Staircase Gallery Wall - Design Tips & Layouts

November 08, 2021

Staircase Gallery Wall - Design Tips & Layouts

You’ve decided it’s high time to conquer that slanted, tricky wall space along your staircase by hanging pictures to create a beautiful gallery wall display, but where to start?  What different layouts should you consider?  How big should the artwork be?  How in the world do you go about hanging art in a strategic manner? 

We are here to break that all down for you!  First we will show several different layouts for staircase gallery walls and then we will share useful design tips and picture hanging tricks.


Staircase Gallery Wall Layouts

ORGANIC:  

Organic gallery wall layouts are a great way to add lots of interest and to showcase an eclectic collection of art on a stairway wall. You can incorporate a mixture of artwork and family photos, display different sizes, have a variety of frame styles or stick with matching frames, incorporate a large piece of framed artwork, etc - the sky really is the limit. 

This design also allows you to “grow as you go”.  You can begin with a base of 5-7 pieces in the most visible area of the wall and add to your art collection over time, continuing up the stair wall.  Organic layouts take some strategizing, but are easily adaptable to staircase walls.  

FREE RESOURCE: For a deeper dive on designing a gallery wall including layouts, inspiration pictures and additional lighting + picture hanging tips, download our free 25-page Ultimate Gallery Wall Guidebook.  Then come back here to adapt those ideas to your staircase walls!

 

Staircase Gallery Wall Organic Layout

SYMMETRICAL:  

Modern, clean, and simple, symmetrical gallery wall layouts are orderly and pleasing to the eye.  Symmetrical staircase gallery walls do best with framed artwork with the same dimensions and matching frames.  A white frame theme or all black frames are popular choices that complement just about all types of art pieces or family photos.

 

Symmetrical Staircase Gallery Wall

PRO TIP: If you are framing smaller pieces like family pictures and wish to incorporate a variety of sizes or orientations, use mats to “fill in” the difference to maintain the same frame size frames.

 

Framed Mat Variations

Horizontal Framed Mat Variations

 

Staircase Gallery Wall Design Tips

SIZING: 

Be mindful that unlike that large wall over your couch, a stairway wall will be viewed close up, so try to stick with small to medium sized pieces. 

 

PLACEMENT:  

After you have collected the artwork for your gallery wall, it is always best practice to lay them all down on the floor, starting with the middle piece and working your way out. To mimic a staircase wall, lay a piece of string or painter’s tape on the ground at roughly a 45 degree angle to be your “centerline” and place the artwork over that line. You can swap them around as many times as it takes until you are happy with the result.

PRO TIP:  If you are having trouble visualizing the added layer of the slanted centerline, you can start by laying them out as if they would be a “regular” gallery wall (non-slanted) as you begin deciding on placement.  Then shift them to the slanted layout.

 

MORE DESIGN TIPS:
  • With organic layouts, alternate between hanging frames vertically and horizontally
  • If you have one large piece, put that one in the center of the layout
  • If you have more than one large piece, space them out to create balance
  • Hang each piece 2-3 inches apart in each direction
  • Start with the middle lowest frame and work your way out

 How to Hang a Gallery Wall

 

Staircase Gallery Wall Hanging Tips & Tricks

Once you are happy with your layout, grab a measuring tape, pencil and painters tape and head to your staircase. 

Your centerline parallels the angle of your staircase, 57” up from the floor.  Mark that point above the bottom stair, and make another mark above the top stair.  Place painter’s tape on the wall from point to point.  This will be your official centerline.

 

HANGING TIPS & DIRECTIONS:
  • Start by hanging the largest and lowest middle frame, at the center point or middle of your gallery wall space
  • Before proceeding, take a step back and view the first one’s placement from different angles, including from the top of the stairs, and make appropriate adjustments
  • Pick up the next piece of artwork directly to the right or left of the middle piece and hold it up in the appropriate place 
  • Lightly mark the top and bottom of the frame you are hanging with a pencil, remove the tape from that area, and then hang that piece
  • Repeat one by one, removing tape as you go until finished
  • Erase any visible pencil marks

PRO TIP:  If you are taking on an organic layout and need some extra assurance before grabbing your hammer and nails, this bit of extra work can really pay off.  Using butcher paper or craft paper, cut out exact sizes of each piece of artwork.  Tape each of them on your staircase wall and adjust as needed.  Remove the centerline tape.  Lightly mark an outline of each piece, and then begin hanging with extra confidence!


How to Design Staircase Gallery Wall

 

Staircase Gallery Walls Landing Ideas

Adding yet another gallery wall at the top of your staircase landing is a great idea to keep the decor flow in your home.  The nice thing about staircase landings is that they will seem super simple as compared to the slanted variety we just covered.   

Consider mixing it up with the layout.  If you created a symmetrical staircase gallery wall, pair it with an organic staircase landing gallery wall.  If you crafted an organic layout up the stairs, go for a symmetrical grid at the top!  

 

Organic Gallery Wall Layout

Symmetrical Gallery Wall Layout

We hope these tips were helpful and you now feel like you know how to hang pictures up a staircase wall like a pro. Enjoy the process and happy decorating!

 

Need picture hanging tips? Check out our blog: How to Hang Framed Art

Free tool to hang art at eye level: Art Hanging Calculator

 

Looking for gallery wall ideas or for gallery wall sets that are ready to hang? Shop our curated gallery wall sets here

San Diego Gallery Wall

Pictured: San Diego Vibes Gallery Wall Collection in mixed black and white frames. Also available in all black frames or all white frames.

 

Want more? For a complete guide to designing your own gallery wall or to get inspired by more gallery wall ideas, download our Free Guidebook:

Download Gallery Wall Guidebook






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