Honey Oak Staircase Makeover: What are my options?

Honey Oak Staircase Makeover: What are my options?

As you may know, I am currently working in two homes that are full of honey oak.  One project I’ve called ‘Warm and Cosy‘ and the other one I’ve called ‘Honey I’m Gone‘.  Both of these homes are undergoing a complete transformations, both will have a cream foundation pallet, and both currently have a massive honey oak staircases.

Honey I’m Gone

This home is undergoing a complete renovation on the main floor including the staircase leading up to the second floor.  While the renovation budget for this home is a good healthy one, there are a few bigger ticket items that are going on in this home.  A few of those items are:


  • A beautiful new re-designed kitchen with brand new cabinets being installed.  This kitchen is going to have a large island with quartz counters.

honey oak staircase

Quartz counters being templated


  • The hardwood floors are being extended into the dining room and then being re-stained a new medium brown colour.

honey oak staircase

Hardwood floors being added to other parts of the home.  Still to be re-stained.

There is a lot more going on in this home however, these are some of the more bigger ticket items.

Honey Oak Staircase

Prior to the hammer ever being swung, we talked a lot about the honey oak staircase.  The plan in this home is to say bye-bye to all of the honey oak.  Here is what the staircase looks like this past week:

honey oak staircase

Honey Oak Staircase: Option 1

When Mr. and Mrs. Client and I were discussing options, we discussed painting/staining as an option.  As you may have noticed, the stairs are also honey oak so we are really dealing with a lot of honey! I found this inspirational photo to look at how an old staircase was repainted/stained to give it a fresh look:

honey oak staircase

Image source

Honey Oak Staircase: Option 2

While painting/staining is definitely an option, replacing the entire railings was another option.  Taking out the old wooden spindles and replacing them with metal spindles was an option we were looking at.  Something along the lines like the following inspirational image:

honey oak staircase

Image source

Honey Oak Staircase: Final Option

When the price comparisons came in, there was obviously a difference in price to paint/stain vs getting new.  Mr. and Mrs. Client had a tough decision to make.  The difference in price was roughly $3,400.00 to get the new railings.  While that may not seem like a large difference in a massive renovation like this, Mr. and Mrs. Client already have added on some other items to the scope of the work which has pushed up the budget.

My Advice

Mr. Client had stated that he was having a hard time justifying ripping out the old railing.  He also mentioned having a hard time visualizing the new railing looking that much better than the existing one.  Both valid points!

Mr. and Mrs. Client asked me my opinion on the matter and this is exactly what I told them:

  1. Your staircase will look beautiful if painted/stained.  I truly believe that.  
  2. You staircase will look stunning if you went with the new one (beautiful vs stunning).  
  3. Budget does come into play and I’m a huge advocate for trying to stay on budget. The wow factor that you will get with having it painted is going to be huge compared to what it is now (no offence honey oak). 
  4. Most home owners get to a point where there does need to be some compromises.  This would be an area where that falls into play. 

Final Thoughts

Here is exactly what I told my clients:

“If I thought your staircase would look shitty painted, I would be honest with you.  I think with everything that you are doing, it is not going to stand out as ‘dated’ because of all the ‘other’ modernizations you have going on. “

The decision was made to not bump their budget up any more and stay with the original plan and paint/re-stain the stairs.  Here is what we have planned.

honey oak staircase

You’ll have to stay tuned to see how the stairs came out in the end and how they look with the rest of the modernizations of this home.

Not sure where to start with the planning of your next renovation?  Download my FREE 7 Steps to Renovate With Confidence here.  

Wish to discuss your next renovation prior to the hammer being swung?  Contact me today! 

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