9 Black Stair Railing Ideas Inspiring Drama in Our Foyer

Black stair railing designs, DIY painted black stair projects, and runner rug ideas for a bold, elegant entry.

entryway staircase with black and white gallery wall

There has always been one little detail in our foyer entry that I’ve always wanted to change but never really had the guts to do anything about it.

I’d give it the side-eye and mischievously plot its ultimate demise. But I never really contemplated actually doing it until now: A quick and simple black stair railing makeover by swapping out our old balusters.

Black stair railing designs, DIY painted black stair projects, and runner rug ideas for a bold, elegant entry.
  • The balusters (those twisty iron spindles) actually aren’t that old, but they’re just not my style.
  • And the mahogany gel stained handrail doesn’t complement any other wood tone in the house at all.
  • I want drama with clean lines, and a high end look on a low budget by simply painting the existing stair railing black and adding in straight black balusters.
  • Eventually, I’d love to add a runner rug on the stairs because they really are slippery and hazardous.

We’re only working with 5 little bitty steps here, but we’ll take any opportunity we can get for a pretty first impression.

black and white staircase gallery wall

It turns out, even though our plan sounds simple enough, there are so many different ways to achieve that sophisticated and streamlined classic black stair railing.

So I pulled together 9 gorgeous black staircase ideas for inspiration we’re using on our small foyer steps as well as classic ideas for bigger staircases.

elegant entryway staircase with wood handrail and simple black balusters
Image: Change & Co.

1. Simple, No Shoe

That pressed tin ceiling is really tempting me to repeat our pressed tin treatment on our own entryway ceiling, but the thing that makes this black stair railing so beautifully understated is the use of straight balusters without shoes at the bottom to meet the wood treads.

The end result is so sleek and clean. The runner’s black border adds even more depth to the staircase.

entryway staircase with wood handrail and black scalloped balusters
Image: Rebekah Westover | Harris Architecture

2. Mid-Tone Railing and Ornate Black Balusters

If you’re going to go ornate with stair balusters, give them a scalloped effect. Incorporating a mid-tone wood stain in the railing prevents the entry from feeling cold and sterile and draws the eye upward to the second story.

wrought iron black stair railing with white risers and wood treads
Image: Stephen Paul

3. Extra Long Balusters

These extra long wrought iron black stair balusters attach to the sides of the staircase to help elongate the space and make ceiling appear taller.

simple black stair railing with wood treads and white risers
Image: Blackband Design

4. Clean and Simple with Shoes

See those little nubby squares at the ends of the balusters as they meet the steps? Those are shoes. And in this case, they add an elegant little detail to this black staircase that balances the weight so well with the metal railing.

black painted staircase with neutral striped rug
Image: Elise Fox

5. Painted Black Stairs with Striped Runner

Don’t worry. We don’t plan on painting our 60+ year old oak hardwood floors, but I do absolutely love this painted staircase look.

Eventually, after changing the balusters, I would love to add a runner to our stairs. And when we do, I would love to use a neutral striped runner similar to this one. Neutral stripes are always “in”. And they work beautifully with practically any other rug, wallpaper, art, or textile nearby.

black painted staircase with vintage rug
Image: Moore House Family

6. Painted Black Stairs with Vintage Rug Runner

On the flip side of a simple neutral striped runner, how stunning is this ornate vintage rug situation?! Gah it’s so good! When the time comes, I don’t know how I’ll decide which stair runner I like better.

painted black stairs with geometric jute rug
Image: Rebecca and Genevieve

7. Black Painted Stairs with Jute Runner

For something more casual, a jute rug is perfect and is usually a more budget-friendly alternative to other rug options out there. The geometric pattern here adds just enough interest.

plain painted black stairs
Image: Style It Pretty Home

8. Plain Black Painted Stairs

I don’t plan to paint our stairs like this since our hardwood floors are in great condition, but this solution is brilliant if you ever want to rip out the carpet on your stairs but can’t afford nice flooring on the stair treads.

Painting stairs completely black helps hide imperfections much better than white paint too. You can see how Zenia removed carpet and painted stairs black here.

minimalist wrought iron black staircase
Image: Bigger Than the Three of US

9. Spindle Ornament Removal

I wish there was a way to streamline our existing wrought iron balusters the way Ashley updated hers. By removing outdated ornamental scrollwork from existing balusters using an angle grinder, she totally changed the look of her staircase into a minimalist style.

entryway with carved wood chest and wrought iron staircase

I’m so ready to start ripping out some wrought iron! Can you picture it yet?!

I mean, I guess we need an “official” plan first so that’s sort of the point of this post. We’ll be responsible adults and figure out the details beforehand, I guess… lame-o.

More Entry Decorating Ideas

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34 Comments

  1. Noooo, don’t do it unless you want tiny paint chips and dust to show. It may look good in photos and be trendy, but in reality, it doesn’t hold up well.

  2. Lauren, numbers 1and 4 are my favorites because they have a light, airy look. I think Numbers 5, 6, 7, and 8 look too heavy with the black being so prominent with woodwork and stairs being painted, too. I know whatever type of look you select will be wonderful. Happy planning!!

  3. I have thought about painting our stairs black for years; this may be just the inspiration I need to do it! Thank you! We have carpet on our stairs, so painting the entire stairway (stairs, handrail, spindles) would be what I would do.

  4. Great post! I’m looking forward to your plan to update the look because I have a similar situation, five steps, oak floors, treads, railing all different woods and finishes.
    My stairs are a dark stain and at night not very safe as you can’t see where one stair ends and the next begins, so carpet is on my to do list. I’m so glad you posted the first picture with the carpet on the stairs. I noticed how the nap of the carpet is large and doesn’t bend well around the tread, something I wouldn’t have thought to test when picking a carpet.

  5. I refinished our handrail with a product I had never used before. General Finishes gel stain. Easy to apply with minimal odor. Then a few coats of clear top of same brand. Hardest part was sanding off the old poly finish. Still looks great after 4 years!