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Paint the risers in graduated shades of a single color, going a bit lighter after every three steps for an ombré effect, as shown. Start with one saturated shade and cut it with 20 percent white each time you lighten up. Choose related hues for a more whimsical look that can be a true statement centerpiece.

Stash some Magic Erasers to keep the latex paint scuff-free, and you're good to go!

Get the look here with Olympic's Semi-Gloss Paint in Caribbean Splash, about $28 per gallon; at Lowe's stores.