Of all the things I have coveted for my own home, wainscoting in my stairwell is #1, number one, numero uno.
Before I go too far, let me show you where we started:
When we purchased our home, the front hall and stairwell was painted industrial grayish white and the trim was all poorly maintained dark wood. It was a dungeon and we really, really didn't like it.
Fortunately, my mom came to visit one weekend a couple years after we bought the house and we worked her to the bone for a couple of days until we had a beautiful, striking, deep red entryway and stairwell with white painted trim.