painting the stairway wall

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Decorating, My House31 Comments

A couple of weeks ago, I finally started painting the wall and trim in the back stairway.  It had been bugging me for a while, but the idea of painting those spindles and taping off the carpet seemed like an annoying, tedious project and I kept putting it off.  I knew that once I pinned myself down to start working on it, it wouldn’t be as bad as I had built it up to be in my head and that was exactly the case.  Why was I so whiney about taping off carpet when it took about 3 minutes?!

I find myself doing that often…talking myself out of starting on a project, because I’m fairly certain it might be torture (or require a small amount of patience.)  There have only been a couple of times in my full DIY career that have turned out to actually be miserable, so I should know by now that I should just dive right in and get it done.

As I’ve been doing with most large and mid-sized projects lately, I split this one into a couple of bite-sized projects.  I painted the trim and did the cutting-in on the wall one day…

…and then I rolled the wall on another day.  It was a couple of weeks later, but that’s okay. It’s done now and it looks so much better!  No more peachy off-white.

You may be wondering why the wall isn’t painted in the same color as the kitchen/eating area.  Well, that’s because this is one of those tricky walls that belongs to three different spaces – the eating area, the foyer, and the upstairs hall.  I decided that the foyer and upstairs hall would be painted in Stonington Gray mixed at 50%, so that meant this wall would have to be painted in that color.  I like how the soft color breaks up the off white (which is Pearly White by Sherwin Williams.)

Now, that leaves the butler’s pantry looking a little awkward, but we’ll work on that this summer.  It’s going to require some building, so we need to get our garage cleaned, organized, and set up as a wood shop before we can do that.  I’m excited to get that area done, though.  It’s not bad, but it’s starting to stick out around everything else that has been customized.


Painting the stairway hall in Stonington Gray (50% strength) did cause a bit of a conflict with the adjoining living room.  I painted that room in Wickham Gray when we first moved here and that was basically a stand-alone decorating decision.  I knew when I made it, that it might be changed down the road as more decisions were made.  While Wickham Gray (on the right in the picture below) and Stonington are very close, Wickham was looking very green/aqua in comparison and I didn’t feel like they were playing nicely together.  It felt a little disjointed to me.  It was subtle, but enough that I wanted to change it and get it right.

I needed to paint most of the trim in that room, anyway, so while I was moving furniture away from the wall, I decided to paint the living room in Stonington Gray (full strength).  It’s the sort of change that no one will really notice, but it brings more cohesion to the first floor, especially since the foyer flows into the living room from the front hall and the back stairs.  I am sort of doubling-down on Stonington Gray, since it’s in the master bedroom and now the living room and a 50% mix is in the home office and will also be in the foyer and upstairs hall, but the color seems to suit this house and works with a lot of our furnishings, fabrics, etc.

I painted three of the walls and the trim in the living room over the weekend and I’ll work on the window wall and trim next week.

Oh, and we’ll be talking about those carpeted stairs, too…

painting the stairway wall

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31 Comments on “painting the stairway wall”

  1. I love that ancestor wall! It’s motivating me to do one. Have you thought about painting that stair handrail black?

    1. I’m thinking since the handrail will be handled a lot, it’s not a good idea to paint it white. In my house, I’d have to repaint it every year! I would have left the newel post unpainted as well.

      1. I had mine painted white and after 4 years it’s held up well. The alternative was orange oak and that was not going to work !

      2. The newel post was already painted cream, so that’s why I painted it. I’m leaving the handrail for now, since it matches the floor, but you know me! It might get painted down the road.

  2. The antique Red Chair looks great!! Glad to see you didn’t reupholster it. It gives a nice contrast and pop of color to the room.

  3. HI Marian! What a beautiful difference it made! That color looks beautiful with your trim color and warmth of the frames. Your home is looking beautiful and love seeing all your changes and hearing your ‘reasoning’ for the changes….this faithful fan loves watching and learning! By the way…..week 2 of the salad in a jar….and lovin’ it. Where as you turned 40 this year….I hit 50. I’m not afraid of the #…just need to make healthier decisions and this is a first step…thank your for inspiring! Hugs

  4. Looks great! I’m like you, keep putting off anything that doesn’t provide immediate (this instant!) gratification. But it was great that you broke it into segments and got it done. It’ll be fun to see how the pantry looks when completed. And the rug, can’t wait to see what you do there!

    1. I am actually going to build out the pantry, so it fills the entire recess. It’ll all be its own color (MMS Milk Paint Boxwood most likely.)

  5. My daughter and I love Stonington Gray. It works so well! Perfect mix of not too blue or too green but looks great with both those colors. Love your ideas about organizing and breaking up projects.

  6. Hi! I wondered if you’d ever had an issue with cutting in and then not rolling until a few weeks later? They always say to keep a wet edge and I was curious if you’ve ever experienced any trouble with it blending later. Thanks!

    1. Yes, that’s how I was taught to paint as well and I think it’s more important when you’re working with satin paints and glossier. With Aura (in matte) specifically, I was told by a Benjamin Moore expert years ago, when I first started using it, that I should cut in, allow it to dry, and then roll. So, it works with this paint specifically.

  7. Following thru on even the most tedious vision amendments to an interior plan pays off! Changing paint colors is one of the easiest and most effective! Bravo!
    In a big project there are always going to be some do overs! I started wandering around the gray scene summer 2017 and sampled some of the grays you used. Last day before paint went down, went to Sherwin Williams Silverpointe. It has worked the other grays had too much gold in the tent base.

  8. I so have been enjoying your blog and instastories! Thanks for sharing your journey in your new home! I am getting lots of inspiration!

  9. I’d love to hear how you painted the living room alone with furniture in it! What did you use for a drop cloth and what did you do with it at the end of your work time each day?

    1. I paint one wall at a time and, while the first wall is drying, I prep the second wall, then put everything back on the first wall, paint the second wall, etc. Just hopscotching around the room. I was able to just scoot the furniture, rocking the big pieces out from the wall just enough to paint. When I’m done, I wrap everything in Press’n’Seal wrap until I’m ready to use it next time. 🙂

  10. I’ve never been a fan of all those pictures on the stair wall…. but you’ve done a great job and it looks so cohesive and tasteful!! Beautiful job!!

    1. Thank you! I love showcasing old family photos. I do need to get some sticky tack for the bottom corners, though, so they stay straight!

  11. I’m always shocked at how much you can get done. I think I’m a high energy girl, but you are amazing. I’m holding my breath for the pantry to be painted boxwood. Oh, my gosh, it’s going to take my breath away.

  12. Your style is so friendly and easy on the eye. It’s a place you want to be, like a comfortable pair of jeans. You have lots of decor, but it doesn’t seem cluttered. It’s light and open, but not empty. It’s elegant, but not fussy. It’s traditional, but not formal. It’s just right. How do you do it? What is the one piece of advice you can give to duplicate that same feeling?

    1. Oooo, thank you! And, good question. I just like what I like and I don’t overthink it and I try to not be swayed by trends. Editing is key, too. 🙂

  13. This was so encouraging to me that you sometimes make an “oops” or change your mind about paint colors, too ~ and then make the decision to change or repaint even though it can be tedious. I’ve done the same thing and can get anxious about choosing paint anymore as a result, but I’ve learned SO much about taking the time beforehand to make sure colors play together well. Thank you for your authenticity ~ and you’re TENACITY to repaint your entire living room! You’re amazing 🙂

  14. Hi Marian,

    could you teach us how you paint a wall that already has frames on it?
    No issues with nails, 3M hooks (or what they are called) etc?
    My difficulty in hanging pictures is that I feel that it would be a mess to repaint the walls with all those hanging nails etc. Do you just roll over them with your colour?


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