How to Decorate the Wall Under Stairs


Odd-shaped walls erase all hope of a symmetrical room design. But that doesn't mean that all of your decorating know-how should fly out the proverbial window. Plan your design around awkward walls by choosing elements that function well within the architectural space. For that triangular wall beneath a staircase, decorate with carefully situated vertical elements and functional conversation pieces that keep the eye in the room or on a carefully mapped path upstairs.

  • Replace the existing closet door with a sliding door to conserve floor space. Change the hardware on the door.

  • Remove the closet door and board up the space with drywall if the storage space is not being used. Store the door in an attic or cellar for flexibility with future remodels.

  • Install shelving to create a storage space for books and knick-knacks.

  • Hang a hook rack to make room for coats if the staircase is near an entryway.

  • Paint the wall a bold accent color. Select a tone in the same color family as the rest of the walls -- e.g., if the walls are cream paint the walls a warm gold or yellow.

  • Hang a single photo frame or storage basket at eye-level centered between the vertical edge and the slanted edge that runs along the staircase.

  • Display several, small photographs in a triangular, tiered display that mimics the wall's shape -- i.e., hang three pictures in the lowest tier just below eye-level, two at eye-level, and one above eye-level. Line up each tier with the vertical wall and ensure that the distance between the edge of the wall and the frames is equal on both sides. Use frameless picture frames to maximize space and avoid visual clutter.

  • Place a sofa, chair or table in front of the wall. Make sure that the height of the piece does not exceed half of the wall's total height; high-backed pieces can make the wall appear narrower, and the room smaller.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not install paneled railings on the staircase as the solid wall can make the room seem smaller. Instead opt for railings that reveal the staircase wall and create the illusion of space.
  • Keep the space cluter-free to avoid drawing undue attention to the area's awkward shape.

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