Stairwell plans: a new outlet, lights and new handrail

Jun 23 2024
This post may include affiliate links Click here to read my Disclosure and Copyright or, for more information on how this website collects your data, click here to view my Privacy Policy. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

With the sheetrock and patches complete in the stairwell I can finally move on to taping, mudding, trim and painting. However summer is also upon us so much of my time will be outside tackling our outdoor projects. Getting this stairwell completed is going to take me some time as I’m, “Working on it a little here and there, mostly on rainy days, for now!” So, in the interim, I thought I’d share my stairwell plans with you guys.

When I first started work on this house, I designed this area with the idea that someday I may want to rent out the basement. Its pretty ideal as renters would have had their own outside entrance with straight shot down to their apartment.

I would have locked the interior door between us and created a “closet” down our step to the landing. The steps would have been great for shoes and, above it, I would have hung a rod for coats.

So, when I ran the electrical I put the light switch in the most logical spot – in immediate reach of the outside door.

But I come down here a lot actually and it sure would be nice if I didn’t have to fumble down our steps to reach around the corner to turn on the light…

So, what’s a girl to do?

I know there are plenty of motion sensor night lights etc. on the market so, first thing, I would definitely be adding an outlet at the top step. But then my brain just kept on going and I went looking for a motion sensor “plug-in” on the idea that maybe I could run lights down the stairs…

(That was surprisingly hard to search for actually. I just wanted a plugin that would turn on and off according to motion so anything I would plug into it would click off after so much time of no motion.)

Like maybe a line of LED lights down either side of the stairs and even wrapped right around the whole stairwell?

And it would all come on with just a STEP in here?

Well, yeah, obviously I’m going to have to add that to my stairwell plans!

When we finished our basement we went for a speak easy / music vibe, hanging Lodi’s guitars and setting up his amp. So I thought it would be kind of cool if not only the LEDs automatically would come on, but… what about a sign?

I found this “ON AIR” sign on amazon. I’m going to hang it on the far wall so it will double as a “don’t hit your head” and a “welcome” to our speak easy.

The height, at that point in the stairwell, is only about six feet so its a head bonker… of course not for me as I’ve been 5’5″ since I was 12 lol.

Above the “ON AIR” sign will be an opportunity to hang something and I’m thinking a mirror because it would directly reflect the glass door opposite, opening the space up and giving the impression of a window.

In the basement we made all of our hardware out of industrial pipe.

So, we’ll be building our new hand rail here out of pipe as well – here’s what it will look like.

I still have to do some price comparison on whether or not to just buy the rail like in the above link or build the rail from the hardware store. Last I checked there wasn’t a whole lot of cost difference but the hardware store sells pipe like its meant to be used so its greasy and nasty to handle… while the Amazon link is meant for looks and handling so its also a perfect solid black in color.

Of course I’m getting ahead of myself as I still have to finish the walls and painting. (I just now remembered I also have to paint the outside door too…) I’m going to paint the whole space white and of course I’ll be keeping the old house siding you can see on the far wall.

But I still need to decide on what to do with the stairs.

I know we’ll be going black but I am really considering covering each tread (or the whole thing) in black carpet.

(When I say “carpet” I mean something more like an indoor / outdoor rug material.)

The stairs have been beat to heck over the years so I would have to replace a lot of the treads to have something that would look decent so, covering them, would save me a ton of work and it would also be safer too.

But black carpet would also show EVERYTHING so we would constantly be vacuuming them…

Last (but not least) is the ceiling light.

Currently its a recessed light like we have in the rest of the house but I am awfully tempted to get a black down shining pendant light and maybe even swag it farther into the stairwell.

Changing the bulb would be more of a pain then but it would provide a lot more light on the steps which this dark stairwell could really use.

I’m really surprised at how excited I’ve become about this little space! Who knew a stairwell could actually be fun to finish?

So, now that I've plunged into patching, taping, mudding, trim and painting I wanted to get you guys up to date on my stairwell plans!


  1. Toni in Niagara
    June 23, 2024 at 3:23 pm

    You go girl!
    For the stairs, just get some stair runners aka stair treads. Those are just a little carpet for each step – long sideways but short front to back. You can staple them on. They are pretty durable, super easy to install and are relatively cheap. So many styles and patterns too. We painted our stairs yellow and put checkerboard treads on them. Looks great, cleans easily and easy on the budget.
    Keep on keepin’ on girl!
    Best wishes!

    • June 24, 2024 at 9:04 am

      Thank you Toni and that’s a great idea!

  2. July 22, 2024 at 9:54 pm

    This concept sounds super cute. For some reason I always think of the show Riverdale when I think of Speak Easy decor. I love it. Would mounted motion sensor led lights that can be recharged work? We have some Amazon that work well.

    • July 24, 2024 at 11:18 am

      Mounted sensor lights are a good idea! I’ll have to consider that, thank you!

Leave a Comment