Colour and Decor Ideas for the Stairway

The long expanse of wall that runs along the side of a flight of stairs is the perfect place to display photos and artwork. It’s also the perfect place to have a little bit of fun with some paint. If you don’t currently use this wall as a place to hang the family photos, consider giving it a makeover with a few colours of paint instead.

Reasons for Painting the Stairwell

As previously mentioned, many people display photos and artwork on the stairway walls. When painting the home,  decorating the stairway walls is not considered priority. We think there are reasons to reconsider and add some colour on your stairway walls:

Dim lighting: If the lighting in your stairwell isn’t stellar, you aren’t showing off your photos to the best advantage; painting a pattern of some kind on the wall adds interest that doesn’t require a bright light to enjoy.

Difficulty in staggering: Unless you have enough pictures to hang them floor to ceiling over the entire stairwell, staggering the pictures can be difficult to get even. Changing the pictures over time, or making room for new ones can also be hard. Paint only needs to go up once, and can be applied in straight lines.
Show off the pictures: Sometimes a wall or row of pictures is fine, but a little bland. Adding some stripes or blocks of colour behind them can make your pictures pop.
Brighten it up: If your stairwell isn’t well lit, using a few bright or light colours on the wall could help to lighten the entire area, making it feel larger and less confined.

Some walls around stairways are very tall and can be very difficult to decorate. Consider using paint and paint techniques to scale down the walls.

Patterns for Stairwells

While a solid accent colour is always a fun idea for a big wall like a stairwell, it isn’t the only way you can use paint to create a fun accent in this area. Consider using one of these ideas instead to make the area really shine.

Creative colour on stairway wall


Whether they follow the slope of the stairs, run perfectly horizontal, or even vertical, stripes are a fun addition to any stairwell. Select two or three shades of one colour, and tape off the wall in stripes of varying widths. Keep the pattern slightly random, changing up the position and width of the colours to keep the area looking fresh and not repetitive.
Or you can use the same colour for all stripes as the Ecopainting painter shown in this picture after painting the base coat in a soft warm pastel. Using good masking tape for this technique is imperative. A better grade of masking tape is more expensive so make to budget for it as you will need a lot ofit.

Creative way of painting a stairway


Chevrons are a fairly popular pattern for everything from carpets to window drapes, so why not bring them to your wall as well? Pick one bright colour, and one neutral like white or ivory. Paint the chevrons over the entire wall, running horizontally. The zigzag pattern will help accentuate the flight of stairs. Find some help with creating chevrons here.

Colour Blocks

If you hang a few pictures on your stairwell, show them off by painting big blocks of colour behind them. Choose one or more bold colours for this and paint squares or rectangles that are two or three inches larger than your picture frame all the way around. This effect also works well without putting pictures in each block, if you want some colour without a definite pattern.

Brighten Up Your Stairwell

No matter what type of home you live in, it’s possible to bring a little colour and life to your stairwell with paint. Don’t be afraid to try a fun or bold pattern in this unexpected area and see what turns up. Additionally a lot more can be achieved by painting the stair risers.

Decorating tips were provided by Sarabeth Asaff .

Leave a Comment