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Gallery wall made easy: A guide to the statement wall your staircase has been missing

Steven Sabados' tips and tricks for showing off your curated collection in an overlooked space.

Steven Sabados' tips and tricks for showing off your curated collection in an overlooked space.

A striking feature in any room, gallery walls are the perfect way to show off your art collection or family photos. And that's probably why they've held on to their popularity for so long. They are gorgeous when executed correctly, but can be difficult to achieve — especially on your staircase where you don't have a consistent starting point and it's hard to determine where to hang your carefully curated collection. But done well, the staircase gallery wall is the perfect way to make use of an often overlooked space. So we asked our in-house design expert to share his secrets to mastering this look. Here is everything you need to know to pull together an impactful gallery wall up you stairs, straight from Steven Sabados.

Where to begin

For a successful gallery wall, you must have a consistent starting point — but that can be hard when you're working on an uneven surface like stairs. So Steven suggests using a piece of painters tape to measure 60" from each step of your stairs. Mark a small x to indicate each point, and then take a piece of painter's tape to connect the x's and act as your guide. Now you know the rough centre of each stair.

Paper templates

Settling on a layout can be overwhelming. Planning is integral to a successful gallery wall, so Steven recommends cutting paper templates roughly the size of your frames and then arranging those on the wall to help you decide on spacing and placement. Paper templates also help with hanging because you can drill your screws right through them.

Keeping things in line

When hanging artwork on a staircase, aim to keep some, if not all, of your lines on a grid like perfectly crossed streets on a map. This might not always be possible, so do it where you can for some constancy. Keep your gallery tailored by choosing a single colour frame and making all the photos black and white, or keep the photos in full colour if you'd like. When curating and arranging, keep in mind that you're trying to create a statement — so the whole wall should read as a single piece of art or an art installation.

Double hang

If crooked pictures on the wall drive you nuts, you're not alone. The key to avoiding this is using two screws to hang your pieces. This keeps your artwork from moving if you brush up against it. It also is a great idea if you have kids, as it will keep your artwork tighter to the wall than a single nail.

Wallpaper works

If wallpapering an entire room seems like too much of a commitment, stairways are the perfect place to incorporate it instead. Luckily, there's often a logical start and stop point to paper — just be sure to choose a vinyl paper for longevity because your staircase is such a high traffic area.

Show off your artwork

If you can only make one art statement up the stairs, either centre it on the stairs or put it at the bottom. If you have more than that, as we do here, start with those two pieces at the centre and bottom of the stairs, and fill it out between.

Texture is key

The key to an art gallery wall up the stairs is incorporating texture and mixed mediums. Mix up photos, paintings, framed and unframed works, etc. All the basic rules are the same. Start with paper, double hang the work, and hang them 60" to centre from each stair and your staircase should be ready to wow.

Resource guide:

Ikea

Michaels

Art Interiors

  • Artwork from wallpapered wall

Primetime Paint & Paper

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