For starters, I suggested to tear out the carpet and replace it with a wood staircase. I have always loved the look of white risers against a darker hardwood floor, I think the white really pops and is such a nice contrast with the dark. My client's hardwood floor was a lighter colored oak that almost had a yellowy/amber tone. I suggested to have her floors refinished in a espresso color.
The existing paint color was in need of being updated. We narrowed the new paint color down to a pretty greige tone that would be the perfect backdrop to the new look. Of course I recommended adding wainscot to the staircase to add an extra level of sophistication and create an overall polished look. I thought it would look sharp to tie in the wainscot paint color to the risers for a look that flows.