When I first suggested a black banister to Alvin his response was "but there's no black in our home". My response? Don't worry, I have a plan! That plan was painted windows. After thinking on it a bit I decided those windows should also be mirrors to help brighten the dark stairway.
Pro-tip: Use mirrors in dark spaces. They'll reflect light and make it brighter and seem larger.
I was lucky and got these three windows for free. My mom had just put in new windows into their old home. Aren't these great?! Other good places to look for cheap windows for DIY projects are the Raleigh flea market and the Durham ReUse Warehouse.
First step is to wash the windows. I know I know. You can hardy contain your excited. Window washing is my favorite (*sarcasm*) chore too. Because I actually hate washing windows I didn't do a great job and you can see that. The mirror spray will show everything left on those windows including smear marks from the "washing", so don't be like me and half-ass this step. It is way more crucial than I realized.
Next step is to scrape off any paint that is on the glass. I used a putty scraper for this. Again, the mirror spray will show everything that's left on the glass. I finished working with the glass by wiping it all down with a microfiber cloth.
Here's the fun part! I used Krylon Mirror Finish spray to create a mirror look. I used 5-6 coats of it. They still look dusty, probably partly from poor cleaning and partly just how the spray turns out. It works for old windows to look a bit like old mirrors though. And for a grand total of $36 to do three windows, can't complain too much. I think they really help tie in the banister and with the black on the staircase, our fireplace pops more. Funny how things play off each other.