subtle with various pastels. Unexpected colors like periwinkle, lavender, and gentle lemon yellow look delicate when coupled with white spindles.

Go bold with a red mid-tone, or keep things soft with a range of pastels. Periwinkle, lavender, and soft yellow lemon are unpredictable colors, yet they look delicate when paired with white spindles.

What To Use For Stair Railings That Will Last

High traffic places in a house include stairwell railings. They may receive touches, leans, and more. Since this endeavor is a bit different from painting other areas in the house, we are providing supply suggestions to make it simpler and last longer.

Recommended Supplies:

  • 120 or 220 grit Orbital palm sander
  • Degreaser or Trisodium Phosphate
  • Sanding blocks
  • Stainblocking Primer
  • Fine paintbrushes 
  • Lint-free, clean, dry cloths
  • Wood fillers for old hardware or defects
  • Benjamin Moore Advance 

    How To Paint Stair Railings And Spindles

    1. Clean and Prepare

    Painting doesn't mean you have to paint directly. Of course, you will have to prepare the area to achieve great results. We highly suggest using a degreaser to clean the railings. However, other easily accessible cleaners do just as well. Use a microfiber or tack cloth to get rid of any debris, dust, dirt, or grime.

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    2. Maximum Bond

    One of your home's most heavily used surfaces is certainly the handrails. So, they must be as strong as possible. To establish a proper bond, we advise sanding the rails and balusters. The most challenging aspect of the job is undoubtedly hand-sanding everything, but you only need to rough up the surface.


    • You don't need to remove all the old stains and varnish thoroughly. Just take off the glossy coating.
    • Utilize 80 or 120 grit sanding sponges or sandpaper.
    • You can utilize an orbital sander to sand flat surfaces quickly and easily.
    • It would be best to sand in the direction of the grain.
    • Give the handrail a bit more sanding where most people hold it.

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    3. Apply High Bond Primer If Necessary 

    To get a beautiful edge, first tape off the spindles. After allowing the black paint to dry for a few days, tape off the stair rails and paint the spindles.

    Check out these paintbrushes on Amazon.

    Chalk paint and fusion mineral are two paints you may use without priming. But in some circumstances, you would still need to utilize a top-notch stain-blocking primer for areas such as:

    1. Painting a bright or white hue over dark exteriors like deep blue or black.
    2. Undesirable stains, such as markers or deeply ingrained oil.
    3. Knotty pine or stair railings that have knots in the wood, although this is unusual.

    Only one coat of primer is required for good coverage and sealing when utilizing other paints. We suggest using the Kilz series primer.

    Check out this Kilz premium primer on Amazon.

    4. Types Of Paint

    Given how frequently people use railings, we highly advise using a durable enamel-type paint with a satin or semi-gloss finish. Paints that are matte or flat tend to smudge more frequently and can be more challenging to scour.

    Benjamin Moore Advance is what we suggest for handrails. There are some alternative paints that you can use, but these can be more costly: Benjamin Moore Grand Entrance and Sherwin Williams Emerald Line.

    The benefits of these paints:

    • The most durable finish
    • Unless you have knotty wood or stains, primer is not necessary
    • It doesn't require a topcoat to be durable
    • Self-leveling paint that is smooth
    • Simple to clean and wipe down if you will put in a satin or semi-gloss finish

    5. Curing Time

    Benjamin Moore dries very quickly. The Benjamin Moore paint can take a few days to cure in low humidity. Don't rely on those outcomes, though. It would be best to refrain from touching the railings until you are confident they could handle it. The actual cure time may take a month or longer if you reside in an area with significant humidity.

    Wrap It All Up

    Carpet stair runway with brown stair railings and white painted banister

    You can choose between modernized, classy, eclectic, and more options depending on your style and taste or the mood you want for your home. And now that you know those options, it is time for you to paint your stair railings beautifully.

    We hope you find this post helpful. If you want to read more, you can check the articles below, or you might want to visit our website to choose from numerous posts that might interest you. For additional questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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