Decorating the Stairwell

I knew when I designed the house that decorating the stairwell wall would be a challenge for me. Looking at that large massive space was overwhelming, yet doing nothing with it wasn’t the answer. It made the home seem cold and bland.

stairs Hours had been spent looking at pictures of stairways when I finally came across this one

I want to do something like this on my stairway

Gallery walls often stress me out, but there was something about this one that was calming. These are the elements that I liked about this wall:

1. Everything was over-sized.

2. All the pictures were black and white or sepia.

3. The frames didn’t match .

4. The pictures were of kids playing in water.

It was time to make this happen. I grabbed my best friend and headed to Hobby Lobby. They had their frames on sale at 50% off, so what better time was there to do this.

I had no idea how many frames I needed, so I just kept sticking everything I liked in the cart figuring I could always return what I didn’t use.

I thought the next part would be the hardest…figuring out how to lay them out…WRONG.

We had laid the pictures on the floor and had friends come over. We would talk for a while, and then someone would get up and move the pictures around. I would take a photo, and then we would sit and talk until someone else got up to move them. It was actually fun. After a couple of hours,and countless designs, we came up with…floor frames


We decided to cut out poster board the same size as the picture frames and mark on the poster board where we needed to put the nails. Then the poster board was stuck to the wall to double check our plan.ladder

Now for the fun part ….NOT!

Finding the pictures for the frames has proven to be much harder than I ever imagined.

1. my grandkids…they look adorable in all their pictures, so how do I chose one?

2. Pictures taken when my kids were little were all taken with a crappy camera so they don’t enlarge well.

3. If you don’t have high resolution photos and you blow them up, they get very grainy.

4. “Professional” pictures from Kmart look purple when you blow them up.

5. If they look dark they will look very dark on the wall.

6. If your grandbaby has a runny nose in a picture, it will really bug you when it is blown up huge.

I am still working on my gallery, but even with the problems, I am loving what it has done for my space. I love looking up and seeing these smiles…

Photo: When you miss your grandson you blow his picture up huge and smile



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3 Responses to Decorating the Stairwell

  1. HeatherM

    We just put up a gallery wall in our stairway this weekend too! Every day we look at it and say ” I wish we had done this years ago!” It makes our house feel so much more like a home. My hubby is a photographer and photography professor, so the hard part for us was choosing which pictures to use. We have become the default picture keepers for both of our extended families. One suggestion I would make is to try to mat photos- that way you can have a smaller photo and still get the effect of the oversized frame. Also, try having the photos printed elsewhere- Costco does a great job- and have them print in grayscale if possible to avoid the purple tint. Last but not least, I made a list of everyone we wanted included on the wall- our parents, siblings, nieces. & nephews, my closest aunt that I lived with during summers in college, close friends, a couple nice vacation pics, and my grandparents summer home. You might want to do a picture of your old house, your parents wedding picture, or even a memento like a house key or a letter. I know every time I look at our wall it feels like a huge wall of love and support. I hope you get the same out of your gallery wall!

    • Love how great minds think a like! I never thought about the matting…now looking back at my inspiration picture I realize that they were all matted. I am trying to stick with a kids water theme.

  2. Carla

    Looks great. I think when we put up a gallery wall of pictures they tell a story of our family.

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