Here's a technical after of the painted stairs, a few years late.
To do this, I painted the stairs tan, then I mixed glaze and paint and did a second dry brush coat. I did another coat of glaze and paint with a darker color, which I used to make the wood grain look. I added a couple coats of polycrylic after that.
I then decided to completely undo all that work and strip the stairs back down to their natural color. Actually, I'm pretty sure they were stained. I'm not sure why, because there are lots of things that should have been done before staining them (I will do those things, but whoever built the house didn't).
After the kids went to bed, I put a coat of Citristrip and some plastic wrap on three stairs.
This was at least one too many. The Citristrip should really be allowed to sit as long as possible since it takes a bit longer to work. I couldn't let it sit overnight, and since I had three stairs to do I also couldn't give it as long as I wanted. I let the stuff sit for three hours, but it was getting late by that point so I had to pull it off.
This is after scraping and many many scrubbing sessions with vinegar, both to neutralize and to clean the stripper. As you can see, the edges stripped very nicely, but the centers are going to be a bit tougher.
I'm not sure about the stain color yet. Once they're fully stripped and sanded I'll see how much of the color they've kept. The floors in this house are pretty light, so the stairs will be too. I think the bedrooms are probably a straight Golden Oak-ish stain, but the stairs might be OK with Natural or half Natural, half Golden Oak. I'd also like to find a low odor sealer at Home Depot now. The last time I looked into it, the closest carrier was an hour away, but that was a few years ago.
I'm hoping to get this all done in two weeks, then I'll move on to one of the many other projects on the winter to do list that I've already started.