Please reconsider painting your woodwork. Unless there are seriously unusual circumstances, most folks hate to buy a home with beautiful old woodwork that's been painted. If yours has made it this long without paint, please help it continue.
If you want to lighten the look of the room, you can do it in other ways. If you are painting because it looks worn, you can "flow" the old finish, a much easier task than painting, with beautiful results. I don't know exactly how you do it, but it basically consists of using something like alcohol to make the finish somewhat wet again and all the cracks, scratches, etc. fill in. My mother-in-law did this to an antique bed and it looks marvelous.
I know this isn't the advice you are looking for, but perhaps it will help.
Yes, the steps are carpeted an emerald green color. I like your suggestion of painting the spindles white and leave the handrail stained, but my problem is with these large 8' spindles that are in the living room that are seen as you go up the steps to the living room. Any suggestion on an easy way to paint these? Keep in mind, I am a novice painter and kind of messy when I paint. Thanks for your help.
But it is your funeral. :-) You really should do what you want. I frankly would avoid any advice you receive over the Internet on a chat board on this question because color is an incredibly subjective design element that depends entirely upon your preferences, design objectives, the lighting, the dimensions, and the surrounding environment. My bright and cheery white room could be your blinding headache. There also is no way I can tell you whether I think there would be "too much white there" because I have never seen what "there" looks like, no less considered all the other design objectives. I feel your pain of trying to get a second opinion to make sure you do it right, but there is no way we can really help you without being there.
The wood banister and spindles were only installed about 5 years ago, so it is only pine, not a beautiful oak grain. You mentioned something about a rejuvenating process that would lighten the wood. Exactly what is that because that sounds like something I may consider doing if it is not too difficult.