If we can't refinish the stairs then this might work. DIY: How To Cut, Paint & Install Stair Treads + How To Remove Carpeting + How To Install A Stair Runner (awesome step-by-step tutorial & pictures!) - these are excellent tutorials!
This DIY staircase makeover was accomplished in a weekend and looks like a professional job! Need to tackle your own staircase makeover? Come check out full details from Designer Trappe (Basement Step)