Step Up Your Stairs
Here is the thing about carpeted stairs with stained oak handrails:
They can be improved upon.
Relatively easily! And relatively inexpensively too!
I write this with love, as not only do I have stained oak handrails, but many of my loved ones do too. I'm blessed in that the previous owners of our house ripped up all the carpet, but the handrails remain. I am a hairdresser with bad hair.
(Mind you, you could also do this fix expensively. You can always do it expensively. We won't stop you. Rip out your carpet, replace it with lovely hand scraped walnut, cover it with a rockin' wool runner and replace all the spindles with something beautiful and unexpected while you're at it.)
But until that project is in your budget, just paint anything wood-colored a high gloss black (or a warm black like Benjamin Moore Wenge (AF-180) if your home doesn't like the extreme contrast of black).
If your stairs are one of the first things people see when they walk in, as they are in so many homes, make them presentable. There are loads of ideas to get you started here: http://www.pinterest.com/susanyeleyint/pass-through/.
Wood treads are great but can be slippery; if you're a barefoot or hard-soled indoor-shoe kind of person, you'll be fine. We have them, but I have recurring frightening visions left over from years of young motherhood, in which I slip while wearing socks and carrying an infant down one of the three staircases in our tri-level. (I use these fears to justify terrific indoor shoes. Like these. I could just spend that cash on runners. Or treads: like this or this.)
Painting stripes on basement steps will spice things up.
Just don't get too sentimental if you go for words or poetry risers, please. Try chalkboard paint and you can switch out your messaging according to the time of year, or week, or month: Happy Birthday Dad! Go Jasper Beat Those Tigers! Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night! Etc, etc, etc.