How to Create This Staircase On A budget! - French Grain Sack Style

How to Create This Staircase On A budget! today I will talk you through the thought process and practicality of choosing this option.

You need to decide first of all is it practical, are the stairs in a good enough condition and thirdly will it make me smile! if the answer is yes then just buy the paint and start the process.

What you will need

Eggshell paint/or chalk and varnish

Masking Tape 

Tape measure or template 

A steady hand

Lots of enthusiasm

Glass of wine! ( I work better fuelled on a glass of wine and music!)

Don't forget the music! I have a Bose carry around orange speaker the best £99 I have ever spent, Tiny. until you turn it on! (so I don't lose it I choose the vibrant Orange, it also straps to my bike! ) Music on the go I call it.

1. Grain sack idea on a budget to give you that French country feel

Prepare your surface properly lightly sand fill in any dents or holes with wood filler and sand to make the surface as smooth as possible. This is the important bit! every little dint or mark shows twice as much when its painted. So prepare, prepare, prepare! but don't be obsessive!

2. Paint the whole staircase in a base colour like a fresh white, I would do two coats. Alternatively you can mask off the centre section paint the white sides let those dry for a day then paint the middle so at least you have a dry bit to step on before going to bed!, I have painted stairs at midnight before then absolutely shattered haven't been able to go to bed! so wake up and do it first thing. Make sure pets are out of the way because of those loose hairs and footprints. The spring or summer is an ideal time to paint so the drying time can be taken in the garden doing other jobs. Wait until everyones gone out or send them on a long walk!! My colour suggestions for the middle section would be a linen colour something like F&B's Shadow White or Shaded White or Little Green Paint Company's Rolling Fog or Rolling Fog Mid 

Or Annie Sloane Country Grey and Old White Old Violet  which is a superb contrasting colour for the stripe. This is their fabulous description! Like deep Parma violets or blue lavender, Old Violet is a Chalk Paint® colour inspired by the purple found in 18th Century interiors as well as ancient Rome. Beautiful on its own or paired with red for a little Parisian boho.

For the base I love Annie Sloans Pure or F&Bs School House White

No.291 or alternatively use Little green Paint Companies Loft White A sharp fresh white.

Annie Sloane has a great feature presuming your not a designer when you have clicked on the colour of your choice you then get some colour suggestions.
A sample pot comes in at £5.95
The Litre is £21.95 

3.Then Mask off your desired runner ie the French stripes this is where a steady hand comes in the colours I have chosen for this are either Old Violet  by Annie Sloane or James is a nice soft blue from The Little Green Paint Company 

  • * Kerrie's top tip if your nearing the bottom of the tin with Annie Sloane Chalk Paint is if its looking like you may not have enough paint left to finnish leave the lid off as the paint seams to thicken then add a tiny bit of water to loosen it up, of course diluting it will alter the colour slightly so finnish one full step before diluting and do it in an area not as visual.
    With this paint you will need to varnish over the top to create a hard wearing surface, as we are going with the French theme always do a matt varnish pretty much any matt varnish will do apply it with a pad not brush and do not shake the bottle as it will leave tiny bubbles which will not automatically disappear once applied. Annie Sloane recommend Chalk Paint Lacquer a posh word for varnish! This is their description


    Chalk Paint® Lacquer is a hard-wearing, water-based polyacrylic varnish with built-in UV protection. Use it over Chalk Paint® for a robust finish that will withstand general wear and tear – perfect for dining room tables, outdoor furniture, floors and skirting boards. It goes on perfectly clear and dries quickly without yellowing over time.

    Matt Lacquer provides a matt finish and will slightly darken the colour of the Chalk Paint®, similarly to Chalk Paint® Wax. Gloss Lacquer gives a light sheen, but is not ultra glossy. Although it doesn't give a size it looks like a 1 litre pot which will be more than enough to do a few projects. This is prices at £21.95.

    You can also buy any matt varnish buy 1 litre just google it they come in price wise from £6 up to £18.00 its just the tin that's not posh! 

2. Number your stairs great if you have children learning to count by just going up stairs is such a lovely idea! Just buy a stencil they have a number of styles at The Stencil Studio where they are £5.52 each they also have lots of other stencils you can choose from if you want a more traditional look try their Moroccan stencils I used to use stencils years ago I think they are making a big comeback its a cheaper alternative to wallpaper and just as effective.

3. Simple Style - Paint the top a different colour to the underneath, this idea shows such a freshness but with interest. I have done this in turtledove hideaway and I love it. I chose dark grey tops and white fronts because when you get to the top of the stairs you see the grey plank boards I fit either end of the room which I painted grey I also used white bedding and the dark grey accessories on the bed to tie in the whole look.


This is how Turtledove Hideaway looks when you have gone upstairs! I usually rent out the little famous cottage but we are all on lock down so hope it eases soon so I can invite some new guests to stay.

1. Art The Finnish Line 

2. Rolling Fog Mid (The Little Green Paint Company)

3. James (The Little Green Paint Company)

4. White Paint colour Loft White (The Little Green Paint Company) The White Grass Storage  Baskets are (The Interior Co)

5. Sandpiper  (The Interior Co)

6. Square Wicker Basket (The Interior Co)

7. Hand made signs (The Interior Co) 

 I have just finished my staircase in a period farmhouse with my hand made signs available to buy online

I hope you have enjoyed my blog, do let me know! if you want me to choose your colours for your stairs or room makeover then book one of my £99 colour consultations. Here is the link.


Im also on pinterest where I have loads of practical tips and room inspiration, here is my link

If you want to try with grain sack itself I have found these stair runners on Etsy  

1 comment

  • I tried to order paint samples from the little greene paint company,to do my stairway but they couldn’t ship it. It is in another country. Is there another way to get the paint? Maybe somewhere is the US?

    Janice Kosiba

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