A staircase gallery wall presents an undoubtedly striking design feature of any house: when properly arranged, stairway photos will surely attract the attention of your guests, who would love to take a peek at your precious memories or learn more about your favourite art.
While this DIY home décor project may seem overwhelming, with some thought and planning, you can easily turn any wall into a sophisticated and polished display of your art collection or family photos.
In this article, we are going to share our secrets of how to master the staircase picture wall:
- Easy-to-follow stairway photo gallery tutorial
- Expert tips and ideas for a gorgeous art or photo display
- Ready-to-use templates and layouts for your staircase photo wall
- Stairway picture frame and artwork ideas to showcase
Staircase Gallery Wall: Step-by-Step Tutorial
Did you know that living room gallery walls are among the top interior design trends of 2023? Without a doubt, frame gallery walls are an excellent way to infuse personality and interest to any space – whether it be a living room, an entrance hallway, or a stairway. Follow these simple steps to create your own curated stairway gallery wall to display your favourite art or photos.
Things You’ll Need:
Step 0 (Preparatory): Choose Art Pieces to Display
The type of wall-hanging art you choose to display will determine a common theme and serve as the starting point for any gallery wall.
Start by putting together a selection of photos or art pieces to be used for your staircase wall, or maybe take out a collection you have tucked away already.
Go for pieces that bring you joy and serve as a reminder of warm moments, people, and places from your past, – you will be seeing these pieces every day on numerous occasions as you walk up and down the stairs.
Make sure that the staircase wall décor reflects your own life and personality. Ask yourself questions like:
- Is there a certain style of art that catches your eye?
- Do you want your gallery to display precious moments of your life or tell a story?
- Do you love pictures or wall art in a specific colour scheme?
Step 1: Find the Direction
To create a successful wall gallery, you must have a consistent direction in which your photos are positioned, – but this can be challenging when you are working with an uneven surface like stairs.
We recommend using a piece of painter’s tape to measure 60’’ from each step of your stairs. Use a small piece of tape to indicate each point, and then connect all the x’s together with the painter’s tape and use it as your guide. Now you know the approximate center of each stair.
Step 2: Plan the Layout of Your Staircase Photo Gallery
Before you take out the hammer, you’ll need to play around with the layout to make sure you get it right. Here, you have a couple of options:
- If you have enough space, lay the actual framed pictures down on the floor to get an idea of the arrangement.
- Trace each frame on kraft paper to create an accurate-size template. Then use painter’s tape to attach the templates to the wall to create a layout that you love. We love using paper templates, as you can hammer a nail right through them. It is also a good idea to use a level to make sure that each template is positioned perpendicularly.
Step 3: Fill Out Your Staircase Photo Wall
Now, that you’ve created a layout that you are happy with, it’s time to get to actual work. It is best to start with the largest piece that should be positioned near the centre or the bottom of the stairs and continue working outwards.
We recommend placing paper templates of frames on the wall and then drilling your screws directly through them for extra accuracy. Finally, don’t forget to keep 2 to 3 inches of space between neighbouring frames to create visual space and let your wall gallery breathe.
Step 4 (Optional): Add a Special Accent
Now, you don’t have to start a reno just to create the staircase gallery wall of your dreams, but adding wallpaper will sprinkle that special touch to your art display. If you aren’t ready to wallpaper the entire room, stairways are an ideal place to incorporate it instead, as you will have a logical start and stop point to the paper.
Keep in mind that the staircase is a very high-traffic area in your house, so, when choosing a wallpaper, go for the vinyl paper to ensure longevity.
Expert Tips and Ideas for Your Staircase Picture Wall
Here are a couple of our favourite tips that will help you create a splendid stairway photo gallery:
1. Create Consistency with Frames
When choosing picture frames, think about the style you are trying to achieve. Frames in a similar finish and colour will help to create a more cohesive look, while a mix of several styles will add an eclectic feel. If you are trying to create a sophisticated collection, we recommend going for classic black-and-white photos in black frames.
In addition, consider the size of your frames, – using frames of varying sizes will attract attention and create visual interest. Make sure to include at least one or two large pieces to anchor the gallery wall. You can choose either actual large-scale pieces or go for smaller artwork framed in oversized frames.
2. Keep Things in Line
When hanging photos or a piece of art on a staircase, make sure to keep at least some of your lines on a grid, similar to perfectly crossed streets on a map. While this is not always possible to achieve, do it wherever you can to add some constancy. Remember that your entire wall should read as a single art installation to create a statement.
3. Double Hang
Nobody likes hanging pictures that are crooked. The key to avoiding the issue is using two screws to hang your artwork. This will prevent your frames from moving if you brush up against them and will keep them tighter to the stairwell wall, which is great for families with small children.
4. Texture is Key
The key to a stunning staircase gallery wall along the stairs is to include mixed mediums and textures. Mix up paintings, photos, framed and unframed works, or whatever you can think of. The basic rules are the same: start with paper templates, double hang the artwork, and make sure to hang them at least 60’’ from each stair.
5. Show Off Your Artwork
If you only have a single statement art piece, either put it at the bottom or center on the stairs. If you have a couple of big pieces, start by placing them at the bottom and the centre of the stairs and fill them out in between.
How to Arrange Photos on Staircase Walls
To get the process going quicker, it is important to have an idea of a general layout of your staircase gallery wall beforehand. Below you will find some sample ideas of how to hang pictures on stairs, but don’t feel obligated to stick to them. Get creative and let your personality shine through!
Staircase Gallery Wall Templates to Steal
Stairway Picture Ideas
There is no limit on the types of art you could choose to showcase. Some staircase photo ideas include:
- Fine art paintings or prints
- Family photographs
- Kids art projects
- Heirloom pieces, such as framed jewellery
- Sculptural pieces, such as hanging plants, baskets, masks, and more
- Empty frames
- Travel photographs
- Pressed flowers or plants
- An eclectic combination of everything listed
- Single photo split between multiple frames
- A single colour that appears in every frame (for example, every piece includes blue)
- A variety of art prints from the same artist
Staircase Picture Frames
Framed Art Prints
Mirrors and More
When creating your staircase gallery wall, don’t get too caught up in the interior design rules or “correct” layouts. Instead, enjoy the process of creating a display of special photos or art pieces that tell your story. And, of course, don’t forget to update your stairway photo gallery as the time passes to keep it looking fresh.