There are a million and one ways to add a touch of uniqueness to a space but customising your stairs is one of the more unusual.

It’s also one of the most effective.

In particular, we’re talking about decorating your stair risers, the verticals that face you as you look at your stairs.

They perform an essential function but are so often simply carpeted or left as bare wood.

They are capable of so much more than that!

If you want to give your home a little decorative lift without spending too much time or money, decorative stair risers could be just the thing!

Ways you can decorate your stair risers

First, let’s start with a little inspiration. How can you add some flair to your stair?

You could use paint, ceramic tiles, decorative metals like copper or brass, wallpaper, vinyl or even offcuts of wood.


There are some very smart painted risers around. Some use a gradient effect, starting dark and gradually getting lighter as you climb.

Others use contrast or complementing colours to create a statement. Some also use blackboard paint to add a touch of fun to the stairs.

Ceramic tiles

Putting ceramic tiles on a riser is another great way to make a statement. As long as the tiles are thin enough to not extend past the steps, it’s a fantastic way to decorate.

Tiles can work very well in older properties. Use tiles that reflect the age or style of the home to add charm.

Or go modern with geometrics, colours or patterns to add a real design statement.

Decorative metals

Decorative metals are another simple but very effective way to upgrade your risers.

Aged copper or brass can be made to the exact colour or patina you like and be fixed into place using adhesive. They can be cut exactly to size so they slot into place with minimal effort.

Decorative metals are a great way to add depth and colour to an otherwise forgotten space.


Wallpaper is another option for decorating stair risers. Find a bold design, use wallpaper paste to stick it into place and cover with a layer of varnish to retain the look.

Again, you could go subtle with colour or pattern or be bolder with something a lot more outspoken.

Wallpaper is cheap, plentiful and you may be able to do your whole staircase with a single roll.


Vinyl can also offer potential for decorating risers. It offers the same advantages as wallpaper, with a variety of colours and patterns.

It’s also easy to stick in place, can be cut to shape and size and one roll could decorate an entire staircase.

Wood offcuts

Thin wood offcuts are another option. Use different colours or shades to the existing finish to add more texture and character.

Again, as long as they are thin enough to not protrude in front of the tread, they are a cheap and accessible way to decorate your risers.

How to fit decorative stair risers

That’s the what and why, now let’s cover the how.

What follows is a basic overview of how to fit decorative stair risers. While different materials may have slightly different methods, the overall process will be largely the same.

Remove old floor covering

Your first step is preparation. Remove the old carpet, paint or floor covering until you have a smooth, clean surface.

Remove adhesive, nails, staples and any mouldings you may have on your stairs until it’s as flat and as smooth as possible.

Measure the riser

If you’re ordering something bespoke in decorative metal from Halman Thompson, measure the riser as accurately as you can.

Measure twice, cut once and your metal should slot seamlessly into place with very little effort.

The more time you put into this part, the less time you’ll need to spend on fitting.

Measure the overhang of the tread (tread nosing) so you can ensure whatever material you use doesn’t protrude.

Use this measurement when considering what to decorate the riser with.

Alternatively, measure the tread nosing and mark it on the tread so you can cut it so it’s flush with the riser.

This will provide a flat surface so your decoration can cover the whole height of the riser. You will need to add new treads if you do this though so it’s up to you.

Cut the nosing using a circular or skill saw.

We recommend the second option as it provides much more freedom to attach any type of decorative riser.

It’s a little more work but well worth the effort!

Apply the decoration

This process will differ depending on what you’re using to decorate your stair riser.

If you’re painting the riser, you’re ready to paint. Apply a number of coats to each riser until you have the finish you’re looking for.

If you’re using wallpaper or vinyl, cut each piece to size so any pattern is front and centre. Apply to the riser using wallpaper paste or suitable adhesive.

If you’re using wood offcuts or tiles, cut tiles to size for each riser and use tile adhesive to secure them.

If you’re using decorative metals, add adhesive to the back of the metal with good coverage and apply it to each individual tread.

Finish the risers

If your decoration needs finishing, now is the time to do it. Paint, secure or varnish your decoration to fully secure and protect it.

We recommend varnishing wallpaper and wood offcuts. Vinyl should be fine as it is.

Most decorative metal from Halman Thompson will be fully protected with tough lacquer so can fit into place and will require no extra finishing.

Grout between any tiles until you have the finish you’re looking for.

Fit new treads

If you trimmed the tread nosing and have finished applying your decorative risers, now it’s time to fit new treads.

Fit new treads on top of the old ones using suitable adhesive and secure into place with nails.

Apply varnish, paint, carpet or your chosen tread finish until you’re happy.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Halman Thompson (@halman_thompson)


Decorative metal stair risers from Halman Thompson

If you decide to use metal stair risers, Halman Thompson will cut them to size and prepare them so they are ready to fit.

All you’ll need to do is prepare the surface and fix them into place with a suitable adhesive.

All metal stair risers will be handmade to your exact specifications and can be secured into place in seconds.

Contact Halman Thompson to request a free bespoke quote.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email