Faux Tiled Stair Riser Project

Not every redo has to be a giant, expensive renovation. Sometimes, a few small tweaks is all you need to totally transform the look of a space. That’s especially true in high-traffic areas that might not otherwise get a lot of attention or love, such as stairways. For Kari Miller, her stairway was the very last project of her home’s first floor remodel. Although she and her husband had ripped out the stairway’s offensive carpeting back in 2015, they hadn’t done much else to change the stairs.

“Our home was very similar to most houses built in the early ’80s with a boxy floor plan and lots of rooms that were less than functional,” Kari says. “Last year as our youngest child entered her senior year in high school, we embarked on a full remodel with the removal of walls, enlarging kitchen with new cabinetry, and all new flooring.”

But they realized at the end of their big remodeling project that there was still something missing. “After the remodel we were thrilled with the finished rooms and kitchen, but as the ‘dust’ settled, we realized our staircase again needed some freshening up. This time we wanted to put more thought and design into the project, which can be tough task given our budget,” Kari says.

First step: re-painting the green walls to help brighten up the space, which is the first area you see when you open the front door. Kari chose a soft gray with warm undertones (Sherwin-Williams’ Alpaca). Kari also wanted to give the stairs a bit of extra pop. “As I took on the project, I really wanted something stylish and unique that would convey the vibe of the remodel yet not be overwhelming,” Kari says. So she turned to her Cricut machine, which she already owned, and scoped out online patterns she could cut out to use on her risers. “The pattern options in Cricut’s library were endless,” Kari says. “At first I was overwhelmed and I struggled to find something I could commit to long-term.”

To create a high-impact look she could easily change out, Kari chose to use removable vinyl for the project. That way, she could print faux tiles on the vinyl, apply it to the stair risers, and peel it off when she felt tired of the pattern. Kari chose a tile pattern from Cricut’s library of patterns (#M2358107), then re-sized it to fit her stairs. Kari printed the black tile shapes using Cricut’s permanent vinyl; then, she pasted them onto white vinyl backgrounds that would be easily removable from her stair risers.

While “weeding”—or cleaning up—her black tile patterns, Kari accidentally removed too many of the black pieces, creating a too-white tile. Fortunately, she realized she actually liked the look—so she kept going and alternated her original mostly black tile with a new mostly white one. The variation makes the stairs feel even more original and stylish.

Once the vinyl pieces were assembled and installed—both thanks to help from Kari’s son Blake—Kari cleaned up any rough edges using a craft knife. “Now that the project is done, it feels cohesive with the rest of the house,” Kari says. “When we began our remodel, we didn’t have a plan for the stairwell other than to just clean it up. It had no life or character to it. Now it garners the attention as you walk in the front door. I am pretty proud when visitors ask, who did your stairs?

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