How to Match Stairs with Solid Wood Flooring

Matching stairs with solid wood flooring can be a daunting task, but it’s an essential part of creating a cohesive and elegant home interior. The continuity of wood flooring from room to room, including the staircase, adds visual flow and a sense of unity to your home. However, achieving this look requires careful planning and attention to detail. In this blog post, we will explore the steps you can take to ensure that your stairs seamlessly match your solid wood flooring.

We’ll discuss everything from choosing the right wood species and finish to installation techniques and maintenance tips. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to create a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing staircase that complements your solid wood floors.

Related: Exploring Essential Stair Accessories

Table of Contents

1. Choosing the Right Wood Species

The first step in matching your stairs to your solid wood flooring is selecting the right wood species. The wood species you choose will have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your space. Here are some popular wood species to consider:

Oak: Oak is a classic choice for both flooring and stairs. It’s durable and comes in a variety of shades, from light to dark. Its prominent grain pattern adds character to any space.

oak wood

Maple: Maple is known for its smooth grain and light color. It’s a great choice if you want a clean and modern look.

maple wood 01

Hickory: Hickory offers a rustic appearance with its strong grain patterns and color variations. It’s one of the hardest domestic woods, making it a durable option.

Hickory wood(1)

Walnut: Walnut is prized for its rich, dark color and smooth grain. It adds warmth and elegance to any home.

When selecting your wood species, consider the overall style of your home. If you have existing wood elements, try to match or complement those. For example, if you have oak flooring in your living room, oak stairs would create a unified look.

2. Matching the Finish

Once you’ve chosen the wood species, the next step is to match the finish. The finish on your stairs should be as close as possible to the finish on your flooring. This includes the stain color, sheen level, and any additional treatments like distressing or hand-scraping.

Stain Color: Start by selecting a stain color that matches your flooring. If you have natural wood floors, use the same stain on your stairs. For pre-finished floors, take a sample to your local hardware store and find a matching stain.

staircase stain color

Sheen Level: The sheen level (matte, satin, semi-gloss, or gloss) of your stairs should match that of your floors. A cohesive sheen level helps maintain a uniform look.

stone staircase(1)

Additional Treatments: If your floors have any special treatments, like hand-scraping or wire-brushing, consider applying the same treatment to your stairs. This ensures consistency in texture and appearance.

It’s important to note that wood can vary in color and grain, even within the same species. Always test the stain on a sample piece of wood before applying it to your stairs.

3. Considering the Stair Treads and Risers

The treads and risers are the most visible parts of your stairs, so it’s crucial to get them right. Here’s how to approach each component:

Risers: The risers are the vertical parts of the stairs between each tread. You have a few options here:

Matching Wood Risers: For a seamless look, use the same wood species and finish as the treads and flooring.

Painted Risers: Painting the risers white or a complementary color can add a classic touch and create a contrast with the treads.

Decorative Risers: For a more unique look, consider using decorative tiles or wallpaper on the risers. This can add personality and style to your staircase.

4. Installation Techniques

Proper installation is key to ensuring that your stairs match your solid wood flooring. Here are some tips to help you achieve a professional finish:

Precise Measurements: Take accurate measurements of your stairs, including the width, depth, and height of each tread and riser. This will help you cut the wood to the correct size and avoid gaps or overlaps.

Seamless Transitions: Ensure a smooth transition between the floor and the first step. Use a nosing piece that matches your flooring to create a continuous look.

Consistent Grain Direction: Install the treads and risers with the grain running in the same direction as your flooring. This creates visual continuity and enhances the overall appearance.

Secure Fastening: Use the appropriate fasteners and adhesives to secure the treads and risers. This prevents movement and squeaking over time. If using nails or screws, countersink them and fill the holes with wood filler that matches the stain.

Finish Touches: After installation, touch up any areas that need it. Apply additional stain and finish as necessary to ensure a consistent look.

5. Adding Stair Nosing and Moulding

Stair nosing and moulding are important elements that can enhance the look of your staircase and provide additional safety. Here’s what to consider:

Stair Nosing: The nosing is the rounded edge of the tread that extends slightly over the riser. Choose a nosing profile that matches the style of your flooring. For a cohesive look, use the same wood species and finish. Stair nosing provides a finished look and reduces wear on the edge of the treads.

stair nosing

Moulding: Use moulding to cover any gaps between the stairs and the wall. This not only enhances the appearance but also protects the edges of the stairs. Choose moulding that complements your flooring and other trim in your home.

6. Maintaining Your Wood Stairs and Flooring

Maintaining your wood stairs and flooring is essential to keep them looking beautiful and prolong their lifespan. Here are some tips for proper maintenance:

Regular Cleaning: Sweep or vacuum your stairs and floors regularly to remove dirt and debris. Use a damp mop for deeper cleaning, but avoid excessive water, which can damage the wood.

Protective Measures: Use rugs or runners on high-traffic areas to protect the wood from scratches and wear. Place mats at entryways to trap dirt and moisture.

Preventive Care: Use felt pads on the bottom of furniture to prevent scratches. Avoid dragging heavy objects across the wood.

Periodic Refinishing: Over time, the finish on your stairs and flooring may wear down. Periodically refinish the wood to restore its beauty and protect it from damage. This may involve sanding and applying a new coat of stain and finish.

7. Exploring Design Options

While matching your stairs to your solid wood flooring is a popular choice, you also have the option to explore different design approaches. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Contrasting Colors: Instead of matching the exact color of your flooring, you can choose a complementary color for your stairs. For example, if you have light oak floors, consider dark walnut stairs for a striking contrast.

Mixed Materials: Combine wood with other materials like metal or glass for a modern and unique look. Metal railings or glass balusters can add an industrial or contemporary touch.

Patterned Stairs: Create visual interest by using patterned wood or tiles on the risers. This can add a playful and artistic element to your staircase.

Decorative Accents: Incorporate decorative accents such as inlays or carvings into your stair design. These details can add character and elegance to your home.

8. Hiring a Professional

While DIY projects can be rewarding, matching stairs to solid wood flooring can be complex and time-consuming. Hiring a professional can ensure that the job is done correctly and efficiently. Here’s why you might consider hiring a professional:

Expertise: Professionals have the experience and skills needed to handle the intricacies of stair installation and wood finishing.

Precision: A professional will take precise measurements and ensure that the treads and risers fit perfectly.

Quality: Hiring a professional can result in a higher-quality finish, with fewer mistakes and a more polished appearance.

Time-Saving: Professionals can complete the project more quickly than most DIY enthusiasts, allowing you to enjoy your new stairs sooner.

9. Case Studies and Examples

To inspire your project, let’s look at a few case studies and examples of successful stair and flooring matches:

Case Study 1: A homeowner with maple flooring throughout the main level wanted to match their staircase. They chose maple treads and risers with a natural finish. The result was a seamless transition from the living room to the upstairs, enhancing the home’s open and airy feel.

Case Study 2: Another homeowner had dark walnut flooring and wanted a bold contrast for their stairs. They opted for white-painted risers and dark walnut treads. This combination added a classic touch and highlighted the beauty of the dark wood.

Case Study 3: In a modern home, the owners decided to mix materials. They used hickory wood for the treads and metal railings for a contemporary look. The natural grain of the hickory complemented the sleek metal, creating a stylish and unique staircase.


Matching your stairs with solid wood flooring can transform your home, creating a cohesive and elegant interior. By carefully selecting the right wood species, matching the finish, considering the treads and risers, and using proper installation techniques, you can achieve a beautiful and harmonious look. Whether you choose to match exactly or explore contrasting designs, the key is to plan carefully and pay attention to detail.

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