13 Stylish Ways to Decorate Stairway Walls

When we decorate stairway walls, we give our homes a creative touch that is unique and personal. We think of a stairway as a way to get from one floor to the other, but a stairway wall can rise above the practical.

Stylish Ways to Decorate Stairway Walls
Heidi Caillier Design

With their ample wall space stairway walls offer an unexplored area where you can add extra storage, create a striking gallery, or amp up the color of your home. Take a look at these stairway wall decor ideas to see how you can turn your blank wall into your home’s best asset.

Ways to Decorate Stairway Walls

Ways to decorate a stairway wall can be as unique as each individual.

Create Extra Storage

Use the extra wallspace of a stairway to create needed storage. Store items like books, or create deeper shelving to display small items like bowls, sculptures, and plants.

Create Extra Storage
HBH Joinery

In this design from HBH Joinery, they have created a simple bookcase along the largest wall of the staircase. This serves to store extra items and to give the staircase a more custom style.

Extra Storage
Risinger Homes

For this staircase bookcase from Risinger Homes, the designers used the space between the stairway levels to create an integrated shelf. The designers played off the exposed framing of the house’s design to extend the surface of the stairs to create the shelf.

Gallery Wall

Use a stairway wall to create a gallery of your favorite artwork or pictures of your family vacations. You can use an eclectic mix of sizes or use the same shape and color wall art for a more unified look.

Gallery Wall
James Michael Howard

This design from James Michael Howard utilizes pictures of a similar size and subject. The uniformity of the design is relieved by the addition of the mirrored wall sconces.

Gallery Wall 2
Heidi Caillier Design

The stairway gallery wall from Heidi Caillier is more eclectic in style. This fits the colorful and textured style of the home design.

Add Depth with Millwork

Using molding or millwork is a gorgeous way to add interest to a staircase wall while still keeping a low profile. Millwork has amazing versatility. You can create a look that is traditional or contemporary. Molding is also great to use if your staircase is used by little ones. You can add interest to your staircase so that you can forgo items that can be knocked down. Painted molding is also easy to clean.

Add Depth with Millwork
William D. Earls AIA Architect

In this design from William D. Earls, the millwork paneling creates a grid-like pattern. After they have painted it to complement the trim in the home, it blends but still creates an elegant and formal style.

Depth with Millwork

AD Design Develop used vertical wood slats to create the contemporary millwork for this stairway.

Use Paint

Paint is one of the most ideal stairway wall decor ideas if you are on a budget. Use a bold-colored paint to create a fun accent wall or use paint to create the look of more expensive molding. Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to experiment. You can vary to the look of this stairway wall decor without breaking the bank.

Use Paint
Driftwood Joinery

In this contemporary home in Sydney, the designer used an electric blue color to create a bold accent wall. Complement the color you choose with a similar repeated tone in other areas of the house.

Painted staircase wall

Jessica Helgerson used a metal gray paint to divide the stairway wall and create the look of molding.

Wallpaper Ideas

Wallpaper offers endless possibilities for stairway wall decor. It is optimal for stairways because it does not take up valuable floor space, and it offers color and depth. It also has a wide range of styles. It can complement contemporary as well as traditional and historic home styles.

Wallpaper Ideas
Elza B. Design, Inc.

For this home design, Elza B. Design used this lighthearted wallpaper to blend the historic home style with the homeowner’s eclectic taste. The wallpaper offers enough interest that no other decor is needed.

Create Texture

If you own a more industrial or rustic style home, a textured wall might be the element you need for decorating stairway walls. Use brick or stone veneer for industrial spaces or rough wood for rustic and farmhouse homes.

Create Texture
Kaminski + Pew

Choose to cover the entire wall, like they did in this design from Kaminski + Pew. Or, cover just part of the wall if cost is a concern.

Store Collections

One of the most useful wall decor ideas for stairway areas is as a placeholder for collections. This serves a dual purpose of creating an interesting display while negating the need for extra storage space. If you collect baskets, bowls, or animal heads, a stairway wall can make an ideal spot for display. Group items together to create a dramatic display or place items along the entire wall up the stairway.

Store Collections
Rebecca Driggs Interiors

This collection of antique oars makes for a fitting stairway decoration for this beach-style staircase from Rebecca Driggs Interiors.

Keep it Simple

Some stairways look the best with no decor at all. Therefore, if your stairway has a beautiful design, too much decor may distract from the elegance of its shape.

Keep it Simple
Katie Leede & Company Studio

For this beautiful stairway, the designer chose to not add extra embellishment along the wall. They let the elegant stairway design stand on its own.


Some stairway walls lack windows, so it can be helpful to reflect light from other sources. Use mirrors provide added dimension to stairway walls. Group them together to create a gallery-like display, or use one large statement mirror to create one focal point.

Skyway Interiors Ltd

This stairway in a home in the Channel Islands uses mirrors placed at regular intervals along the wall to reflect the light from above.

Architectural Features

Some stairways are high and benefit from larger wall decor. These can be ideal for large found objects like window frames, doors, and shutters.

Architectural Features
Ryan Street Architects

Ryan Street Architects used a rustic door to decorate the stairway of this Austin farmhouse.

Oversized Wall Art

If you want the simplicity of design style but don’t have a cool architectural object, use oversized wall art to give your staircase style. Oversized wall art makes good stairway wall decorations because they are simple yet chic and stylish.

Oversized Wall Art
SLC Interiors

Use oversized wall art on the landing of a stairway wall.

Oversized Wall Art 2

Or, use it along a single stairway wall. Both of these approaches allow your wall art to be noticed as a stairway is located in a much-used part of the home.


Some stairways need just lighting to give them all the decor they need. You can add lighting along the wall in the form of sconces. Also, you can use overhead statement lighting that adds interest to the area overall.

Peninsula Architects

Peninsula Architects used both approaches in this stairway design in this contemporary home. They added wall sconces to light the way up the stairs as well as a striking ceiling fixture.

Mix it Up

It can be difficult to decide on just one approach to decorating your stairway wall. Therefore, it can work well to mix different methods.

Mix it Up
Holmes + Salter Interiors

For example, this stairway wall design from Holmes + Salter Interiors mixes painted wood paneling with wall sconces.

Mix it Up 2
Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd.

In another example, Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd uses several elements to create this stairway design. They use wallpaper, paneling, lighting, and storage to provide this cozy reading nook on the stairway landing.

Deciding Which Stairway Wall Decor to Use

There are many design options that work well for stairway wall design, but the challenging part is choosing the right one for you. Consider these ideas to help narrow down the ideas.

  • Style – The style of your home should impact the decoration of your stairway wall. If you have a more formal home, look toward paneled molding, wallpaper, mirrors, and symmetrical gallery walls to decorate your stairway wall. For rustic homes, textured walls and architectural objects will work well. For any home style, there are some ideas that will work better than others.
  • Budget – Budget is a consideration for most people. If you have a tight budget, use a less expensive design option like paint to brighten up your stairway. Also, look for found objects at vintage stores like architectural features to add interest to stairway walls.
  • Stairway Shape – Different stairway shapes lend themselves to particular design elements. For example, if you have a U-shaped stairway with a central light, add statement lighting that will provide interest to the whole area.
  • Time – The time you have to accomplish your design and the amount of time you will be living in your house impact which design element you choose. If you know that your housing situation is temporary, installing molding would not be a good use of your time. Instead, choose high-impact artwork that you can take with you when you leave.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What is the best way to go about decorating a staircase wall with pictures?

There is no hard and fast rule about how to decorate a stairway wall with pictures. But in general, the pictures along a staircase wall should follow the line of the stairway. Therefore, when hanging pictures along a staircase wall, draw an imaginary line at eye-level along the stairway wall (this line should ascend as the stairway ascends). Hang pictures along this (imaginary) line to create a look of balance. Your pictures don’t have to be symmetric, but they should look balanced along either side of the line.

What is the best simple staircase wall decor?

The most simple staircase wall decor is a single picture or object like a mirror. This kind of decoration works well if you have a natural focal point for your stairway like a landing. Another kind of simple decor for stairways is wall paint.

What is the most impactful staircase wall decor?

The most impactful stairway decor is bright colored wall art or fun family pictures.

How can I decorate my staircase wall on a tight budget?

You can create gorgeous stairway wall decor using eclectic wall art that you collect from vintage and thrift stores. Use an odd number of pieces to begin your collection. Hang them at eye-level along your stairway wall. Add others to your collection over time, always hanging them so that they collection looks balanced and complete.

Stairways are a practical necessity in many homes. Because they are located in primary locations in the home, you can use them to give your home a more unique and defined style. Use options like paint and vintage wall art if you need your design to be cost-effective.

If you need your wall decor to stand the test of time, allow a carpenter to create custom paneling.

Whatever your budget and style, you can find ways to give your stairway a custom look that makes it one of a kind.