Zero Dollar Update in my Basement Stairway

Stairway paint make over! Zero dollar update.

Hello, it is day 58 of stay at home orders and we have been trying to stay busy, and trying to stay on track of finances! That’s why this week I decided to make a #ZERODOLLARUPDATE to my house!!! I love when I can use up materials that I have on hand AND transform a space without spending any extra money.

No trips to the hardware store, so agonizing over picking up the right color/material/tools. Everything is just sitting here taking up space – so another score for decluttering!

I don’t know why it has taken me so much time to pay any attention to this space, but I am so glad I decided to give it another look. I have an unfinished basement and its just down right scary to be in it. The floor is literally sand, there are cobwebs, it has a funny smell. It’s a little scary and I’d rather just forget it exists. The problem is that my house is currently on the market and buyers are drawing the same conclusions.

Before: Left Side
Before: Right Side

I can’t keep ignoring this space any more! I decided to give it a little facelift using leftover paint and some leftover wall hooks.

Honestly.. the wall on the left side was still just bare drywall compound. The contractors prepped my entire house for paint, which meant this whole side of the wall got a skim coat. When I painted the house we didn’t really pay any attention to the basement. It feels SO GOOD to have one solid color on the wall now.

The right side is bare wood, maybe stained at one point, from the previous owners. I imagine this wall hasn’t been touched in 40-50 years. However I LOVE this wall because it already looks like it has a ship lap treatment. The wood panels overlap nice and even, and I could just imagine after a coat of paint it might start to take on that trendy modern farmhouse look.

The hooks had some cobwebs on them and the nails were clearly ancient. I’ve been saving these nails for a future project.. I’m hoping to use YellowBrickHome’s ”These Old Nails” floating frame with all their found nails. Stay tuned.

I removed all the nails and hooks, then filled the holes in with wood putty. After a few hours when the putty was solid and dried, I sanded them down smooth with sandpaper. You can tell when its done after the putty turns a lighter color.

Wood putty in all the holes

I used some creative/questionable techniques to reach the top corners of the stairwell. At first I was using this telescoping ladder which has adjustable height on each side, so I could place one end on the bottom and one end on the middle.. but it’s super heavy and not easy to drag up the steps without touching the sides of the stairwells. So this vintage apple orchard ladder which normally just holds blankets came in handy as a bridge.

Prime the walls and then paint!!! I decided to caulk a few joints to make them extra smooth and clean looking. The paint makes the stairwell look 1000% cleaner and more inviting.

To add some function to this space, I found some extra wall hooks from a previous project in storage. These hooks were PERFECT. They came with little screws, were very easy to install, and are a nice size to hold a broom, shovel, or anything with a loop on it really.

I’m SOO happy I finished this project in while stuck in quarantine. It was so simple and made a world of difference in this space. The best part? It was totally free! Have you been updating your home during the corona virus lock down? Tell me about it!

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Hi! I’m Kristy Pedersen. I’m renovating houses in Philadelphia and sharing the process one step at a time.

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