add wood wallpaper to the kick plates of the stairs. Those rolls are expensive but you would only need one. Not practical with white treads though, it will be stuffed up from black shoe soles in no time.
I call these baskets Crap Baskets. because when I find things around the house that need to go upstairs, I just put all the "stuff" in their basket and then "THEY" have to bring up all their own crap.hence Crap Baskets.