Decorating the walls of your staircase can be a challenge. But with our simple tips, you can create the perfect staircase gallery wall in your home.
I’m a huge fan of gallery walls! I mean who isn’t right? There are so many beautiful designs and I love absolutely love decorating with pictures. Being surrounded by images of those I love makes me happy. I’d rather look at the faces of my kids than a piece of art…call me crazy. Maybe the crazy picture lady…haha!
I have several gallery walls in my home and I may even add more. We have one in our front “formal” living room, my daughter has a grid-style gallery in her bedroom, there’s a small one in our game room, the family room canvas wall, and this staircase gallery wall! Anne has a few at her home too. You should go check out her entryway gallery wall!
And two of them I’ve actually redone since I originally put them together. Can you say, perfectionist? Geez! But seriously you can now learn from my mistakes.
First…how do you lay out a design that you will be proud to show off? I’m going to let you in on some simple tips to help you get it right the first time. Because let’s just say I’ve learned a lot since my first attempt. Now…do you want to see the before picture of our staircase gallery wall?
Not horrible…but also not something I absolutely loved. When we first moved into our house I had a few pictures already in black frames from our old house. Being eager to get this house decorated I rushed to do this staircase wall.
I grabbed a few inexpensive (really cheap…like $2 from Wal-Mart cheap) frames to add to the ones I already had. I painted a couple of other old natural wood frames black so that everything matched. Then I just hung everything up on the wall with a single nail and that was it. Notice the scuffs on the walls and trim in that picture up there?
In the past few years, my decorating style has changed a bit and I’ve learned a lot about size and scale. In the before layout, the frames are spaced a bit too far apart from each other and there is too much wall space not being utilized.
I took down the original gallery wall when we repainted the downstairs of our house. So I figured I’d take the opportunity to reconfigure the layout. Plus any chance I get to add some additional photos of my faves I will take!
First I had to hit up my favorite home stores for a few additional frames for some great photos that I had tucked away in a drawer. A couple of the older pictures were printed in uncommon sizes like 10×13 and 9×11. Hobby Lobby and Michaels to the rescue for those different sizes. I will link some options from Amazon at the bottom of this post for you to make it super easy! ?
To get the exact layout I wanted I decided to make templates of all my frames. I just laid each frame out on a roll of craft paper, traced it and cut out the template. I used painters tape to hang the template frames to create a layout I liked.
It was a little time-consuming to make all those templates but was so worth it as I moved them around a few times….ok maybe like 25 times! But honestly, it was a lot easier to move the paper templates around until I got the exact layout I wanted instead of after hanging them on the wall.
I also decided to use command strips to hang the frames this time around. Over the years those cheap frames started to sag from their cardboard backing that hung on the wall. Also with three kids, 2 dogs and a mom caring a laundry basket on her hip going up and down those stairs every day…the frames were knocked off the wall more than a few times. And if they didn’t completely fall off the wall they definitely moved around and marked up the walls. Since I was almost doubling the number frames I was doubling the chances of them being knocked down. And with a fresh paint job on the walls I wasn’t taking a chance of messing up the walls again.
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I debated hanging the frames with nails and just using one command strip along the bottom to be sure it stayed in place. But in the end, decided to only use command strips and no nails which equals no holes in the wall. If you haven’t worked with command strips before I highly suggest trying them on your gallery wall…they are so easy to use. I used two different size strips depending on the size of the frame. Some frames only needed 2 command strips but others I added 3 to the frame.
They come with 2 parts…one side attaches to your wall and the other to your frame. Just use rubbing alcohol to clean the area you will be attaching the strips to….then adhere the strip…wait an hour to let it cure…then attach the 2 velcro strips together by firmly pressing the frame to the wall.
I was a little hesitant about not using nails because I didn’t want the frames to stick out from the walls. But I was happy with the results…the frames sit flush with the wall and they don’t move at all…can’t even budge them!
So…do you want to see the finished new & improved staircase gallery wall?
Drum roll, please…
I’m thrilled with the outcome. I was able to add some pictures of my kids I hadn’t seen in years. Those pictures are now out for our family & friends to enjoy rather than sitting in a drawer. This gallery wall is dedicated to all the photos of their younger years…I want to remember when they were sweet! Just kidding even though they are teenagers they are still pretty cool kids!
I had several 5×7 prints that I wanted to use but didn’t want to hang frames smaller than 8×10. So I found those cute scalloped frames at hobby lobby that hold 3 – 5×7 pictures…a perfect solution. Just wait to buy them when they are 50% off! Or check out the option from Amazon I linked below.
I also kept frames that matched together in the layout. On the very top row are three of the same frame and I like the look of grouping them together. I also did that in the middle row with the 3 identical frames with black & white prints. I like to use odd numbers when decorating…so having 3 kids helps me keep that rule with frames in my gallery walls.
And again because everyone loves a good before & after…
Here are a few options for different sized black frames that I used for the staircase gallery wall.
- 10×13 black frame
- 9×11 black frame
- 3 – 5×7 opening frame
- 11×14 chunky black frame for 8×10 photo
- Three pack of 8×10 black frames
- Three pack of 8×10 black frames white mat to 5×7
- 10×10 black frame
I hope this post helps you avoid some of the rookie mistakes I made during my first attempt at our staircase gallery wall. Leave me a comment with a tip you have for creating a perfect gallery wall.
Our other gallery wall ideas:
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- Front Entry Gallery Wall: Step-by-step Instructions
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- Canvas Gallery Wall
- DIY Wireless Wall Sconce