One high-traffic area of the home that often gets overlooked is the wall beside a staircase. That’s unfortunate because this area is a huge blank canvas for some amazing decorating ideas.
You see your staircase wall dozens of times each day—might as well enjoy the view! Bring it to life with any of these fabulous staircase decor ideas.
1. Accent Wall
An accent wall is one that features a different color, texture, or wallpaper than the room’s other walls. A stairwell is a good place to add a new color or interesting wallpaper design that might be too bold if used on every wall.
Beadboard, shiplap, or brick veneer are all good ways to add a textured accent wall to your staircase. If you want a monochromatic effect, purchase a paintable, heavily textured wallpaper for the stairwell and paint it the same color as the rest of the room.
Contemporary interior design embraces a “less is more” philosophy. This translates into neutral or monotonal colors, clean lines, and open spaces. Even so, a bold pop of color is not out of place and a staircase wall is a good place to add this decorative accent.
Metal wall art or panels are excellent contemporary staircase wall ideas. Mirrored surfaces also speak to the contemporary aesthetic.
Paint and decals are two of the most budget-friendly ways you can upgrade a staircase. Whether you apply them to the wall or the stairs themselves, they’re easy enough for anyone to DIY. Look for word or quote decals, or adhesive tiles for an easy staircase decoration.
Talavera Spanish Bohemian Adhesive Tiles
Self-adhesive wall stickers are an affordable decorating trend that’s here to stay. These Talavera Spanish Bohemian Tiles from Amazing Wall come in six different styles and are sold in sets of 6, 9, or 12 pieces. Each sticker is a standard riser size of 39.4 inches wide by 7.1 inches tall.
Made of eco-friendly PVC, they can be applied to any smooth, dry surface—just make sure you dust your stairs well before application to ensure a smooth finish. No special skills are required to add this tile-look stair decoration to your home.
Try painting steps and stair risers different colors, or paint a stair runner down the middle of wooden stairs. If you’re feeling bold, paint each of your balusters a different rainbow hue or ombre shades that fade together two of your favorite colors.
4. Fancy Railings
Replacing a tired stair railing is a fabulous way to update your staircase design. Replace basic wooden balusters with an intricate wrought iron railing. Though expensive, they add an elegance to straight, curved, or spiral staircases.
Clear or frosted acrylic panels or wire railings are another good replacement for plain wood banisters and rails. They add modern, dramatic ambiance to your entryway.
The horizontal wood planks called shiplap add a warm farmhouse vibe to any staircase. Paint them a classic white, cream, grey, or another light-colored hue that compliments your decor.
White stairs with wood steps and a dark handrail is another traditional farmhouse pairing. Hang farm-themed signs, a simple wreath, and other country wall art along the stairwell to complete the look.
6. Gallery Wall
A gallery wall is a decorating idea that can be tweaked to fit any home decor style. Showcase a collection of framed black-and-white family photos for a vintage vibe, or compose a modern gallery wall from a simple row of modern art paintings.
Add other accents between framed pieces for an eclectic, bohemian, or shabby chic feeling. Good choices include metal wall sculptures, wood plaques, wreaths, or wall planters filled with greenery. Empty picture frames add another interesting touch to a stairwell gallery wall.
7. Lighting Ideas
Stair lighting is not only a decorative element—it’s also a matter of safety. But since adequately illuminating your staircase is vital, you might as well make it stylish.
Hang a dramatic chandelier over your stairs or line up a row of descending pendant lights. On the stair wall itself, wall sconces are welcome lighting fixtures to install. If you only need a little additional light, hang string lights along the railing.
Kenton 1-Light Vintage Bronze Wall Sconce
Few light fixtures fit into a variety of home decor styles as well as this Vintage Bronze Wall Sconce. Its clean, angular style combines the best of vintage, industrial, and modern decor. The dark bronze, rectangular frame includes a vintage Edison bulb set behind a clear glass shade. Edison bulbs project a lower level of light than other bulbs, creating a warm glow along your stairs.
Although the instructions say that installation is easy, these wall sconce fixtures must be hardwired onto an existing switch. Novice DIYers would benefit from hiring a professional to hang these along a stairway.
Luxury staircase ideas incorporate fine woods, intricate details, and marble or other natural stone finishes. A dramatic staircase is the entryway focal point in many luxury homes and its finishes and details should reflect the same opulence as the rest of the home.
In a two-story entryway, a large chandelier or collection of artistic pendant lights is a must. Add additional lighting with wall sconces or small, step-level lights that illuminate each stair. An exquisite Turkish carpet stair runner not only makes your entryway more beautiful; it helps guard against slips and falls.
Your minimalist tastes can be showcased by the simplest stair decoration elements. Paint the wall a contrasting color, or simply hang a perfectly-spaced row of minimalist line drawings.
Because clutter is the enemy of minimalist design, keep it simple. One dramatic painting or textile centered over a stair landing may be enough in a minimalist interior.
Framed mirrors or mirrored tiles are dual purpose staircase ideas. Not only do they reflect light and make your staircase feel more spacious, they’re great for a quick hair check as you hurry down the stairs on the way out.
Intersperse small framed mirrors among other pieces in a staircase gallery wall. They will add little sparks of reflected light that draws the eye toward your creative staircase ideas.
Modern decor is simple and streamlined, featuring natural elements such as metal, wood, and stone. Keep your staircase modern by not overdoing the decor.
Floating stairs can make a strong enough visual impact on their own. Add a new metal handrail with glass panels instead of balusters to turn a basic staircase chicly modern. Horizontal balusters are another great way to modernize a staircase.
Staircase walls are the perfect places to display favorite paintings. Whether you spotlight one or two large paintings, or run a small gallery along the stairwell, let the paintings be ones that bring you joy.
If original paintings are a bit beyond your budget, shop online for replica prints of your favorite pieces.
Van Gogh Masterpiece Ensemble – 4 Piece Wrapped Canvas Print Set
If you’re Van Gogh fan, turn your staircase into a gallery of his most famous pieces. This four-piece wrapped canvas Van Gogh masterpiece collection includes gallery-wrapped canvas replicas of Starry Night, The Café Terrace, Sunflowers, and The Cypress and the Flowering Tree.
Choose from four canvas sizes, ranging from 18-in x 48-in to 48-in x 144-in. Although each piece is ready to hang as-is, have each piece professionally framed for a more traditional gallery presentation. Gallery light fixtures that illuminate your paintings at night also add to the art exhibit ambience.
Planters along a staircase wall add a lot of life to a plain stair design. Hang wall planters on a solid wall and add succulents or trailing vines. Small plants can also be set on small floating shelves, or on the stair surface itself right along the railing. Bigger plants look nice on stair landings.
Much like leaving a Christmas tree up all year and changing the decor to match the seasons, you can run a faux boxwood garland along your banister and change it seasonally. A neutral green garland can be decorated with flowers in the springtime, stars or seashells for summer, and tiny pumpkins and pinecones for fall.
A rustic staircase could include any or all of the following: heavy woods, distressed paint finishes, metal accents, or railings made from recycled plumbing.
Other rustic stair wall decor could include baskets or macrame wall hangings. A coastal rustic home could emphasize the nautical theme by replacing wood hand railings with thick, heavy rope.
Pale colors and light woods are hallmarks of Scandinavian decor, so avoid anything too visually heavy when decorating a staircase in this style. Light and airy touches include simple floating shelves, whitewashed wood, and exposed brick painted in soft hues.
A Scandinavian style stair runner might feature a simple botanical print or thin stripes of color. Open wire baskets and potted plants complete the vibe.
16. Seasonal Decor
Christmas stair decoration ideas should be included in any holiday decor scheme. Wind an evergreen garland along the banister and decorate it with ribbon, pine cones, Christmas lights, and ornaments. Match the garland’s colors with your other Christmas decor for a cohesive appearance.
Bows are another Christmas decoration that really make your staircase a foyer focal point. Weave velvet, mesh, or satin ribbon in wide widths around your banisters, then finish the newel post with a greenery swag and matching big bow.
Seating at the staircase base, landing, or staircase top is not only attractive, but functional. These seats are good places for removing your shoes when you get home or waiting for an Uber to pick you up.
Turn stair seating into a design element by adding a small side table, lamp, and green plant. Add a coat and umbrella tree to your bottom-of-the-stairs seating configuration.
18. Staircase Runner
Staircase runners add a lot of style to your stairs. Not only are they a decorative accent, carpet runners also make it safer and quieter to navigate the stairway.
A striped or patterned stair runner adds color to your staircase, but solid runners also work well. An animal print stair runner is a good way to heighten the drama in your foyer.
If a carpeted runner isn’t your preference, paint a decorative runner. Use a stencil or vinyl letters to decorate each stair riser with a favorite verse or design. If you’re seeking a costal or rustic vibe, a jute runner introduces that flavor to your staircase decor.
Statues are classic staircase decorations in stately manors and estates. Set upon a pedestal at the base of the stairs, or as landing decor, marble busts are a classic choice. Artistic sculptures are also a good choice for grand staircase decorations.
Recessed shelves along a stairway wall are good places for small sculptures and statues. Add a candle display within the shelf cove for a warm, dramatic effect at night.
Vintage art, antiques, and other aged treasures are excellent additions to a staircase decor scheme—especially if you live in an older home. Look for art that represents the period your home was built while complimenting your other decor.
Place an antique table at the base of your stairs, topped with gold-framed photos and a vase of fresh flowers. Vintage light fixtures and paint finishes help convey time-tested style. Finish the look with a Persian rug in the foyer and a matching stair runner.
Wainscoting is wooden paneling that covers the lower part of the wall. It looks particularly elegant when carried up a staircase from the walls of the room below. Wainscoting is often painted white, but it can be painted any color that suits your style.
You can find wainscoting panels in a wide variety of styles and heights. Real hardwood panels are the most expensive type, and ideal if you want a warm stained wood appearance. If you plan to paint the wainscoting, you might as well go for a less-expensive plywood, MDF, or plastic paneling.
22. Wall Decor
Anything that can be attached to the wall can be used as a type of staircase wall decor. Inexpensive options include creating an abstract piece of art from nailing together strips of wood painted in different colors.
Display a collection of imported baskets and trays along your staircase for a fun bohemian type of wall decor. Metal flowers and candle sconces are additional interesting elements to add to staircase walls.
23. Wall Paint/Decal/Wallpaper
Wallpaper is an excellent thing to include in staircase decor. A boldly printed wallpaper that includes the foyer’s or living room’s main colors can be the one thing that ties the room together. Use painters tape to paint a striped or random pattern on your staircase wall.
Wall decals are a popular choice for adding certain scriptures or words to live by on your home’s interior walls. For the best effect, mix flat decal art with dimensional pieces in one cohesive display.
Incorporating Zen concepts into home decor means using neutral colors and natural elements such as stone, plants, and wood. On a deeper level, it can incorporate Feng Shui principles that are intended to balance the energy flow through your home.
Traditionally, stairs have a bad Feng Shui reputation as heavy structures that suppress positivity in the home. Using light, soothing colors and keeping stairs illuminated are good ways of counteracting their anti-Zen energy.