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20 Decorating Tips and Ideas for Sprucing up the Stairways of your Home

Updated on September 30, 2010
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 Do you have a stairway somewhere in your home? Even if you don’t have a multi-story home, you may have a stairway leading down to a basement or up from the porch or downstairs through the back door. If so, I’m willing to bet that you haven’t done a whole lot to decorate that part of your home. It’s a safe bet to make since most people fail to consider the stairway in the décor and function of their houses.

In my opinion, stairways too often get ignored. Stairs provide a physical transition from one part of the home to another. They move you from the public space to the private space of the home (whether that’s from the outside up to the front door and in to the house or from the downstairs area where people visit to the private bedrooms of the home’s upper floors). To fail to decorate them is a shame.

So, if you’re thinking that perhaps you’ve been neglectful in this area of your house, perhaps you may want to spruce things up. But what if you’re not sure how? Here are twenty different things that you can do to decorate both stairways in your home:

1. Add a carpet. Stairs often get worn out because of the foot traffic on them. Adding a carpet that runs along the center of the stairs will preserve the quality of the staircase while adding a bit of color or decoration to the area. Make sure that you tack it down properly to keep the stairs safe.

2. Hang art work on the walls. The walls of staircases are a really great place to display a gallery of photos or other art work.

3. Paint the walls a bold color. Use a color that goes well with both the upstairs and the downstairs but one that is bold enough that you wouldn’t want to use it on a whole room. For example, bright purple walls compliment the lighter colors of both upstairs and downstairs in many homes, allowing the stairway area to stand out without overwhelming the senses. That pop of color can make a big difference in the design of your home.

4. Paint the stairs themselves. Paint them neutral colors or bright ones or a bold geometric design. Do something fun and beautiful here so that the stairs become something more than just things that you step on. Both indoor and outdoor stairs can be painted.

5. Put some plants on the staircase. Add some colorful plants to two or three of the steps on the staircase. Just make sure that they get enough sunlight if they’re indoors.

6. Decorate this area during holidays. Hang mistletoe at the top of the stairs and a garland on the banister for Christmas. Tape heart shapes on the stairs themselves for Valentine’s Day. Keep this area fresh for whatever season you’re in.

7. Stack books on the stairs. The sides of indoor staircases make a terrific bookcase. Just stack books up to the height of the next stair all the way up to the top!

8. Add sculptural art to the stairs. Both interior and exterior stairways can serve as a place to showcase objets d’art.

9. Replace the boring banister with a better one. There are some really cool architectural stairway banisters out there for both indoor and outdoor staircases. Look into this to dramatically alter the artistic appeal of this part of your home.

10. Hang a decoration at the top of the stairs. Something eye-catching at the top of the stairs will make climbing them so much more enjoyable. A hanging lamp, a decorative beaded peace or a disco ball could be what your stairs need.

11. Change the lighting. Almost all staircases have lighting since we need to be able to see to go up and down them. Change the color of the light bulbs or change the style of the light fixture and you could significantly change the look of your staircase.

12. Use decorative boxes to create storage space on your stairs. There are lots of little things that you may want to have handy when you’re both upstairs and downstairs – reading glasses, favorite books, lists of phone numbers … Keep some decorative boxes on the staircase to toss these things into.

13. Add a shelf or table to one end of the stairs. This is a great alternative to the decorative boxes; throw your keys and reading glasses and mail on this spot whenever you walk in the door. A cute table can really add some splash to the stairs.

14. Make the stairs your shoe closet. Put your shoes on display by setting one pair on each stair in your home.

15. Make magic with mirrors. Mirrors hung at the top or bottom of the stairs can create the illusion of greater space in this area. Mirrors hung on the walls near staircases can serve a decorative function.

16. Add some texture to the area with fabric. Fabric can be added to handrails, framed as art for walls (or even just hung there loosely) or used to line the edge of a staircase.

17. Hang a cork board in the stairway. Tack up recent photos, notes to yourself, quotes of the day and other things that don’t have a place in your home but should.

18. Add some wallpaper to indoor stairway walls. Wallpaper is making a big comeback in décor these days. A stairway is a great place to try to get in on this trend.

19. Paint inspiring sayings on your stairs. This is really great for out-of-the-way stairs like those leading out from your back door. Write out a few uplifting sayings that you want to be reminded of when you leave your home.

20. Hang jewelry and accessories on the banister. You can wrap necklaces, bracelets, belts and scarves around the banister of your staircase to brighten up the area while storing items that you use regularly.

There you have it – twenty ways to spruce up your stairs. What other ideas are there?! 


Submit a Comment
  • Blackspaniel1 profile image


    4 years ago

    You have some interesting ideas here.

  • dusy7969 profile image


    8 years ago from San Diego, California

    Great job.I satisfy your work.I learn the tips to decorate something.

  • AuntySa profile image


    8 years ago from Austalia

    Placing artwork by the stairs really do the job. You won't even have to be creative to spruce up your stairs. I love your tips, btw.

  • Reynolds_Writing profile image


    10 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    Great ideas for stairway decorating.. Mine need to be spruced up.. I'll have to take your advice


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