I like the idea of decorating staircase treads. In one of the most stunning examples, Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher worked with over 300 volunteers to create this mosaic:

Mosaic Stairs The 16th Avenue Tiles Steps in San Francisco

The steps contain over 2,000 handmade tiles and 75,000 fragments of tile, mirror and stained glass.

San Francisco Tiled StairsThe 16th Avenue Tiles Steps in San Francisco

Even the average person with a supply of paint can brighten up the staircase in their life.   I like Horst Glasker’s work, using Pantone colors for these steps.

Horst Glasker pantone stepsHorst Glasker Pantone Steps

Decorated steps are not a new idea.  The famous decorated staircase of Caltagirone paved the way long ago.  (sorry:)

Tiled staircase of CaltagironeTiled Steps of Caltagirone, Italy

There are 142 steps in the staircase, each decorated with a unique design.

Tiled stairs at CaltagironeTiled Steps of Caltagirone, Italy

Caltagirone is located on the island of Sicily, and is long famous for its pottery, specifically majolica and terra cotta ware. The staircase was built in 1608.

San Francisco steps Via My Modern Met