How To Decorate A Staircase Wall

Questions about how to decorate a staircase wall are something I get pretty often.

This post featuring our stairway wall first appeared here in October, 2019 – but I’ve gone back and updated it significantly with brand new staircase ideas for you today.

How To Decorate A Staircase Wall example of a front entry staircase with art going up the wallPhoto of our home’s front entry staircase – the paint color on the trim and wainscotting here is Benjamin Moore White Dove paint. Pro tip: Decorative elements like wainscotting goes a long way when it comes to adding visual interest on stair walls.

Staircase Wall Decorating Ideas

What are some great staircase wall decorating ideas?

Your stairs are an important feature of your home.

This much-used part of the home is often one of the first things guests see when they enter your house.

Rather than a purely pass-through space – staircase walls can be easily transformed into a beautiful interior design feature.

Even if you don’t have a grand staircase or a dramatic spiral staircase, most stairs have a large staircase wall.

This wall is the perfect opportunity to showcase your personal style and make this space feel like you.

For example, the photo above is from my own front foyer.

The three silhouette paintings of my kids are my favorite pieces.

So showcasing these in the front foyer on the staircase wall was a perfect fit. (If you’re interested, there’s a lot more info on these three silhouettes in this post.)

With a little planning, staircase walls can be converted into gallery walls to showcase your favorite art.

In fact, since this space is first thing your guests will see when they enter your home, this really is the perfect place to showcase your favorite pieces.

Moreover, gallery walls are a fun decorating idea that can add instant personality to your home.

But before you break out a hammer and nails, here are a few things you should do first.

Staircase Wall Decor Ideas

The first step is to consider the actual design of the staircase wall itself.

Is this a small space?

Determine if there is a window?

What do you want the walls to look like? A pristine plain white wall? A bold color? Wallpaper?

Is the wall curved? Are there any high ceilings to consider?

Is there a color scheme already in place in the main living space to work off of?

And, is there a chair rail or other architectural features like wainscotting to consider?

Lastly, take a look at the wall from all angles, from the landing space (if there is one) and the top of the stairs as well.

Making A Staircase Gallery Wall

1. Pick a focus.

This doesn’t necessarily mean picking one theme that every item on the wall ties into.

But if you’re thinking you want to have several items hung on your staircase wall, you’ll want to plan around a focal point.

For example, if you’re thinking of hanging family photos, lay those out first.

Or, if you’re planning on hanging a large canvas or important work of art, start there.

Focus on where or what you want people to see first and build out the different frames or collage display around this.

A stairway gallery wall for narrow staircases can be tricky, think in terms of where there is an empty space to work with and focus there first.

black photos frames from Amazon


2. Get some nice frames.

Everything looks infinitely better when it’s beautifully framed.

There are so many different styles on the market – but here are a few ideas to get you started…

For instance, two of my personal favorite sources for great-looking frames are Framebridge and West Elm.

Whatever you choose, the point is to really make your art pieces or pictures pop.

Don’t feel like all of the frames need to match either!

Gallery walls with matching frames are a classic look.

However, if you’re into more of an eclectic look, then go with more of a hodgepodge of styles.

It’s up to you depending on what kind of vibe you’re going for.

Flea markets and antique stores are a great source for finding interesting frames, decorative items and wall décor.

There are so many different ways to go about this and no one way is the right way.

It’s all about personal style

black and white photos on a staircase wallExample of our back staircase. We went with simple staircase wall decor where we hung family photographs with simple black frames. Paint color here is Farrow and Ball Elephant’s Breath. More info on our Antelope Print stair runner.

How To Arrange Photos On Staircase Walls

3. Measure. Then Measure again.

Before you actually start hammering, be sure to measure your area at least twice!

A major key to beautiful wall art collages is evenly spaced, carefully measured pictures.

The last thing you want is to spend tons of time building out your gallery wall, take a step back to enjoy your handiwork, and realize the spacing is off.

Measure the back of the frames you choose to make sure you’re hammering where the nail holes need to go for the picture to hang straight.

Make sure you’re double-checking your math as you calculate the distance between different frame sizes and thicknesses.

And when you’re finished use a level to make sure everything is hanging straight.

This same advice applies regardless of your staircase design.

I recently found this picture hanging tool on Amazon.

This tool’s amazing for hanging pieces with two hooks on the back, because it marks the wall exactly where you need to place the hook or nail.

chandelier over small staircase.

4. Think outside the photo and art frame box!

Decorating the wall space of your staircase is such a great way to add your personality to an under-decorated area of your home.

Gather up your favorite pieces and display them!

One last idea is to create a gallery wall using only mirrors.

Interior designers often recommend this idea for walls on a narrow staircase.

Think vintage and antique mirrors going up the entire wall -so chic!

An easy way to make a big impact on plain walls.

This look can be achieved fairly inexpensively with sites and shops like eBay and Etsy.

Another good place to shop for pieces like this is 1st Dibs.

Look for frames that are all in a similar color or finish to give the wall a cohesive look.

Or, just go with one gorgeous ornate mirror as a large statement piece, you can never go wrong with this choice.

The same holds true for one beautiful piece of oversized art.

Utilized near a window, this a great way to bounce natural light around.

framed photos on a staircase wall.Framebridge’s set of frames for favorite photos.

How High Should You Hang Pictures Or A Piece Of Art On A Staircase?

Measure the staircase wall at 56 inches from the bottom stair.

Repeat this process on the top step and in a couple of spots along a mid-stairway landing.

This height marks the average eye level and should serve as the center focal point for your most important art or photo.

Staircase Wall Ideas Conclusion

Staircase walls are a lot of fun, and can offer a great canvas on which to express your personality.

Whether you choose a theme or create a collage of several different ideas, adding to your staircase walls will improve your overall home decor.

However you approach it, your staircase will go from a part of your home you overlooked to a major expression of your personal style.

I hope this comprehensive guide has inspired you to zhush up your staircase wall!


If you’re looking for even more inspiration…

Be sure to check out these other posts below:

Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist Paint Review.

Modern Coastal Design Ideas.

The Best Family Picture Wall Ideas.
Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace Wall Color Paint Review.
Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.Benjamin Moore White Dove Paint Review.
The Top 10 Paint Colors For Your Kitchen Cabinets.
The best creamy white color for your home.

Furniture Protection For Your Wood Floors.

Beautiful and Creative Way To Decorate With Faux Florals.
9 Best Paint Colors For Your Living Room

The Best Paint Colors For Your Family Room.

Finally –

Interior design enthusiasts! Have you joined our fun and VERY helpful design oriented Facebook group?

In this private group – members share their own photos with specific design questions and dilemmas from their own homes and spaces.

We all chime in with our best advice!

We also spill our best sources and tips – it’s SO great for sourcing hard to find items and pieces.

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In it you’ll find all sorts of quick tips and handy interior design measurements.

It’s a must have “go to” for all of your home decor projects.

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Leave a Comment


  1. Amin Karani wrote:

    Want to decorate wall back side of starecase and also down side

    Published on 7.23.23 · Reply
  2. So many great tips for hanging staircase art. I love your silhouettes! Happy Monday, Sue!

    Published on 10.28.19 · Reply