What Color Should a Banister Be Painted?

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Your banister can become a statement in craftsmanship, or blend into the background.
Your banister can become a statement in craftsmanship, or blend into the background. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Many factors may come into play when it comes to painting or repainting your staircase banister. However, all of these factors are based around your own personal preferences, the style of your home and the rest of your interior design, and the statement you wish to make. Blending a banister in with the décor requires a different color selection than making it a focal point. While tastes vary, invoking some strategies will help lead you to make the right color choice.

Wood

Many banisters are left the color of the wood they are built with, with the exceptions of iron or vinyl banisters. They are stained or glazed to bring out the beauty of the wood grain. Wood banisters are striking when left in their natural hue, especially if the stair risers or surrounding flooring area is also wood. A striking balance that lends subtle beauty to any space is to paint the balusters or spindles beneath the wooden handrail, matching them to the wall or trim of the surrounding space.

White

In the event that your walls are white, painting your banister white causes it to blend in with the scenery. Blending a banister is ideal in tiny spaces, to keep from closing it in too much, or in instances where the banister may itself lack appeal. Keep in mind that a white banister requires more upkeep in the form of cleaning than darker colors, as the light paint shows up hand prints and smudges more readily.

Other Colors

Any color can work for a banister as long as it fits with your home's style and existing color scheme. Ornate banisters benefit from a color that matches but contrasts to the wall color. For instance, a black banister in a white room shows off the banister and gives the space a very stark and modern feel. An olive or moss-green banister against a creamy yellow or off-white wall also sticks out, but the overall tone of the room is softer.

Paint Selection

Choose a medium- to high-gloss paint when dealing with banisters. Since they are usually located in high-traffic areas, the enamel finish of high-gloss paints wipes clean easily and reduces maintenance. It is also more durable. Oil-based paint takes longer to dry but dries more smoothly, while latex dries very quickly and does not put off the heavy fumes of oil paint. Spray paint is the best choice for painting a flawless banister.

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