Should Hardwood Floors Match Stairs: Decor Ideas

In the 1980s, having a dress without shoes that were exactly the same color was an embarrassment, and decor can be a lot like fashion. Should your stairs match your hardwood floors, or is that passe and tacky in 2020? The answer is a little more complex than you might expect since it’s vital to make sure you enjoy your home. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, so it should suit your needs and show off your personality and style. Stairs are tricky because they connect two, often mismatched, levels of your home. For example, your downstairs may be dark cozy mahogany, while the upstairs is blonde wood floors and an open, airy feel. You can match the stairs and flooring exactly without concern when it’s the same everywhere, but there are a few ways to handle non-matching floors to make your staircase feel like a connection that is a part of both levels. I’ll walk you through some of the basics for styling stairs with hardwood flooring so you can have a classic, timeless appeal that will last as long as those stunning floors. 

Should hardwood floors match stairs? Hardwood floors do not have to match your stairs. However, the two should always be complementary, so they look like they were meant to go together. It’s fine to go with a darker or lighter stain as long as it suits the room (or hall)  at both ends of the staircase. Coordination is more crucial than precise color matching, and you can achieve this in numerous ways if you have an eye for detail or the advice of a good decorator to help you plan it out. 

Should Stairs and Hardwood Floors Match

While your stairs and hardwood floors do not need to match, they do need to be coordinated. There are only a few parts of most staircases, and you can mix and match easily to get a unified look. I’ll walk you through the options simply so you can make a choice. 

This naturally leads to the question, ‘does every story of my home need the same flooring?’ Simply put, it looks nice, but it’s not necessary. Moreover, some people prefer to have a strong visual differential between the guest area downstairs and the upstairs living quarters. Choose the right flooring for the job, and you won’t go wrong. 

The Parts

Stairs have two main parts. There is a riser, which is vertical, and a tread is a horizontal part you step on. However, most staircases also have a few other pieces that aren’t the steps. Rails and balusters are common. These are the handrail you hold and the bits that hold that up, including the big pieces they tend to attach to each landing. Some rails are ‘floating,’ which means they attach to the wall, so there are no noticeable balusters on these. Finally, you may also have trim along the staircase’s edge to consider when designing the look. 

Match or Mismatch in Style

Naturally, you can opt for every part of your stairs to be a perfect match to the floor. This offers seamless simplicity. Choose the same wood and stain for everything and call it finished if you want this look. However, below is a shortlist of other wood stair options that look outstanding. 

When you stain wood flooring and stairs, use Minwax 11500000 Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner from Amazon to prep the surface and get the best-finished results. Prevent streaks and blotches before you start staining wood the wood. You can use additional coats for highly absorbant woods or use a single layer because Minwax works on soft and hardwood. Learn more by clicking here. 

  • Match treads and balusters to the upper floor. Meanwhile, match the risers and rail to the lower floor. 
  • Trade wood balusters for black iron and consider painting the trim to match. 
  • Metals and wood are a modern trend, so you can also swap out other parts for metal pieces. However, if you do this, keep in mind that metal treads need a good texture to be slip-proof, and they’re loud. 
  • You can opt to put carpet on the treads and risers, but don’t combine this look with metal balusters.
  • Paint all the wood parts in a complementary or accent color. Note that painted stairs need frequent retouching since the paint will wear off. 

When in doubt, choose the simplest path. Not only does matching everything save on time and materials, but it’s going to look nicely put together. 

Keep a bottle of Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Restorer from Amazon in your cleaning supplies for those matched or mismatched wooden floors and stairs. Rejuvenate can bond with your existing floor finish to help restore the look regardless of how much foot traffic your floor handles. Scratches and wear are easy to handle with this brilliant floor restorer. Have a bottle delivered to your door by clicking here. 

Hardwood Flooring & Other Options For Stairs

You can literally match your hardwood flooring to your stairs. Buy the same wood, in the same color. Choose your stain for the floor and construct, or remake, everything at the same time. This will give you a lovely, uniform look without any concern for slight color variations that become more noticeable over time. It is alright to use the same planks from your hardwood flooring project to cover the stair treads.

For those who want more traction and less stress over exact matching, you can choose carpet. Cover the riser and tread for a smooth look. Choose a carpet that matches your existing floorplan, or opt for one that compliments your wood floors in a neutral color. White is not the best choice because it shows wear and stains easily. Instead, choose a darker brown or even black depending on the balusters, trim, and decor in your home.

Before Choosing Stair Coverings

In addition to the basic aesthetic, there are three things you need to consider before finishing a staircase. First, what is your skill level? Don’t plan a remodel you cannot complete. Second, and very related is your budget, for the same reason. Finally, how are the stairs used?

The first two questions will determine your stair remodel’s relative quality and difficulty. Meanwhile, the last question should determine the material. Ask yourself who is using the stairs and how often. If the traffic is extremely heavy, wood is nice because it wears out very slowly. However, if you have to carry a laundry basket up and down, possibly with small children or elderly relatives around, then carpet provides the traction you all need to help keep your balance. 

Are Hardwood Stairs Slippery

Wooden stairs are generally smooth, and whether they match the floor or not, they are often slippery. While this provides a lovely visual appeal, it can be dangerous. No one wants to fall down a flight of stairs, and even gorgeous wood isn’t worth a broken neck. Fortunately, there are two simple ways to enjoy that hardwood staircase in safety. First, keep it up to code, so there’s plenty of room to step. Second, add antislip adhesive treads.

The Code

As of publication, the international residential building code requires a step to be thirty-six inches wide and ten inches deep at a minimum. Additionally, handrails are mandatory. Lastly, risers cannot exceed seven and three-quartes inches in height. For more information on the building code, click here

Nonslip Treads

I strongly recommend using a nonslip tread cover for wooden stairs. Both visible and clear versions are available, so you can add detail or leave your wooden stairs visible depending on your style and needs. Either way, you’ll be safer with more traction under your toes. 

For a superb invisible traction option, I suggest Traction Tape by TreadSafe. As the name implies, these strips offer better foo0ting. People will appreciate the easy footing, but even your pets can get a better and safer grip. Not only are they peel and stick, but these nonslip treads are mop friendly as well. See the Amazon reviews for yourself right here

Final Thoughts

There’s no reason to be intimidated by matching hardwood floors and stairs. Especially when your floors are identical on both levels, this is a superb technique for tying the two together. Use that access area to bring the whole house together instead of making it feel disjointed like you’re going into a completely different home as you ascend. 

For non-matching floor covers, try to bring both elements together in a visually pleasing way that equally suits the upper and lower levels. Stain a banister and risers to match the lower floor. You don’t see the risers as you descend, so it makes sense not to match them with what’s above. Then on the top of each stair, you can use hardwood or carpet that goes with the upper floor since this will be more visible from that angle. 

When they are well constructed, and you put forethought into how you want your stairs to look from both angles, it’s easier to find the right solution. Luckily, there’s no hard rule about matching, so you can play with what works best for you. 

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

Recent Posts