Updating staircase

Replacing the knobs on your cabinets and installing a new faucet can give your kitchen a surprising face lift, as can upgrading to stainless-steel appliances, but it can be a slippery slope.

“I just replaced a cooktop and one thing led to another,” says Carol Krieger of Carol S. “I ended up doing the countertops, which led to the backsplash, then, well, how about the flooring?

When the stained parts have dried, apply a coat of polyurethane on them. To get proper measurements for the skirt boards, you'll need to clean up the stringers first.

But stairs often dominate the landscape, and updating them can bring a fresh and modern perspective to your home.

Use your imagination, and don't be afraid of color. Since stairs are used so much, the carpet tends to look dingy and worn.

Measure the distance from the floor to the landing and divide by the number of steps. For this particular project, the stringer treads need to be shimmed 1-1/4".

To mark for the skirt boards, hold a level across the new tread shims and use a framing square to mark the width of the skirt board. On the wall side of the stairs, mark a line on the wall parallel with the steps.

Trim up the drywall edges and remove any dried glue.

If the new treads are a different thickness than the ones removed adjust for the difference on the stringer.

who might also be mating, but is definitely suffering in some way. It’s a simple, inexpensive change with a big ol’ honkin’ impact: my favorite kind of update! If you’re trying to save the white wooden balusters to reuse them, go this route: Holding one hand at the top of the baluster and the other hand at the bottom, slooooooowly twist the baluster until it loosens the nail holding it in, then lift it up and out of the railing.

But I’m convinced that there’s a magical phenomenon that happens on road trips – maybe the “acoustics” of the vehicle and the blaring volume of the music – that morphs my voice into something like Adele’s temporarily. You MIGHT be able to save a few of them, but be prepared for many of them to break.

To replace an ordinary, wooden handrail attached to the wall, use an unusual material such as tree branches or rope. If you want to keep your treads in natural hardwood, it is easy to add some color or design by just concentrating on the risers.

Stencil a pattern or floral design to make an impact.

If there are, just tug ’em out with needle-nose pliers.