Employing color, hanging wallpaper, or adding paneling can transform plain walls, while artwork, wall sculpture, or other wall-hung displays can equally give this part of your home personality, and make the staircase far more than simply a way up and down. From staircase ideas that include structural elements, such as paneling, to simple tricks like hanging artwork, these are our favorites. Whether you're looking for landing ideas or a way to draw attention to the wall at the bottom of the stairs, there's always an area that can become a focal point with clever styling. ‘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,’ explains Liz Lapan, showroom manager at In Detail Interiors (opens in new tab). ‘After a fresh coat of paint we wanted to keep the feeling clean but offer a comfortable little vignette that featured artwork on the walls (stairwell areas are always a great space for more of a salon-style hang with artwork which means you can use a litany of different styles and sizes of art) and added a foyer table paired with some stools. These round pieces create a fluid shape but are sufficiently close to one another to make an impact as a group.
These are hung on a backdrop of wallpaper but their shape and texture ensures they’re not lost against the bold pattern. Similar colors and curvaceous lines make the pairing of display and wallpaper cohesive.
This unexpected installation creates surprise and delight to those who enter and introduces fun pops of color in the process.’
Paneling ideas are a classic choice for staircase walls and have both aesthetic and practical benefits.
Decorating with mirrors can provide a pleasing alternative view of the detail of the staircase and your choice of stair runner or carpet as well as the artwork hung there. The dimensions of a staircase wall offer the opportunity to scale up a mirror hung there as well as pictures for a look that’s clean lined and unfussy.
‘Our client had a very eclectic and robust art collection including these famous prints,’ says Mark Lavender. ‘We chose the basic black and white plaid pattern to serve as a canvas for the more bold art pieces.’
‘The artwork didn’t need to be big or overwhelm the space; it’s proportional to the small scale of the staircase.
Hanging a classically patterned wallpaper can strike a traditional note for the entrance to a home as well as adding interest to the staircase. ‘We had selected this very traditional damask wallcovering for a stair hall in our client’s home,’ says Mark Lavender. As for the choice of stair runner: ‘We liked the idea of bringing in a more irregular modern pattern to run against the strictly traditional wallcovering,’ he explains.
To make a stairwell more interesting, treat it as you would the rest of your home, considering paint or wallpaper to change the look of the walls. Adding paneling, meanwhile, makes for a sophisticated finish but it’s also protective, sparing the walls bumps and scuffs in a busy family home. It’s important not to make passage up and down the stairs difficult, so for walls use paint or wallpaper rather than hanging pictures or other pieces if these could get knocked during everyday comings and goings. Think about whether to upgrade balusters or change a handrail to a more interesting and tactile material – new staircase railing ideas can have a massive impact.