1) Give yourself plenty of space to work by clearing the area around the stairs and removing carpet or runners. Cover any surfaces that you do not want painted in newspaper or dust sheets and secure with masking tape if needed.
2) Can you see any protruding nails or carpet tacks? If so, use a hammer to knock them about 2-3 mm into the wood surface and cover them with a wood filler so you have a nice smooth surface to work on.
3) If you are painting over varnish, lightly sand all of the woodwork with a fine sandpaper to create a rough surface. This will help the new coat to stick. (If the existing paintwork is in poor condition, use paint stripper instead of paper to remove old paint.)
4) Go over your stairs and banisters with a vacuum and a damp cloth to remove any dust and dirt, then wipe dry.
5) Time for priming! A good primer will ensure better adhesion of paint to the surface and increases paint durability. Use a specialist wood primer and undercoat on all the bare wood surfaces and exposed filler.
6) When your primer is completely dry, you are ready to paint. Start at the top of the staircase and work your way down, making sure to work your brush into the grain of the wood. Wait 6-8 hours before applying a second coat.
7) If you are using a different colour for the stairs and the banisters, paint each section separately and leave plenty of time for them to dry before moving on. Use masking tape to get a neat finish where the two colours meet.
8) Once all the paintwork is dry you can reattach the runner – or leave your stairs bare for a clean, classic look that will really show off your paint job.