13 staircase wall ideas – decor and styling tips to create a talking point

From flamboyant wallpapers to eye-catching artwork, these staircase wall ideas will get your space noticed

hallway paint ideas dark grey paintwork
(Image credit: Future/James Merrell)

Stuck for staircase wall ideas? Don’t just see your staircase as a means of getting from A to B. If you’re prepared to get a little creative, then a staircase wall offers huge styling potential. 

Very often the staircase wall is one of the first things that greets you as you walk inside a property. Whether it’s a Victorian terrace with a narrow staircase or a modern build with a contemporary open-plan stair area, leaving the wall-space untapped as a staircase idea is a missed opportunity. 

‘So often, hallways can be considered as an after-thought but this is the first glimpse of your personal style that your guests will receive,’ says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director, Little Greene. 

'The most welcoming spaces don’t take themselves too seriously – let your artwork do the talking with a colourful gallery wall, paper a feature wall in oversized florals, or paint an alcove in a shade that makes you smile,' adds Patrick O'Donnell, Brand Ambassador, Farrow & Ball.

Staircase wall ideas

1. Hang shelves to add texture 

Staircase with floating shelving decorated with a green scheme

(Image credit: Rei Moon)

Gallery walls are an old favorite when it comes to staircase wall ideas, but for an alternative look that can add even more depth and interest, switch the frames for wall mounted shelving. This is an easy look for making the long blank wall of a stairwell more of a feature. Pick a shallow unit or even picture ledges would work and create displays with photos, prints, accessories and houseplants. You can easily switch it up through out the year too to give the space a different look 

2. Go oversized with the prints

hallway paint ideas dark grey paintwork

(Image credit: Future/James Merrell)

The best gallery wall ideas for stair walls are ones that don't cram in to many small frames. These aren't huge spaces, so you don't want to overcrowd them with fussy layouts that just make the staircase feel cluttered. Instead go over sized with your frames – almost floor to ceiling – and stick to three or four equally hung up the staircase wall

3. Don't take it too seriously

staircase wall ideas light installation

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

With such a vast area of wall space to fill, it makes sense to go for an oversized piece. 

This smiley-face light installation by Brighton artist Andy Doig adds a fun touch smiling down over the living area and is in contrast to the classic setting with its high ceilings and traditional wood-panelled staircase.

4. Embrace colour on a grand scale

staircase wall ideas blue archway

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

Go all-out with colour. This immersive hallway paint scheme starts with bold blue on the panelling downstairs taking the colour a shade darker as it continues up the staircase. 

White painted woodwork and decorative plaster mouldings punctuate the blue in places, with album covers resting on plinths adding a witty touch.

5. Go for a flamboyant floral wallpaper

staircase wall ideas floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Little Greene)

A sweeping staircase like this deserves a grand treatment. The exotic Chinoiserie wallpaper is a bold choice on such a large scale, but against the weathered wood floor, stone steps and polished banister, the designer pulls it off with aplomb. 

‘Select a wallpaper or paint shade for your hallway that gives a sense of continuity and transitions from room to room in a warm inviting way,' says Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director, Little Greene.

6. Supersize your artwork

staircase wall ideas with wall art

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

A grand staircase like this doesn’t need much else to make it stand out. While gallery wall ideas are popular, sometimes just a single piece of artwork can look far more striking. 

An oversized piece will accentuate a tall ceiling, whether it’s a large canvas, photographic still, ornate mirror or something quirky, like a bicycle mounted on the wall.

staircase wall ideas wall art

(Image credit: Roger Oates Design)

A gallery of artwork or family photographs is an ever-popular option for staircase walls. ‘When it comes to a gallery wall, just about anything goes,’ say King & McGaw, ‘but deciding on an overarching theme or style is a good place to start.’

‘With your chosen style in mind, decide whether you’re going to keep it orderly with a tidy grid structure, or mix it up with an array of different sizes. Prints by the same artist work well in matching sizes and frames.’

8. Set up a reading nook

staircase wall ideas with bookcase

(Image credit: Davide Lovati)

Make use of a vacant landing area by filling wall space with built-in bookshelves. Take shelves floor to ceiling to stretch the space, with even-sized cubbies for a neat look.

Divide hardbacks and paperbacks for a uniform arrangement or try colour-theming books for a fun look. Find stylish ways to show off books with more home library ideas.

9. Create a destination

staircase wall ideas mural

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Provide visual interest at every level by incorporating landing areas into your decorating scheme. A frieze or mural will create a focal point further up a staircase that draws the eye in and encourages further investigation.

Create a simple tree-scape using vinyl wall stickers. Paint stair balustrades in varying shades of green to echo the woodland theme.

10. Set the scene with a classic print

staircase wall ideas toile wallpapeer

(Image credit: Frenchie Cristogatin)

Make an elegant wallpaper the focal point of a staircase or landing. A classic toile print takes on a modern edge in monochrome black and white and makes a striking backdrop in a small hallway.

Echo the colour theme with black-painted stair balustrades and artwork, alongside white-painted walls and accent furniture.

11. Style it out in a stairwell

staircase wall ideas gold mirrors

(Image credit: Chris Everard)

Elevation and its awkward shape can make decorating a staircase wall a challenge. Stairwells are an area that often get neglected, but as you pass through this space countless times a day, why not make it more of a decorative feature rather than just a thoroughfare. 

Fill wall space with a collection of vintage gilt picture frames in assorted shapes and sizes. Removing the glass and backing makes them lightweight and easy to hang and a safer option at the top of stairs.

12. Add light relief

staircase wall ideas

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

Try an alternative to wall art and decorate a plain hallway and staircase with fancy fretwork and trellis panels to add a Moorish vibe. 

Striking against a dark painted wall, panels are an easy option for a long, narrow hallway and can be stacked in varying heights to continue the treatment up a staircase wall. Try Jali for a range of decorative panels.

13. Be playful

staircase wall ideas gallery wall

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

We like the Alice in Wonderland other-worldly feel that has been created in this unexpected stairway look. Ribbon has been woven around the balustrades and pictures hung at an angle to create a beautiful chaos – albeit one that can quickly be reinstated to calm.

The perfect party or festive look for those that enjoy an out-of-the-box celebration. 

What colors should I use on a staircase wall?

Light colours aren’t the only painted staircase option. Keeping to the same colour theme throughout will create a sense of continuity on staircases and landings, whether you go dark or light. And while it may sound counterintuitive to use dark colours in a space that’s often small and narrow, they can help make a small space feel more expansive.

Hallways and staircases can feel quite chaotic with lots of doors, skirting boards, radiators, etc that distract the eye and carve up the space. Painting everything the same shade can help to soften the edges and blur the boundaries in a limited space. 

Plus, darker colours are a good foil for decorative elements like artwork, mirrors and lighting.