15. Spruce Up Stairways With Carpetless Runners
This trick-of-the-eye runner looks ambitious, but if you start with ivory-painted stairs, you need only add two black stripes, two yellow stripes, then two rows of triangles and one of squares.
First, calculate the placement of the black and yellow stripes. Section off the black stripes with painter’s tape, smoothing the edges with a credit card. Using latex porch and floor enamel and an extra-firm sash brush, paint two thin coats. Next, tape off and paint the yellow stripes, also with two thin coats. The remaining center section will serve as an ivory stripe.
Using flexible posterboard, make templates for the triangles and squares, sizing them so that they climb the risers and wrap the treads. Outline the shapes in pencil and tape them off. "To reduce bleeding in the corners," says Jeffries, "pounce on" the paint, one color at a time, with a stiff, lightly loaded stencil brush. Repeat for two coats.
Finally, protect your work with two coats of polyurethane—one glossy, for durability, and the other matte, for ruglike verisimilitude. Then get ready to climb your stairs in style.