9 of the Best Stair Tread Ideas

If you’re looking for inspiration on a way to improve the look of your home without spending a lot of money, consider a staircase remodel with these stair tread ideas. Many people overlook this part of their home, but stair treads can be easily decorated. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some ideas for how to dress up your stair treads and make them more attractive. So whether you’re looking to remodel your entire stairway or just add a little bit more personalization and function, read on for some great stair tread ideas.

What are Stair Treads Anyways?

 Stair treads are the horizontal surfaces of a staircase that you step on when moving between different levels. They serve an important functional purpose, but they can also be decorated and used to add visual interest to your home. 

The average flight of stairs has 12 to 16 steps, though this number may differ depending on the building and the function of the staircase. This means that your home can have anywhere from 12- 16 stair treads for you to design and decorate.

Stair Treads Vs. Stair Risers

Stair treads should not be confused with stair risers which are the vertical space between one step and another. The stair riser may be closed or open, depending on the style of the stairs.

Stair risers are another important part of the staircase check out my post on stair risers to check out other decorating ideas.

Stair treads are absolutely a part of the home that you can decorate and show off some of your style. Before we get started with the staircase tread ideas it’s important to know what to look for in stair tread designs. Let’s dive into some things to consider no matter what stair tread idea you choose.

Stair Tread Decoration Material

As you consider which material to use for your stair treads, also factor in how well it will match the rest of your home’s interior. Keep in mind that since stair treads are located on stairs, they’ll be highly visible whenever someone goes up or down. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure the stair tread idea complements rather than clashes with the overall design scheme of your house.

Stair Tread Durability

Because the staircase is an area of your home that will have high traffic, you’ll want to make sure that whatever stair tread idea you choose, select one that is durable and will hold up to the heavy traffic staircases receive. 

Stair Tread Safety

Make sure that your stair tread decorations adhere to your steps securely. A secure backing is a necessary component of any staircase tread idea as you don’t want to cause a safety hazard in your home. 

Stair Tread Visual Appeal

The whole point of remodeling your stair treads is to create a new focal point in your home.   just remember that visual appeal should not take a backseat to safety.

My Favorite Stair Tread Ideas

Stair Tread Ideas: Paint

Paint is one of the easiest and most affordable options for decorating your stair treads. You can easily do this as a DIY project and use any color or pattern that you like, allowing you to express your personal style and create a unique look and add a pop of color to your home. It is generally recommended to use a paint specially designed for flooring as using satin or semi-gloss paints would be very slippery.

Additionally, a dark color is recommended for stair tread paint as a light paint color (like white paint) on your stair treads would show dirt and grime from heavy foot traffic almost immediately after the paint is dry.

If you have your heart set on a nice painted flight of stair treads then consider adding an anti-slip additive to your paint to make your painted wood stairs less slippery and prevent injury to your loved ones. 

Beautiful Stair Tread Ideas: Wood Stain

Wood stain for stair treads is one of the most popular choices for good reason. Wood stain for stair treads will help protect the wood stair treads and create a beautiful timeless look. Common types of wood used for stair treads include oak, teak, cherry, and mahogany. If you’re considering using wood stain for your stair treads, keep in mind that most wood stains require regular maintenance including re-staining or re-sealing every few years.

Once you have selected your wood stain for stairs you’ll want to select a finish for your wood stair treads. Each finish (polyurethane vs tung oil) has its pros and cons so you’ll have to select a wood stain finish that fits your specific needs.

If you need some inspiration and help in choosing the perfect wood stain for your staircase treads check out my previous blog posts on wood stains: My favorite wood stains, blue wood stains, gray wood stains, and white wood stains.

Polyurethane Finish

Polyurethane creates a tough surface finish that excels at protecting wood stair treads. This will keep your staircase treads looking new for much longer than if you left the wood treads unprotected. The main downside of using polyurethane is that it can cover up the natural beauty of the wood grain on your stairs. You will want to test the polyurethane in an inconspicuous spot first for this reason.

Tung Oil Finish

Tung Oil is one of the most natural looking and beautiful finishes for your hardwood stair treads. It will help to seal in moisture and protect the wood but it won’t hide the natural beauty of your stair treads. Although this finish will not last as long as polyurethane, it will be slightly less slippery than shellac, like polyurethane. 

Floating Stair Treads

Floating stair treads are stair treads that appear to be unsupported from underneath and “floating” in mid-air. They are however attached to a wall or another structural element, such as the wall or stair stringer using hidden brackets or other hardware. The treads themselves are usually made of wood or other material that is durable, such as metal or glass. Floating stair treads provide a sleek and modern look.

Tile Stair Tread Ideas

Tile is also one of the more popular options for stair treads. Tile stair treads and tile stair risers are a beautiful way to add color and style to your home. Whether you want modern, rustic, or classic tile designs for your staircase treads, there is a wide variety of options available so you can easily find the perfect look for your home. 

One important thing to keep in mind when choosing tiles for your stair treads is that they will be much more slippery than alternatives like wood stain or paint. Make sure to select tiles with a textured surface or non-slip treatment for maximum safety. 

Another thing to consider if selecting tile as your staircase tread is the need for a nosing which is sometimes called bullnose. A bullnose is not required on home staircases but there are many reasons why they are a good idea to include in your stair tread design.

The primary goal of a nosing is to make the staircase safer. By slightly extending over the edge of each step, it provides more room for users to place their feet. This not only makes walking up and down stairs easier, but can help prevent accidents from slips and falls.

By adding a well-chosen stair nosing, you can help protect your treads from wear and tear. Since this is the area where people step first, the edges take on the significant force. Less damage means less maintenance later. Stair tread nosings can also prevent sharp edges at the point where the tread tiles meet the stair riser tiles.

Stair Runners

If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to add some extra style and flair to your stair treads, consider using a stair tread runner. A stair tread runner is simply a long piece of fabric or other material that covers the entire length of each step. 

There are many different types and styles available, so you can easily find one that matches your decor and suits your needs. For example, if you want something bold and modern, you could choose a geometric print or bright color. Or, if you prefer something more classic or subtle, there are plenty of muted patterns and understated shades available as well. 

Another great thing about stair runners is that they are easy to place. Just remember to make sure they are secured to the stairs, if not the staircase tread runners can become a trip hazard. Many manufacturers make devices that help secure staircase runners and rugs to slippery flooring and might just do the trick in securing the carpet runner to the stair treads to ensure maximum safety.

Stair Tread Rubber Mat

If you’re looking for a more functional stair tread idea for your staircase treads, consider using stair tread rubber mats. These are simply pieces of thick, durable rubber that can be placed on top of the staircase tread to provide an anti-slip surface. 

Rubber stair tread mats come in a variety of styles and colors, so you can easily find one that’s both practical and visually appealing. They are also easy to install, making them a great choice if you need quick protection for your stairs. And best of all, stair tread rubber mats help keep your staircase clean by trapping dirt and preventing it from getting carried upstairs by your family members and guests walking on the stairs. 


Although choosing to install carpet as a stair covering idea on your stairs is a functional design decision, this does not mean that it cannot also be an attractive one. For many of us, the journey to find ideal stair tread carpeting begins with safety in mind (tripping and falling down wooden steps is worrisome, particularly if you have small kids).

Carpeted stair treads doesn’t have to be dull and boring there are many varieties of carpet designs to choose from. I like a low pile carpet on carpeted stairs as it gives your stairs a hint of elegance and a clean, modern look plus they do not show wear as much as a higher piled carpet.

If you are interested in updating your stair treads you may also want to refresh the rest of your staircase click over to my recent blog posts on Stair Riser Ideas and Stair Landing Ideas for more staircase ideas and inspiration.


In closing, as you have seen there are tons of great stair covering ideas available for decorating your staircase treads. Whether you decide to go with paint, stain, carpet runners, or tile, you can create a beautiful space and make sure that your staircase functions safely and securely in your home. So why wait? Start exploring your stair covering idea options today!

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