General Finishes Dark Chocolate Milk Paint Stair Makeover
Holy smokes, how many times am I going to paint our front stairs? I have tried stenciling them two different times and also used Annie Sloan chalk paint to give them a whitewash. Well, even though it held up for a long time, the wash needed to be reapplied because eventually with all of the wear, it faded. I should have sealed the wash with a topcoat. Who knew that painting stairs in white was not the best idea to maintain, lol? I then painted the treads in a latex pale gray because I had some paint leftover in my workroom and couldn’t be bothered to do anything else! Well, that also looked really dirty after a year.
This time, I decided to do it right.
Our stairs have a few issues. They are creaky and many of the treads and risers don’t totally meet up and have gaps. Using a caulk gun, I first filled in all of the gaps. I contemplated trying to sand the paint off the treads back to the bare wood in order to stain them a darker tone but knew that job was just too much to handle at this time. I decided to use General Finishes milk paint in the color Dark Chocolate. It is a very deep brown and won’t show any dirt. The risers and side trim were given a fresh coat of bright white semi-gloss paint.
It took three coats of the Dark Chocolate milk paint to fully cover the treads. After they dried, I touched up where the white risers met the dark brown treads. This was the difficult part because the caulk application in the joints made it very difficult to paint a straight line. It took a lot of touching up between the white and brown to get the joints looking good. I then used General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in satin. This was applied twice using a foam brush.
Here is the result! The dark chocolate (I believe) adds a more sophisticated look to our foyer. The stairs now complement the Poised Taupe foyer wall color better than the pale gray. I also added a few rugs into the space and the Hungarian Chest and artwork from HomeGoods. The chest goes well with the banister.I think a runner will look really good going up the stairs onto the landing above and extending through our upper hallway. This will be the next step (pun intended!) Now my problem is all of Harper’s white fur shows up in high definition on the dark color – I can never win!
Your stairs look great! Very classic and classy. I hope they hold up well. You are such a work horse!
Thanks, Peggy! I am a glutton for punishment lol!
Love the dark treads against the brighter white. So much work involved there but so worth the result. A sealer will definitely help them hold up so much better; but then again when you decide to change the color again in a few years it will be a crazy amount of work to sand them. That railing would look amazing in the same dark chocolate color too.
Hi Vicki! You know me so well! I’m sure they will be painted again one day but honestly, this took so long to complete that they may not! I was contemplating the railing but was too tired to attempt it. Then I noticed it does go well with the chest so for now, I’ll leave it be 🙂 However, I agree it would look really good in a darker stain!
The stairs look great! The hungarian chest steals the shoe. It is gorgeous!!!!!
Thanks, Christi! It was quite a fantastic thrift store score!
Love the look. Does the top coat make the stairs slippery? I painted ours a while back with porch and floor paint in a dark brown but yours looks richer–more like stain.
Hi Rhonda, I was concerned about the stairs being slippery but actually they aren’t. They basically feel the same as a newer wood floor. GF made the Dark Chocolate color to have a paint that created the same look as their Java Gel stain and so it does create a warm, rich stained wood look. Cheers!
Excellent job. The result is stunning.
Thanks so much, Nette!
The stairs look great! I love the contrast between that rich brown and stark white. Looks very time consuming!
Why did you choose milk paint? Do you think it’ll hold up better than latex? Also, how on earth do you keep the family off the stairs while you’re painting and letting it dry to a hardness which can cope with traffic? This is my main dilemma, as I’ll be doing my stairs next year.
Hi Elisabeth, I chose the milk paint because they had sent me a sample of the Dark Chocolate as their paint version of Java Gel stain. It gives the same look and that is what I was going for (a dark stained wood). I hope it holds up better with the topcoat applied. As far as traffic, once my daughter was stuck upstairs for a half hour lol but they are teens and sleep all morning so that’s when I worked on the stairs!
I really like the stairs. Very sophisticated look. Your dog is adorable too!
Thank you, Pam! We just got her last weekend!
Gorgeous!! I love it, and it has given me some inspiration for my stairs going into my basement!! Thanks for sharing!
You are welcome and good luck with your project!
I love the new paint job. It is so classic looking.