The 10 best ways to adorn your staircase walls

Since they cover such a large area, staircase walls are deserving of some decorative focus, and these staircase wall ideas can help.  

Painting, wallpapering, or paneling a staircase can make it more than just a functional part of your home; similarly, hanging artwork, sculpture, or other displays on the wall can add character and make it more than just a passageway.

We have compiled some ideas for the walls of your staircase and included some professional tips to help you create a unique and beautiful hallway.  

Decorative Panels for Staircases

Modern and traditional homes alike can benefit from creative uses of the blank wall space above and below the staircase. Our favorite staircase makeovers range from structural additions like paneling to easy fixes like hanging artwork.

(1) Write a short scene.

Curved staircase with side table and stools at base and artwork on wall

Photographer Greg Riegler's work can be seen in In Detail Interiors.

There is always a space that can become a focal point with clever styling, whether you're looking for landing ideas or a way to draw attention to the wall at the bottom of the stairs.  

As the manager of the In Detail Interiors showroom, Liz Lapan explains, "In this particular project, we were bringing a more classic, but sort of stodgy, interior space up to date, and refreshing the entry area helped set a better tone for the house all around." In this new window:

"After painting, we wanted to maintain a pristine atmosphere while providing a cozy corner highlighted by artwork on the walls (stairwell areas are always a great space for more of a salon-style hang with artwork, so a wide variety of styles is welcome here). frames, artwork, and a foyer table with stools  

"Be mindful of sightlines, colors, and lighting at home. use a variety of frame styles, and don't be afraid to test out different arrangements on the floor with the help of a friend before deciding on the final configuration for the wall. ’

Two, set up a showcase

A stairway with beige and red patterned wallpaper

Picture by Jon Day/Future plc.

Sculptural objects are a great choice for a wall display on a staircase wall, and you can easily curate a display using wall decor ideas. These spheres form a fluid form, but they are close enough together to have an effect as a whole.

In spite of being hung against a wallpaper background, their distinct form and surface ensure they stand out. The display and wallpaper go together because they both have curvy lines and complementary colors.

Add some unexpected elements to the stairwell walls.

View up staircase with bright shoes used as artwork on walls

Photo by JL Design.

Innovative solutions for the walls of staircases can be found in less expected places. JL Design principal designer Jessica Davis says, "For an out-of-the-box idea and application, I added shoes on the walls and ceilings, winding up four flights of stairs in this contemporary home." In this new window:   

If you follow the shoes, you'll end up on a rooftop with lounge chairs. Visitors are greeted with a pleasant surprise and treated to bright splashes of color by this installation. ’

(4) Go with a bold wallpaper

Hallway with wood floor and staircase with Chinoiserie wallpaper and view to living room

(Photo by Chris Bradley, courtesy of M Lavender Interiors)

Hallway wallpaper ideas are an obvious choice for transforming a staircase into a focal point rather than a functional passageway.

Mark Lavender, owner of M. Lavender Interiors, says, "The stairway in this photo is located in the main entrance to the home." In this new window:  

The Shanghai wallpaper by Scalamandré was the perfect way to make a bold first impression on guests. We made the bold move to paint every wall and even put the same fabric on the Roman blinds. ’

The walls of a stairwell should be paneled instead of painted.

Hallway with chandelier seen from dining room with staircase with panelled walls

(Photo by Nathan Schroder, courtesy of Dodson Interiors)

Staircase walls that are paneled in are a timeless design choice that serves a dual purpose.

According to Julie Dodson of Dodson Interiors, "Paneling adds depth to this entryway, and dresses up the space." In this new window: As an easy-to-clean material, paneling is ideal for stairwells.  

Walls were textured and depth added because "we wanted to add some character to this restored home that had been gutted." Wallpaper would work for this, but it wasn't the homeowners' taste. They are a hybrid of traditional and contemporary styles, so we gave them a contemporary makeover by installing square-cut paneling. ’

Extend the perspective by a factor of 6

Staircase from above with runner on floor and mirrors on the wall

(Photograph by Roger Oates)

If you want to decorate the wall of your staircase, you might want to hang a mirror there as well. Using mirrors as part of your home's decor is a great way to show off the stairs, the runner or carpet you chose, and any artwork you have displayed on them from a new and interesting angle.

Because of its size, a mirror or artwork hung on a staircase wall can be enlarged to create a more minimal aesthetic.

7: Take risks with your artwork.

Hallway with wood floor and rug, view to dining room and staircase with plaid wallpaper and artwork

(Photograph by Janet Mesic Mackie, courtesy of M Lavender Interiors)

Staircase gallery walls are a common home design choice because the artwork can get plenty of attention in a high-traffic area.

In Mark Lavender's words, "Our client had a very eclectic and robust art collection including these famous prints." Simply put, the more daring artworks needed a simple background, so we went with a classic black-and-white plaid. ’

8. Use a wall with varying textures on the stairway

Hallway with miniature tree and staircase with textured wall

(Photo by Gracie Henley, courtesy of Missy Stewart Design)

Add a textured finish to the wall along the staircase for a touch of understated but noticeable decoration.  

Missy Stewart, founder of Missy Stewart Designs, describes the stairwell in question as "a floating staircase with a stacked stone wall for its backdrop." In this new window:  

"The illuminated tree is a stunningly beautiful beacon of welcome in this contribution." A city grate replica was added to finish the design. ’

9. Use a harmony of forms in your building's design

Landing with vaulted ceiling and staircase leading down

(Photo by Jack Thompson, courtesy of Dodson Interiors)

It's best to refrain from going overboard with staircase wall ideas when the stairwell is already the home's focal point.  

According to Julie Dodson, "Robert Dame, an architect in Houston, designed this house." The wood beams and uneven ceiling made for an ominous setting for the stairwell. As far as stair decoration goes, sometimes you just have to let the building do the talking. The focus was on textures rather than other factors.

As the author puts it, "the artwork didn't need to be big or overwhelm the space; it's proportional to the small scale of the staircase." The architecture and sombre atmosphere would have been lost in a larger work. ’

10 - Break with convention

Staircase with brown geometric runner and patterned wallpaper

Photography by Chris Bradley (Image courtesy of M Lavender Interiors)

Hanging wallpaper with a timeless pattern can lend a home's foyer an air of tradition while also drawing the eye up the staircase. However, hallway wallpaper ideas can be enhanced by pairing them with more modern furnishings.

According to Mark Lavender, the homeowner's interior designer, "We had selected this very traditional damask wallcovering for a stair hall in their home."  

Against the strictly traditional wallcovering, he says, "we liked the idea of bringing in a more irregular modern pattern" with the stair runner. As a couple, we find the friction between these ideas to be incredibly satisfying. ’

Just how can I spice up my stairwell?

Just like any other room in the house, a stairwell can be made more interesting by altering the walls with paint or wallpaper. Meanwhile, paneling not only adds a stylish touch, but also protects the walls from the inevitable knocks and scrapes that come with having a family.

Think about creating a gallery wall, whether it's based on a common theme or the colors of the frames. An alternative wall display can be made with the help of objects, and because staircase walls can be quite large, this provides an excellent opportunity to showcase everything from wallhangings to eccentric found objects.

In what ways can a narrow stairwell be adorned?

Despite its diminutive stature, a staircase can be a powerful design element. Walls should be painted or wallpapered instead of adorned with pictures or other wall hangings that could be damaged by people walking up and down the stairs in the course of a normal day.

Ideas for staircase carpeting can add color, pattern, and a softer landing for your feet than plain tread paint.  

Changes to the staircase railing, such as new balusters or a handrail made of a more interesting and tactile material, can have a significant effect.  

If you're looking for creative staircase lighting ideas, consider hanging gorgeous pendant lighting instead of using standard ceiling recessed lights.

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