Total Basset Case: 5 'steps' for decorating a staircase wall

Oct 8, 2014

5 'steps' for decorating a staircase wall

Get it? Steps...staircase...

Some of you may know that by day I am an interior designer (and I love it!).
And I love getting design questions from friends and family (and readers if you want to send them in!) about areas in their home that they need help with. 
Last week one of my besties sent me a question that I was happy to answer.  The more we talked, the more I realized this was a problem a lot of you may struggle with and why not make it a blog post?

She asked me, 'how in THE world do I decorate up a staircase with photos?'
Well, just about any way you want!
But here are my tips!

1.  Choose which photos you want to display
1a. Vary the sizes
The key to putting together a gallery wall, whether it be a on large, small or staircase wall, is to vary the sizes.  If every piece is the same size, the look becomes monotonous and uninteresting.  Varying sizes keep the eye looking around and interested.  

2.  Choose simliar frames
Similarly shaped and colored frames create a cohesive look, even amidst the different sized photos.
I love thicker black (or white!), square edged frames.
The frames do not all have to be exactly the same but similar enough that they all coordinate.

3.  Create a square or rectangle in your space
Instead of following the angle of the staircase up your wall, create a defined square to contain your photos (or objects).  Maybe it' is just me but I do not love the look of photos cascading up and down the staircase.  It tends to get too busy in my eye, but that is just my personal preference!
Once you have measured out this space, it is easiest to lay these measurements and your photos out on the floor.
Either tape or measure out your area and start laying your pieces out within that area.
Make sure to mix and match your pieces while creating a balance.  You don't want all of your large pieces on one side and all of your small on another.
Another option is to cut out pieces of paper that are the same size as your photos and use painters tape to attach them to the wall.  This helps you see the arrangement and move and relocate pieces that are not quite right.

4.  Use non photos
One way to make the space more interesting is to use items that are not photos.  Whether that be found objects, initials, canvases, etc, it can be fun to used a mixed media approach to your gallery wall.
(great use of non photos. via)
The dimension created by those objects makes for an eye catching area. 

5.  Measure and hang
Now that you have all of your photos and objects laid out, you can get hanging.  I suggest measuring down from the ceiling to achieve your most accurate measurements.  

6. (Bonus!) Have fun!
This is the perfect in your area to have fun with and I say go for it!
Find seasonal objects that are easy to switch out.
Or take a family photo in front of a sentimental tree in your yard each season and swap them out as the seasons change.  Switch things up every once in a while to keep the area fresh and exciting!

Hope this helps and please do not hesitate to shoot me an email if you have questions about this type of project or an area in your home that is giving you issues!


Ashley said...

This is a seriously hard gig...decorating the staircase with pictures. Fantastic tips!!

Bri said...

Why do wall have to be so difficult?! These are perfect tips! :)

Courtney said...

I love your interior design tips! I have major anxiety about hanging anything on walls (silly, I know), so any advice you share always helps.

Because Shanna Said So said...

OK, when i come visit you, since it's soooooo stinkin' hot here, we will sit down and plan all my home design/decor dreams and you will make them happen, right? Booking my flight today! ;)

Because of Jackie said...

I've only decorated one staircase before, but I did all black frames in varying sizes and it looked GOOD! Now I would add in some random things, too;) Great tips!

Kait said...

I will need for you to re-do my staircase. thanks in advance!

Erin LFF said...

Such good tips- thank you for this!! Our house needs SO much help- everything has just been hand-me-downs and making do with random stuff we have, but 2015 is going to be the year of updating- I can't wait! :)

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