What color to paint an oak staircase?

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Wood is a great addition to any home. But there could be a challenge with the lackluster look of an oak staircase. Painting the staircase is one sure way to spice it up and make it shine.

This will enormously increase the attractiveness of your home. But here is the real question, what color is best to paint an oak staircase?

An oak staircase is best and most commonly painted white. Other excellent options are neutral colors. Other bright colors can also be used if they fit the other designs in the house well. The key is to fit the overall color scheme.

The right paint for the oak staircase will complement other designs and colors of the house. Getting it right is necessary because the wrong color can put a dent in all the efforts.

There is more to know, not just about the best color to use. But also the other things to do to have the oak staircase looking cool.

Can I paint the stair treads?


There are several parts of a staircase that can be painted. The stair treads and the risers are parts of the staircase that can be painted.

A flooring-grade paint is best used to paint the stair treads since they will be subjected to more abrasions.

It is also needed to add anti-slip additives to the paint for the steps. If it is too smooth, it poses a hazard to fall and trip. But you can choose to paint the risers alone and not the treads with it.

The golden color of the oak may go well with the paint color used for the riser.

What color can I paint my oak staircase?

The first place to begin in selecting the best color for your oak staircase is to look at what you have already. There is always a profound effect the colors have on the interior look.

The best and safest colors to consider are neutral colors.

Since neutral colors are excellent at complementing every other color, then you have no worries. But this does not mean you cannot use brighter colors like pink on your staircase. As long as it goes well with the house color scheme.

Here are the colors to paint an oak staircase:


The color white brings brightness and glow. It is the most used color for a staircase. Because of the brightness it brings, white makes the staircase easy to sight even in the dark. As a neutral color, white will blend with whatever color scheme you decide on.


Black is often used in the company of white. Black can be too striking, so it can be combined with white. An idea is to use black for the treads and white for the risers.

Using two colors will create a nice contrast on the staircase.

The color black can also be combined with others, not just white. It could also be black and cream.

Black alone can be used if its strong look is not a problem.


This is also a neutral color that combines well with any color scheme. Grey is a good color choice for an oak staircase. It could be easier to manage the grey staircase.

It won’t get easily stained like white.


Looking to have a less striking but still elegant look?

Then beige is a cool choice. It is less striking but comes off brilliant on the oak staircase. It blends well with other colors that may be in the house.


Different shades of blue can be used based on the other colors around. Light shades are good to brighten up the stairs. Like white, it enhances the staircase illumination in the dark. Blue can also be used for a dual-tone look.

Blue and white is not a bad idea on an oak staircase. Blue on either the risers or the treads and white doing the twin piece. It can also be combined with other colors that fit the overall home colors.


Green can be used for an oak staircase. Emerald green, for instance, will make quite a statement. This is cool for someone that doesn’t mind the loudness of green. Green and white will not hurt too.

It is a good way to tone down the green.


Light hues of pink can be very attractive on an oak staircase. It is a lively and exuberant color to use.

White and grey are options that can go with pink for a dual color scheme.

Why do I need to paint my oak staircase?

Oak staircase and other furniture stand elegant with their lovely brown to gold colors. But this is not always as brilliant as they come after some years.

The gold or brown look may sometimes not fully align with the color scheme you desire to have.

Painting the staircase becomes a worthy course. It affords the chance to give the stairs a color you desire aside from the customary brown.

The paint can also be a means of protecting the oak against adverse weather. This serves both beautifying and protective functions.

What kind of paint is good on oak?

Almost any kind of paint can be used on oak. But the best paint to use is oil-based enamel paints. Irrespective of the paint type that is to be used, the oak surface must be prepared to receive the paint.

The oak staircase must have been finished with wood lacquer or any other wood finishing product. This finishing must be removed from the oak to allow the paint to stay well on it. The prepping is done with sandpaper.

The sandpaper is used to scrape off all the wood finishing. This opens the oak surface more to retain the paint.

Since the wood finish is usually water-resistant, it will not allow the paint to stay on the wood. This is why it must first be removed.

Before doing the scrapping process, ensure to use wood filler to fill any hole. After the scrapping, the surface is primed.

Any wood primer product is okay to use for this step. The primer helps to promote a good finish when the paint is added.

How do you change the color of an oak staircase?

If the oak staircase is painted before, the color can be changed. Even when an oak staircase is painted, the paint can get blurry and old.

To change the color, the same process as painting an unpainted one will be followed.

The original paint is scraped off to allow the new one a place to stay. Then the oak surface is primed before the new paint is applied. Simple as the vowels, the oak staircase has a new look.

What color is best for my staircase railings?

There are several options for the staircase railings.  The railing can be left unpainted, it all depends on the color scheme. In a case where both the risers and treads are painted, the railing can be painted in the same color.

The golden-brown hue of the oak may be a good look enough for the railings. This comes in handy if you only painted the risers or treads and not both.

A matching look is achieved. The same is done if the risers and treads are painted in different colors.

The railings are best painted with one of the colors.

The pickets and the railing cap can also be painted in different colors. I will suggest one follows the risers while the other follows the treads.

The pickets and railing cap can be painted in just one color. It is usually black or white or any other neutral color.

Other ways of beautifying oak staircase

Oak stairs have been around for a while. And for me, they are still very much in vogue. So they will still be around for a while. Apart from painting, what other things can be done to beautify oak staircases?

Decals are now available for stair risers. There is no need for the stress of painting and all the preps that precede it. Decals have been made in different colors and designs to beautify stair risers in less time and with no stress.

It is just to stick the decals on the risers. As it is easy to fix, it is also easy to replace when the time comes. This is way easier than painting, considering the time consumption. It is also easier on the oak as it does not require sanding like painting.

Decals can also be used with paint. Since the decals are for the stair risers alone. The treads and railings can be painted to complement the decal color and designs.

And it can also be the decals alone against the golden brown color of the oak.

Last words

An oak staircase is a lovable piece that can be made more attractive when painted. Seeking the best color to use? Here are excellent suggestions to pick from. Go with the common choice of white or get more creative.

The idea of a double color sits well with me. That is something I would love to try out.

Maybe pink and white.

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