Decorating a Stairway Wall


Design Overview

  • The stairway wall can be a challenging space to decorate. One of the reasons is because of its odd shape and location. Some people find it challenging to decorate a stairway wall because as you go up each step, the height of the wall changes as well, giving it an uneven height. The main challenge is how one can add decorations without making the wall look unbalanced or out of place.

    Oftentimes, people who add decorations on the stairway wall cannot decide on whether to hang a painting, family photos, wallpaper or other form of artwork. The wall becomes intimidating because some of the pieces that the homeowner would bring home do not go well with the size or color of the wall.

    One thing one should keep in mind is that, although the stairway wall may have a different shape or dimension, is that it is just a wall. Forget about the staircase, it is a wall no matter how you put it. Hanging family pictures, paintings and any artwork should be similar to hanging them on a leveled wall as long as you remember about the rule of thumb in hanging them at eye level.

Painting Techniques

  • A dull and dreary stairway wall becomes lively again with a splash of color. If your stairway wall does not continue on to the wall on the living areas, you can paint it a different shade of color or a complementary color to make it work with the other walls in the house. A separate stairway wall can pop out with the use of bold colors that may match some of the accessories or artwork seen around the house. You can also add some painting techniques, such as sponging, ragging or stamping, to make them more interesting because of the added patterns and textures. As the light casts off on the stairway walls, they dramatically transform.

    Stenciling is also a way to add color and patterns to a stairway wall. Add stencils along the borders close to the staircase thresholds. This will provide an added decorating touch to the lower border of the wall.

    Paint with stripes. Use horizontal or vertical stripes. The horizontal lines can give the stairway wall a wider or longer appearance, while the vertical stripes will give it a taller appearance. Painting stripes would be ideal in smaller homes or basement stairway walls where space is at a minimum.

Hanging Art Pieces

  • When hanging art pieces on stairway walls, think about the eye level when you are on the step lined up to the wall. Hang multiple similar frames at different levels with the next frame a few inches higher than the previous one to mimic the direction of the staircase. As you go up the stairs, each succeeding piece would go up as well. When choosing the right size of art piece, make sure to pick those that would work with the height or total size of the wall. If you hang pictures that are too small, they may disappear on the wall. If the pieces are too large, they may look too overwhelming and heavy for the wall.

    Some people opt to put more pieces on the wall. To avoid messing up the look of the wall, try the pieces on the floor first. Line them up the way you want to hang them, and then edit the placement to make them look balanced. You can also use templates that you can hang on the wall to see how the entire wall would look when you hang your pieces together. Avoid overcrowding with too many photos.

    Add mirrors to brighten up dark stairways. The mirrors can also add the illusion of space as they makes the area look larger.

    Finally, use a level to ensure that no pieces are crooked or slanted.

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  • Photo Credit Stairway image by Miodrag Trajkovic from
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