How to Give Your Old Stair Railings a Fresh New Look on a Budget


Stairs have been around so long that we cannot rightly go back and find the first set. So many ancient cultures used them, and it’s something that developed across multiple cultures before they had contact with one another. So, the idea of stairs is something that seems innate to human beings in the way we construct our habitats. Even still, you likely don’t want old, outdated stairs in your home. Stairs can make a big statement, especially the railings, and so you may want to spruce things up while still on a budget.

It can be done. There’s no rule written that says you have to invest tens of thousands of dollars into stair railings just to update your look. You won’t have to spend much money at all, as long as you follow along with some easy, quick and affordable tips that can leave your railings looking fresh and new without a large price tag.

5 Ways to Cost-Effectively Freshen Up Your Stair Railings

aluminum stair railing

Break Out the Paint

The first way to freshen up your stair railing is to break out that paint. Now, we’re not talking about some basic spray paint here or that classic coat of “basic home” white. You can get creative here on a budget. For instance, once you prime the railings, you can paint the spindles (or balusters) different colors. You can stagger your colors, painting one dark blue, the other a deep gray, and alternate up. There are tons of things you can do with paint, and you can do it all on a budget with a little elbow grease.

Consider Custom Upgrades

Aluminum is a metal alloy that’s becoming increasingly popular in home-use because it’s affordable and can be molded and cast into any sort of unique, custom shape. So, a good way you might want to go here is with a new set of aluminum stair railing. It will be a lot cheaper than a wooden option, and you can have the spindles and rails built to your custom specifications so that the entire railing set stands out.


Speaking of wooden stair rails, this is typically what’s going to be found in most homes. If you don’t want to upgrade to aluminum yet still want a new look, a few bucks spent on sandpaper and wood stain can make a world of difference. Again, this is an area where you will have to put the work in. You will have to get down and sand and stain the right color. Though if you’re not worried about a little labor, this is a very affordable way to upgrade your railing.

Add Ons

You don’t have to get an entirely new set of aluminum stair railing. You could just go with a few decorative touches here and there. The caps that sit atop the rails at the end, sometimes called finals, can be easily replaced, and for not a lot of money. This can make your entire railing set look fresh and new, and the price tag for this is very low, with minimal labor. It’s something to consider.

New Spindles

Whether you call them spindles or balusters, these are the poles or posts of the stair railing set. Maybe you don’t want to replace the hand railing and can get away with just getting new spindles. You can go the custom aluminum route here, or in a different direction, but the result will still be new. And that’s what you’re after here, a fresh, updated look for your stairs.

If you can follow along with these tips above, you should be able to find an affordable way to update your stair railing. This is a much cheaper route than actually updating the stairs themselves, as in the treads and risers. This can be a very involved, expensive job. Updating the railing, on the other hand, is more practical and affordable, and gives you far more options.

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