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How to Update an Orange Oak Banister

If you have an ugly orange banister railing then this is a quick and affordable way to give it an update! No need to remove anything or spend a ton of money to dramatically improve the look of your staircase.

DIY Banister Project

Why was this orange oak banister ever a thing!? It’s like a spray tan gone wrong for staircases!

I didn’t want to spend the money to replace the entire structure, so I looked into a cheaper alternative to update my staircase railing.


Quickly Update an Orange Banister Railing

I couldn’t live with an orange banister railing, especially with recently installed floors that didn’t match.

To save money, I decided to stain my railing instead of replacing everything.

Since I recently installed Pergo flooring in the color Java Scraped Oak, I went with the stain color Kona by Varathane.

The Kona stain matched my Java Scraped Oak Pergo floors and DIY Console table perfectly.

If you are interested in learning how to install laminate flooring to match your newly stained staircase railing, view our post here.

how to update an orange staircase railing

Items Required to Stain a Banister:

  • 1 quart of Varathane stain with poly in the color Kona Semi-Gloss.
  • Wooster Brush for Stain and Varnishes
  • Lots of rags and drop clothes
  • Painters tape
  • Mask
  • Gloves

Items Required for Painting Spindles:


How to Prep a Staircase for Staining

I first wiped down the banister with a damp sponge to remove any residue or dust from any areas that were going to be stained.

After I wiped the staircase with a damp sponge, I dried the staircase with a towel and placed several drop clothes under the areas that I would be staining.

I also, used painters’ tape around the top and bottom of the spindles to achieve a clean line.

The spindles on my staircase were already white, so I only had to touch up the spindles with a quick coat of white paint.

I used semi-gloss trim paint and a paint brush to touch up the spindles.

My favorite trim paint is Showcase by Sherwin Williams in semi-gloss.

If your spindles aren’t already white, you may want to use a painter’s mitt to apply the paint quicker.

banister railing
Tape the railings

Tips for Staining Your Banister

  • Wear a mask
  • Stain in a well ventilated area
  • Wear gloves
  • Reuse your brush multiple times by placing it in an airtight bag

How to Stain a Banister

I preferred to use a brush when applying the stain to the banister, but I know some people would rather use a rag or an old t-shirt to apply the stain.

Either a brush or a rag will work great to apply this stain, it is all preference here.

Begin applying the first coat of stain with a Wooster brush made for stain and varnishes.

I lightly applied the stain with my brush in the same direction of the grain of the wood.

Make sure to go with the grain or your stain will look really sloppy when it dries.

The first couple of coats of stain looked very streaky, so don’t panic it will look better after another coat of stain.

Before applying the second coat, make sure the stain feels dry to the touch.

After I applied the second coat of stain, the staircase railing already looked so much better.

I used a total of three coats of stain to complete the staircase railing.

If you are using a different color stain, it might take more or less coats of stain to cover the orange banister.

banister railing

Top Protective Coat for Banister

Since the Varathane stain has polyurethane mixed in with the stain, there is no need for a top coat.

You cannot go wrong with Varathane stain with poly because this product really lasts!

I have used Varathane on so many wood projects throughout my home.

Even with crazy toddlers running around beating up everything in my home, the stain holds up great!

I stained this staircase a few years ago and it still looks amazing!


It’s really that’s easy to get rid of a cheap looking banister.

This staircase railing dramatically updated the whole look and feel of my home!

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