Last fall I decided to re-fresh the stairway that runs from our living room to the upstairs bedroom. I had painted this staircase over a decade before using a technique called colorwashing but it was becoming worn and the wood was beginning to show. I learned how to do this from Jocasta Innes' Paint Magic which I wrote about on this post. The first time I painted these stairs, blogs did not exist. I never documented many of the creative techniques I used to decorate our home.
Colorwashing walls or stairways is akin to applying layers of paint on an oil painting. My goal was to have the different layers of paint show through as the stairs aged - so that they have the feeling of being painted different colors over decades. I love an aged look.
Step One: Vacuum or sweep the stairs. Wash the stairs and let them dry.
Step Two: With a 2" brush, apply a random and streaky coat of royal blue latex paint. The goal is not to cover the stairway with the blue - just to apply patchy bits. Let it dry completely - overnight is best. It is also best not to walk on the new paint with shoes - wear stocking feet as the paint is not cured.
Here's what it looks like. I know - ghastly, isn't it? But just bear with me.
Step Three: With the same brush, apply another streaky coat of paint - but this time orange. As I remember, this orange was the color of Velveeta cheese.
Wow - really looking good, huh? Again, bear with me.
Step Three: Here's where the magic happens. I wanted the final color of the stairway to be a streaky olive green. This layer of paint covers the entire stairway and is applied as if I were painting a traditional coat of paint. The orange and blue streaks were covered up with the olive green. Because I only used one layer of paint, there is a bit of show-through of the other colors - this is a characteristic of colorwashing.
That's it. The stairs were all refreshed. No bare wood anymore.
The blue and the orange will begin to show through in a few years time. In about ten years I'll have to refresh them again. Maybe I will change the color, maybe not. I love the way this paint treatment looks. What do you think?
p.s. I would have used oil paint if I had the time but because we couldn't move out to let the paint dry and we have so many 4 footed friends, I used latex paint instead.