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Advice for HomeownersArt and Beauty

Vancouver Interior Designers: How to Hang Art on a Staircase Wall

By 11/07/2011July 14th, 201917 Comments

I am helping a client plan a family wall of art. She lives in a house with a spectacular spiral staircase and has a large wall she’d love to use to showcase family photos.

Just a pretty spiral staircase, unrelated to art here (source)

First we went to Ikea for several sizes of Ribba frames. Then we’re going to take out the paper inside first (which is basically the size of the frame) and tape them to the wall to make sure we are happy with the arrangement (example below). Hanging them will take a professional installer with a staircase ladder so we need to do this work in advance.


Then, once we decide that we like what we have arranged, we will get a few framed professionally so that it looks like a combination of different frames.

Spacing doesn’t seem to be an issue as you can see by the photos I’ve posted below. Random or spaced perfectly, it all looks great.

If you want more of a formal art gallery look, keep the frames all the same colour but I also like them in different colours. The mats in the same colour keeps the look cohesive.

I’ll be showing Before and Afters, but in the meantime, here are some great photos for inspiration on all the different combinations of sizes:

Things that Inspire

I like this one with the big frame and then the smaller ones around it.


I cannot imagine what kind of scaffolding this would have taken to install!

Pure Style Home

This is a great example of images hung randomly.


This arrangement is dramatic but most of these frames are too small for my client’s wall.


This should provide enough inspiration for a variety of combinations on your stairwell wall!

Is yours empty or do you have it decorated (my stairwell is still a work in progress).

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Related posts:

Ribba Frames from IKEA; A Transformation

Does your Art have a Story?

Should your Art Coordinate with your Home?



  • debra phillips @ 5th and state says:

    brilliant collection of images maria. thanks for continued inspiration!

  • Look forward to see how it turns out! Hanging art groupings is one of my FAVORITE parts of decorating homes. That’s when the true personality of the home owner can be showcased.


  • I did have a bunch of photos in frames of different sizes on my staircase wall but they have fallen off over the years–our staircase is completely enclosed and it’s just too narrow, unfortunately!

    Thank you so much for helping me with my problem accessing the newsletter content. I can now access them–hooray! I read several this afternoon.

    You are fabulous!
    (Looking forward to the e-book.)

  • Donna Frasca says:

    Oh this is such a dilemma! So many people do this wrong or are too afraid to even attempt it.

    I’m not a fan of art on the stairs. I have three of my paintings just on the landing that can be viewed when you descend the stairs but nothing on the walls as you go up.

    Art on the stairs and a TV over the mantle are two designs ‘trends’ that I just don’t agree with. I think art on the stairs usually looks messy and is basically undustable once you hang it. However, this is very helpful advice for the people who do like it.

    Lovin’ your new blog!

  • Hi Maria – I think I agree with Donna (above). I’m not a big fan of art on the stairs – much prefer to use the landing as a focal point. However that being said, a spiral staircase provides a different challenge as there is probably no landing and the walls are the focal point. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!

  • My staircase is the focal point in our foyer. The wall behind the staircase has a faux finish that is a replica of a wall I took a picture of in France. It looks aged to perfection. Our family pictures (gallery) are displayed in the hallway as you get to the top of the stairs. I love Lauren’s stairway above. Great post Maria! Ruthie

  • Anon says:

    I love photos or art along the wall of a staircase. Otherwise, it is just like a hallway with empty walls.

  • I love the pictures in this post and can’t wait to see the results of your project. I really like the picture with the narrow spiral staircase. I would not have wanted to be the one hanging the pictures! makes me want a two-story house!

  • Stacy Schaefer says:

    In my old house I had a collection of various family photos going up our staircase. I found the keys were to keep it fairly minimal (some of the inspiration pictures seemed a bit overwhelming to me), all the same matts — and though I had different frames, they were all stained wood. (…NO BLACK & WOOD COMBOS!…) I also added objects, such as my Grandfather’s war metal, to break up the space.

    But, the BEST thing I did was to put a small piece of double-sided adhesive velcro at the bottom of each frame. That way I could still change out the pictures and I was no longer constantly straightening them as my kids, husband, laundry baskets, etc. hit them!

    You may see it at: and search under: 408 Robineau Road, 13207

  • Alison Hodd says:

    How to dress up a curved staircase has been on my mind too! I’m wondering if you have any concerns with the art being stable enough on a curved surface. If so, how will you tightly secure it? I have kids and am worried about them knocking off the art. Perhaps you are mounting it high enough that to avoid that. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • Hi Maria, A very timely post. I was talking just yesterday to an artist friend about grouping images on walls. I am a fan of giving images space on a wall to breath, but like the idea of irregular groupings for a family gallery or on a staircase as you show in this blog. I think I have been scared to try it, but your advice on using the paper from the Ribba frames is great and now makes it feasible for me. I too look forward to the before and after shots.

  • Yvette Kelley says:

    Brilliant Maria, what a wonderful idea.

    Thank you!

  • Donna, I couldn’t agree more about the TV over the mantle, somehow it’s just not the right place, if you have a fireplace in the living room, enjoy the fireplace for what it is, keep the TV hidden in a cabinet. I also like the idea of framing the TV, just not over the fireplace.

  • Natalie says:

    Hi, Maria. I can’t have pictures on the stairwell wall though I have many travel pictures in other rooms and landing. With two boys running frames would be down instantly. I’ve chosen to paint it glossy faux tiles in funny pattern. Easy to clean and much more cheerful than the dull grey before. You can see it here:
    Interesting subject as always.

  • Maria,

    Great post and from an preservation standpoint a dark stairwell is a wonderful place for art and many older photos because it protects them from the aging effects of sunlight.

    Have had several requests for art/photo gallery walls and clients like to schedule them right after the holidays because they have new items to display and enjoy.


  • Color Symphony says:

    Maria, I found this artical very useful, Thanks for the sharing and welcome you to give some valueable advice on my newly opened design blog:

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