Marie's Hallway + Stairs Budget Makeover

Can you believe I went from this to this?!

Lots of work goes into decorating stairs and landings, especially one as big as ours!  It took ages to finally find the gusto to tackle it.  But we're so glad we did.  We love the final look 🖤

The hallway had a hideous old manky carpet 🤢 that was covering an amazing original flagstone floor. 

The walls were covered in anaglypta wallpaper that had been on from day dot.  It was an absolute nightmare to get off, half the walls came off with it!  So the whole thing was replastered…thanks Dad! 🕺

I love how grand the hallway and stairs feel 😊

I wasn’t sure what to do with the landing floorboards at first but I knew for sure that I wanted a stair runner.  So, up came the carpet, grippers and all the nails…nasty job! 

I filled any holes using a wood filler and sanded the whole thing down with a rough then a fine grit sandpaper ready for painting.

Initially I painted all the walls an off white then came across Chelsea's instagram account @thehousethatblackbuilt.  I fell in love with Chelsea’s half black walls. Do give Chelsea’s home a 👀 it's gorgeous! 🖤🖤

I was painting all the woodwork dark anyway so I just used the same colour half way up the walls…thanks for the inspo Chelsea 😊 

For the stairs I decided to paint the treads white and source a neutral colour carpet runner.

Deciding on a stencil pattern is so hard, especially as I had 2 different surfaces to tackle, the flagstones and the wooden floorboards. 

In the end I decided to go big and bold, opting for our Tandilt Wall/Floor Stencil
I customised the size to make the design a bit bigger for that extra boldness.

I primed the wood floorboards with 1 coat of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 all purpose primer. 
For the base coat colour and the stencilling I just used the same paints I painted the wall with…simples! 👌
Both were Valspar paints, Dairy Belle for the base and Downing Street for the stencilling.

A small dense foam roller is ideal for stencilling large areas. 
The trick is to not use too much paint.  Your roller should be nearly touch dry. 
This will make sure the paint doesn’t bleed underneath your stencil. 
Just keep applying paint in thin layers until the desired effect is achieved.

There were a few places were the roller couldn’t reach so a stencil brush came in handy just to stipple a bit of paint into the nooks and crannies! 

Dizzy Duck stencils have repeat markers on them so you can align the stencil onto previously stencilled pattern to create a seamless design. 

The trick is to stencil all your full patterns first. 

Keep repeating the stencil pattern across the floor until all that’s left are the edges where partial patterns are needed.

 For the edges you can either bend or cut the stencil to fit. ✂️✂️

For really awkward spaces where it isn’t just a simple flat edge you’re stencilling up to cutting is the best way to get a nice clean finish.

Once all the floorboards were stencilled it was time to move onto the flagstone hallway floor.

The first thing was to sand the whole floor back with some rough then fine sandpaper to help remove any paint and plaster blobs etc.

Then I got down on my knees armed with scrubbing brush, hot soapy water and mop.  Total body workout right there, who needs the gym?! 💪🏋️‍♀️

Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 all purpose primer is a Dizzy Duck go to when it comes to priming our projects.  It’s water based, so not too smelly and dries pretty quick too! 

Just make sure the surface is thoroughly cleaned and prepped before you prime.  Paint will not stick or last on a dirty dusty surface.

I used a paint brush to cut in around all the edges first then used a small emulsion roller to apply the primer across the rest of the floor. 

The roller is much easier to use on a large surface and I didn’t need to be on my hands and knees. 🥵

What a difference after getting the base coat down.  The whole space just lightened up, looking as fresh as a daisy! 🌼

After applying two coats of primer I applied another two coats of the Dairy Belle Valspar wall emulsion paint.  The white primer was just a little too cool and clinical for my liking.  The wall colour is much warmer and softer. 😊


Now time to stencil...always the exciting part!  Same principal as before with the floorboards, start with full stencil patterns. 

I chose to start in the centre of the floor making sure I was straight to the slabs and then worked my way outwards to the edges.  Walls are never straight so don’t start at the edges or the pattern will be squiffy! 🥴

You can see that I had a hairdryer to hand.  Being stone, the floor was rather cold and the paint needed a little helping hand to dry in places.  It didn’t help that I did this in the Winter either 🥶☃️

As before, I used a small dense foam roller for the majority of the stencilling. 

At the edges I bent the stencil and rolled as much as I could up to the edge without compromising the pattern.

I did have some smaller single motif stencils which were pretty useful for filling in the pattern around the edges. 

A stencil brush is easier to use with smaller stencils.  Here I used a Dizzy Duck Large Stencil Brush, a fave for most of our projects! 🖌️

All the full pattern stencilling was finished!  Only the edges to sort out now! 

Like I did on the floorboards, I bent the stencil into the edges as much as possible then cut the stencil to fit so I could get right up to the skirting boards. 

An artist’s brush comes in really handy when you are dealing with simple blocky shapes as you can hand paint them right up to the edge without needing to use the stencil 🎨

Finally all the stencilling was finished, yay!  Time to seal that deal! 🙌

I applied 5 coats of Polyvine Heavy Duty Extreme Satin Varnish.  It is a water-based polyurethane varnish suitable for a multitude of surfaces and does not yellow.

Whatever varnish you use just make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. 

I find applying varnish with a small flock roller eliminates brush strokes or bubbles that sponge rollers can create 🫧

Ta-da! ✨ All stencilled and sealed and good to go. 

Time to sort those stairs out now.

I umm’d and ahhh’d for ages about the runner on the stairs 🤔 

I looked at so many hacks on Pinterest and decided that we would create out own DIY stair runner on a budget. 

I was a single Mum for many years and had to make do and DIY all the time.  I’ve never lost that desire to save some pennies and DIY wherever I can! 😂

Me and the Hubby found some door mats in B&Q that were a perfect width for our stairs.  We bought one mat to see how it would fit length wise so we knew how many mats we needed.


We worked out that each length of mat would cover just over 2 treads and risers.

Off we popped back to B&Q.  Low and behold, they were in a clearance sale at a fiver each so we bought the job lot!  Oooosh, love a bargain! 🤑

The first mat went in place! 

Sorry guys, didn’t take a pic of the stapler in action.  But we did use a staple gun to fix the mats in place along the bottom edge of each riser (the part where the step meets the upright).

The second mat overlapped the first mat at the base of the riser. 

Two mats now in place! 👏

When we got the top of the stairs there was a little gap at top off the last riser but we didn’t mind that.  I love anything a bit quirky and different anyways. 🤷

It took five mats to do the first lot of stairs, a whopping total cost of £25 in mats! 

I love getting more bang for my buck.  It means your budget can stretch further and style does not need to be compromised.  There are so many useful, effective hacks out there to be had.  Just be brave enough to give them a go, what have you got to lose?!

More bargain hunting from me and the Hubby!  We sourced the sideboard at our local International Aid store, one of my fave places to mooch around. 

Most of our furniture is second hand. I am not the ‘everything needs to be perfectly matching’ kinda gal 😄

I tried to keep the faffery as neutral as possible to let the stained glass windows sing all by themselves and be a focal point.

Then there’s The Mirror!  I love love love this mirror. 

One of my fave shops for faffery is Home Sense and when I saw this mirror I knew exactly where it would go.  So good for the last minute ‘checking’ of the hair and outfit etc before setting off out the door. 💃

The green stool was bought off ebay, I chose the splash of emerald green to compliment the stained glass.  It’s got storage too!

As I write this blog, I am preparing to move house in 3 days! 🤯 The hallway was the last space I renovated and is actually one of my favourite spaces. 

I will be sad to say goodbye, but at the same time, excited to create new spaces in the new house, well actually it’s a bungalow.  

So watch this space for more reno blogs.  Exciting time ahead!

If you want to know any more about this project or want any advice on your own project, then just drop us a line to

We Dizzy Ducks are always happy to help where we can 😊

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.