Updating our Basement Stairs

If you just look at this photo, this staircase doesn’t seem all that impressive but may I divert your attention to the before photo below and you’ll soon realize that this is actually the most drastic change in our home. The basement and these stairs are where we’ve put in the most amount of work in for the house so far because it was a hot mess.

We added a mudroom in the basement because of the placement of the garage, and a laundry room as well. Needless to say, we use these stairs a lot! We go up and down multiple times a day, so I wanted them to feel more like a part of our home and less like basement stairs.

The first thing we did was carpet the stairs. It’s a very steep and narrow staircase and until we put in the carpet, I was really nervous about going up and down them with Amalia. We needed a really durable rug that would stand up to lots of wear and also not show the dirt that Boots often tracks inside. We went with a dark gray herringbone pattern (to tie into the herringbone rug on our main stairs) in an indoor/outdoor fabric. It’s not the cutest rug but it is perfect for what we need.

For local readers, I have to shout out Redi-Cut Carpets who did the installation. We hired them for both staircases and I can’t say enough great things about them!

I wanted to make it feel a little cozier so I created a gallery wall of family photos with these $15 gold frames from Target and 5×7 photos that I had printed in black and white from Mpix. One of our decorating goals in this house has been to display more of our family memories, but in a way that doesn’t feel cheesy. And I think these sleek frames all in a row do just that.

Don’t ask me how we got them to be even because they’re definitely not perfect! I hung the top one then measured 7.5 inches to the right of the bottom corner (2 inches for in-between frames and 5.5 which is half the width of each frame) and then put in another nail.

For finishing touches, I swapped out the scone for a simple globe from West Elm, and we painted the banister in Benjamin Moore Midnight, a beautiful shade of charcoal that mimics the darkness in the black and white images above it. I still need to swap out the hardware holding it up for brass and then it will be perfect.

It’s now a pleasant experience to go up and down these stairs. Amalia likes to talk about each photo as we pass it.

Product Details

Target picture frames (in 5×7)
Prestige Mills rug (in pewter)
West Elm sconce
Rejuvenation brass switchplate
Benjamin Moore Midnight paint for the banister
Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White paint for the walls

Photos by Julia Dags.

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  1. Dana said:

    Great job, the space looks so much better!

    1.31.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks! xo

      2.1.20 · Reply
  2. Laurie said:

    WOW! Looks amazing thanks for sharing the details! Love it!!!

    1.31.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks, Laurie!

      2.1.20 · Reply
  3. Angie said:

    Looks beautiful! We have a ranch home with a finished downstairs (I don’t like calling it a basement LOL) and hate our stairway, it doesn’t make the two space feel connected. I love what you did and definitely feel inspired!

    2.1.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      That was the exact layout of our old house and it always felt so disjointed. I think something like this would definitely help!

      2.1.20 · Reply
  4. Mary said:

    The transformation is unbelievable! Amazing job! Putting the walls was super in terns of safety.I can’t wait to see the transformation of your basement into mud room and laundry room.

    2.14.20 · Reply
  5. Talia said:

    I got the same frames from Target. Planning to tackle our bare-walled staircase while we’re home now! Thank you for your tasteful + practical inspo!

    5.12.20 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Oh good!! DM me a pic when you’re done!

      5.13.20 · Reply