DIY diva

Dueling DIY: Spindles and Theivery

February 19, 2013 | 19 Comments | Dueling DIY
DIY diva

I’m going to rank looking at a before-and-after image of stair spindles going from dirty-white to not-dirty-white as, uh, one of the top five least exciting things to look at on the internet ever. And since most of my spare time in the last few days has been dedicated to getting donkey hugs, I’m going to dedicate today’s Dueling DIY post to something else entirely. Thievery.

That’s right. I thinking about stealing Sarah’s idea and putting a runner on these stairs…


Not that Sarah has the market cornered on runnering stairs (runnering, really? I’m a grammatical genius after midnight) but when we started this challenge, I was definitely sanding and staining, and Sarah was definitely painting and putting a runner in.

And now I’m like… that is probably going look awesome, so I’m going to copy you.

Blatant. Thievery.

So, let’s take a look at something fun, like a couple of runner ideas that might be worth stealing.

Natural fiber…



Source: via Kit on Pinterest

A little pattern…

Source: via Kit on Pinterest

And this bit of awesomeness….

Source: via Kit on Pinterest

I do not love the decorative thing at the bottom, but the fabric and nails is definitely something worth considering.

Here’s the internal debate I’m having about this…


  • Could look awesome
  • Would definitely make it less likely that I slip, fall, and break my leg in three places while running up and down the stairs in my socks


  • I’m seriously going to sand, stain, and paint all of the stairs and then conver 80% of them with carpet
  • After weeks of pulling staples and filling nail holes, the irony of putting more nail holes in the stairs is almost too much to bear
  • I would probably have to vacuum it
  • It would mean putting a runner in the upstairs hallway (more nails in the floor, more vacuuming)

So I’m only about 30% sold on the runner idea, but as I spend a hundred more hours of my life painting spindles… I’m definitely considering it.

Don’t forget to check out what’s new over at the Ugly Duckling House, and these Dueling DIY challengers:

Micha @ Little Old House
Christine @ Little House on the Corner
Ann @ Our Handmade Home
Nicki @ Perfect Prospect
Sandra @ The House of Bing

DIY diva


  • Guerrina

    All for runnering having bumped my way down wooden stairs. The bruise was so bad I couldn’t sit down and had to call out of work. Gotta love wet dogs who escape the bathtub! Albert & Dash has some great runners, too. Love the geometric pic you posted!

  • hjc

    I am glad you didn’t like the decorative bit at the bottom of the last runner – it reminds me of a flying monkey skirt.

  • Lori

    I like the runner idea too to protect both you and the floor because you do not want to repaint the darn thing at any time in the future. And, I am fairly certain you have better things to do than nurse a broken leg, arm, butt, or neck.

    Also, if you do a runner, then you can do some really cool hardware like this:–LLC–traditional-staircase-los-angeles

    Not the runner…it is ugly.

  • anne

    What’s the hurry. They look great and you could always add a runner easily down the road. But imagine the work if you don’t like the runner. Not to mention the vacuum. On dirty boot with donkey dirt and you will be on your knees scrubbing like Cinderella.

  • E

    Few things in life are as dreadful as vacuuming stairs. What about individual treads on the stairs?

  • m @ random musings

    what about using a poly that is rated anti-slip ( ? Obviously, it won’t give you that runner look, but if the primary pro is safety, it might be a decent compromise.

  • Nikki Kelly

    You could use those metal bar things that hold your runner in place. There’s only 4 holes for each one and they go in the back of each tread. At least that would be less holes.

    • David

      I agree…looks old school, fewer holes.

  • Jess

    I’m a big fan of runners on stairs, but I totally understand not wanting to cover up all your hard word or, god forbid, pick something you don’t like.

    Re: the vacuuming issue…stairs WITHOUT runners get just as dirty and fluff-covered as stairs WITH runners. Sometimes runner-less stairs look even worse, as the shine from the paint or varnish magnifies the appearance of the dust/scratches etc. A sisal runner or something patterned won’t show marks as badly (particularly if you compare them to the stain-magnet plush-weave builder basic beige carpets that cover many stairs). There might also be a safety argument…stairs with runners are less likely to slips and falls!

    Of course, the massive scale of your entry changes everything! Do you think you’ll eventually put a big area rug in there? If you are, it would probably make more sense to leave the stairs bare until you found a carpet, rather than put a runner in now that might end up limiting or fighting with your rug style choices.

  • Chaucea

    Nope nope, no runner!

    Not much fun having to scrub mud smears (and cat barf, cuz you know that’s *exactly* where the cat *will* end up barfing) and vacuum out bits of entangled straw from a runner on stairs.

    Much easier to wipe down a stained-and-sealed wood step than have to hassle with cleaning and maintaining carpeting/sisal/fiber, etc.

    At the very least, live with a completely finished staircase for awhile before deciding on covering up all your hard work with a soon-to-be-cat-barfed-on runner. 😉

  • PJ

    As someone who has totally eaten it and fallen ass over teakettle on carpeted stairs I’ll just say that it doesn’t matter what you have on them, if you run around in socks you’ll fall. I say nay to runners, etc.

    Also, I love that you’ve gotten donkeys, my dream is to have a house with enough lands so I can have goats. Love them!

  • Susan

    I’m a lurker…came across your blog and then went back to the very beginning and read through all your posts in just a few days. LOVE your sense of humor, by the way…
    Now that I’m finally caught up, I feel at “liberty” to post….NO runner…at least not yet. Based on your posts, I think you might be like me-I have to inhabit a space for a while before I start figuring out what I like. That being said, when you live in a place that is constantly being updated, upgraded or simply fixed, you aren’t really living in the space yet (until said work is done). I say wait. You can always add a runner later, however, you should live with your newly refinished staircase for a while before you know what will work best for you! Love to read and see your posts, you have fabulous taste!

  • Dave

    For safety’s sake you need something on those stairs, be it a runner or something else. Bare wooden stairs are extremely slick when you’re in socks. A moment’s distraction or carelessness can result in a lifetime of pain.

  • Tina_R

    Carpet(especially sisal) = cat scratching pad.

    Think about it. Also as someone previously mentioned. Purrfect place for furballs to “land”. Do you really want to be kneeling on a stair while you scrub the carpet?

  • Dar

    Get some of those sock-like (tube-ish) things they give you at the hospital (check the local pharmacy) when you have surgery…socks plus skid proof treads built in..nix the runner.

    However, for a colorful future feature check some awesomeness of decorating the risers on Pinterest…some amazing imaginations at work!

    Donkeys look happy!

  • yobo

    i’m not sure if this would wreck the stain on the stairs, but there is a clear spray that you can get from rustoleum that adds a texture to something, so that it’s anti-slip.

    perhaps that’s a possibility?

  • Laura @ Clydesdale Ranch

    No runner! No runner! You going to have that staircase looking beautiful; don’t cover it. Find something to make a rougher texture on the treads, perhaps? I had laminate on my stairs, that stuff is slippery, but I never fell down the stairs. Don’t run with scissors and don’t race down the stairs in socks. If you are in a hurry, slide down the bannister. :)

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