Joe and I had some left over gel stain from our kitchen island staining project so we decided, let's stain the banister too! Our banister is beautiful but it suddenly became the mismatched piece in our house once we added a dark media cabinet, dark kitchen table and a dark island. Staining it would really help make the house more cohesive and you know I love to match:)
Gel stain is supposed to be painted on, let set, and then rubbed off but since part of our island was laminate, it wouldn't absorb enough to rub off. We ended up just letting it dry (if you don't wipe off, it takes longer to dry) and it totally looks great! I was afraid of it looking like we just painted it brown but the wood grain really shows through.
We decided not to add a polyurethane coating to the banister because we like the flat look and thought the glossy finish would be too formal.
The hardest part was getting the underside of the banister and taking time around all the white spindles, but as you can see, I made myself comfortable. Here's how it turned out....