19 Expert Design Tips to Make The Most of Your Home Stairway

I had the opportunity to collaborate with Redfin and other design experts for this article and had to share the finished piece here since you know I’m a home design junkie and photographer. Enjoy!

Your stairway is a focal point of your home and may be one of the first aspects people notice when they walk through your door. And making sure that your home’s stairway is both beautiful and unique can create a lasting impact on anyone who enters your house. If you are struggling to figure out ideas to remodel your home stairway, there are many ways to spruce it up. 

From choosing a bright paint color to curating a photo gallery, there are options to fit any home style. To help you get started, we reached out to experts from Barrie, ON to Portland, OR to give us their best tips on how to make the most of your home stairway. Keep reading to see what they had to say.

Home stairway remodeling tips

1) Think about the purpose of your home stairway design 

Are you updating your home stairway, adding convenience, improving flow, or fixing a code requirement? What are the constraints? Do a bit of exploring to see different possibilities. Stay focused and find resources in the areas you are unfamiliar with. – Wells Spiral Stairs

2) Plan your design ahead of time

When considering a home staircase or railing renovation it is crucial to begin planning early. There are a number of options to customize your stairs, such as in-tread lighting, glass guards, and different options for materials. Stairs and railings are a focal point of any project, so it is important to consider their impact on a design. – Stairhaus 

3) Install baseboard trim

Baseboard trim can be used to create an accent effect as well as give the stairway a more modern look. Wider trim is recommended. – Sharplines Painting

4) Stair runners can add a touch of elegance

Stair runners are a popular choice to spruce up a bland staircase because they provide a touch of elegance and safety on hardwood stairs. Stair runners will not only help avoid slipping, but also serve as a noise absorber when going up and downstairs. While any carpet style or type can be used on a staircase, wool and nylon carpet stair runners will help match the style of your home. – Normandy Carpet

5) Try patterned carpet to add dimension 

Using a gorgeous, patterned carpet and adding coordinating borders, trims, ropes, or wide binding can really add that wow factor that will make your home stand out from the rest. A new stair runner will add style, comfort, and safety. When determining the size of your finished runner you want to make sure you are showing enough of your beautiful hardwood floors. We recommend showing 3-5 inches of hardwood on each side of your new runner. – Gfried Flooring and Design

6) Upgrade your hardware 

Replacing wood stair balusters with iron balusters is one the most common home stairway remodeling projects in the US today. The process is typically DIY friendly and makes a very impressive visual impact for the dollars spent. – Stair Parts

7) Use LED string lights along your home stairway

You can hang LED string lights along the stair’s armrest and let them cascade down to the ground. When the lights are on,  your home stairway will be a focal point. You can also mount LED strip lights on the staircase to make them appear as if they are floating. Either install the light strips along each step or from the side to make the whole stairway feel alive when the lights are on. – Peng Light

8) Go with a custom staircase

A custom stairway gives you the opportunity to create a functional showpiece for your home. Don’t be afraid to mix materials for an unexpected and one-of-a-kind design. When choosing your stair fabricator, precision and consistency will be key to ensure the finished product is both safe and stunning. – eKraemer Fine Metal and Woodwork

Home stairway decorating tips

9) Go with a large statement piece 

If your home stairway has a landing without a window, this makes an ideal location for a large statement art piece. This location is unique in that it can often be seen from both floors of the house, and you are likely to pass by it and enjoy it without distraction several times a day, unlike a piece in a more traditional location like a formal dining room that doesn’t get used often or living room with a competing television. – Hollie Berry Art

10) Give your stairways a joyful appeal by choosing bright and vivid art 

Besides the color palette, the subject matter of your art can also have an impact on how you feel in your home environment. My hummingbird paintings bring the joy of nature indoors and celebrate the simple joys of life. – Marie Kemertz

11) When curating a gallery wall, use tape and paper

Make a plan for how much of the wall you want to decorate with images. I recommend using butcher’s paper or painter’s tape to plan for different sizes and create the perfect arrangement. Once you have your space defined, begin collecting the pieces. I love to include framed pieces, canvases, and a mix of artifacts like wooden signs or pieces that have special meaning. – Ashley Newman Photography

12) Hire a professional photographer to take your photos

When creating a gallery wall on your home stairway, I love to use a series of photos from a professional family photography session to ensure a consistent look and feel. Frames in neutral colors (a combination of natural wood, gray, and white) will let your photos be the star. Vary the size and texture of your frames to keep your gallery wall looking unique, fresh, and modern. –  Sharon Kenney Photography

13) Make sure your photo wall tells a story

To tell a story, I use a mix of images from a family photo session gallery. When putting together a grouping of photos, I will often select; 1 portrait of each child, 1 sibling photo, 1 photo of the family loving each other, and 1 wider portrait of the family that shows off the environment. Using this mix of photos will help you create a beautiful display for your walls. – Neyssa Lee Photography 

14) Go with matte prints and beehive hangers 

Matte prints elevate the look of the gallery wall giving it a high-end feel. 4-inch mats are recommended for images 16×24 or bigger. Also, use beehive hangers to make it quick and easy to hang your frames. – Kelly Laramore Photography, St. Louis Newborn Photographer

15) Choose a look that you enjoy 

For a clean, modern look, hang your photos in a row with equal spacing. For a boho look, mix and match sizes and hang them in a random grouping. Just make sure you leave space to add more photos. – Kim Hildebrand Photography

16) Make sure your wall art is large enough 

The biggest mistake people make when choosing wall art is sizing it too small. To make an impact, I highly recommend photos be a minimum of 11×14? if part of a gallery wall, or 24×36? if hanging alone. – Chasing Daylight Photo 

17) Curated a family portrait gallery based on the colors of your home

One of the best ways to decorate your home stairway is to use family portraits. I always recommend clients plan their portrait outfits with the end goal of hanging them on the walls. By wearing neutral colors or pulling from colors in your home decor, you can use your family portraits to have personalized, one-of-a-kind art that enhances your home decor. – Molly Hensley

18) Intermix your photo gallery with different colors

Wall art galleries on your stairway that feature smaller family photographs are the perfect way to display your favorite people. Don’t be afraid to vary sizes and mix black and white with color photos or different frames – just make sure the frames compliment your existing trim and woodwork. – Jsimpson Photography

19) Go with matching picture frames

When designing a gallery wall for your home stairway, choose matching picture frames with mats. This creates a more intentional and high-end aesthetic when showcasing your family’s special memories. – Lovisa Photo 

Originally published on Redfin.com 

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Kim Hildebrand