Stairway Gallery Wall {Mixing it Up}

Stairway Gallery Wall {Mixing it Up}

How to Create an Eclectic Stairway Gallery Wall

Ilove to mix things up design-wise at my house. By playing with various textures, shapes and colors in a space you can come up with a unique look that has so much dimension and adds life to a space! ¬†Along those lines, I’ve had a few questions on what I included in my stair gallery wall so I thought I’d share a few more photos and tips today!

Please excuse the fact that my stair treads and railing need to be repainted and there is dust galore and random other things out of place due to all the construction going on. Eh hem. Let’s just call that “additional texture” ok?

Stairway Gallery Wall {Mixing it Up}

For this stair wall, my only “theme” to tie it all together was a bit of a sea or nautical feeling. It is important to me to not overdo an actual theme, so while several of my gallery wall items have maps or boats on them, many of the items I used are simple mirrors or a clock. By mixing things up, you get the feeling you want in your home, without a theme screaming at you.

Stairway Gallery Wall {Mixing it Up}

For this particular gallery wall, I also avoided the “matchy” approach of repeating the same frames. While simply matching frames is very effective and attractive for a gallery wall, for my entry I was looking for a bit more interest and personality to set the stage for the style of our home.

Stairway Gallery Wall {Mixing it Up}

You will notice that I have gold and even silver toned metal frames, rugged black wood frames, antiqued white frames and random painted frames. Thin frames, thick frames, metal and wood items. Shiny and rough things. I also played around with various shapes. I have an oval clock, rectangular and square frames and even a round mirror. And of course, my coastal lantern (found at awhile back).

Stairway Gallery Wall {Mixing it Up}

To fill the frames I used old prints, real paintings and photo copies. I didn’t worry about professionally framing things. In fact, some of my art is just taped on the matting, shhhh, don’t tell anyone. I’m not too particular about it all. Most people won’t analyze it. And if they do, we probably wouldn’t get along too well.

Stairway Gallery Wall {Mixing it Up}

And my stairs themselves play with texture and color. Black hand rails contrast with white railings and light but warm wood treads with plenty of their own texture and personality. And my recycled woven basket from HomeGoods is the finishing touch!

Stairway Gallery Wall {Mixing it Up}

Question: Where did I get all my gallery wall items?
Answer: Shopping the house, ladies.

I love to shop around my own house. Since I pretty much emptied my entire house and all my walls in order to freshen up paint and rooms recently, I was able to pull from a few different collections of wall items and bring things together that seemed pleasing to my eyes.

Of course, shopping the house assumes you’ve been collecting items over time. If you haven’t been collecting frames and mirrors or other interesting items for your home, you might want to start collecting things you love. It takes time if you are on a budget but the process is fun! I have a great shopping tip for you at the bottom of this post!

Question: How did I lay it all out?
Answer:  One the floor first, but then basically made it up as we went up the stairs.

First, my daughter and I put everything we wanted to use on the floor and kind of laid out a basic pattern that we thought would work. Then we started at the stair landing and just nailed stuff up. We didn’t use any templates or any tricks or fancy measuring techniques because we like to live on the edge of risk and danger. Actually, we are just terrible with math.

We just kept working our way up the wall hammering nails and hanging pictures in small sections, adjusting as we went until things looked OK! It isn’t perfect but we are totally fine with that.

Question: How do you build up a collection for a gallery wall?
Answer: One piece at a time.

Do you like to mix things up at your house or does that concept scare you a little bit?


  1. I *love* this! Such great yet simple ideas – and it looks so beautiful. Now to shop my house…

  2. Barbara (WA) says

    Melissa, you are a Master at mixing things, really! The results turn out so warm and appealing without looking like a bad mash-up, or childish. I used to be afraid to mix metals, or frames, or . . . Our whole house has had shiny brass everything (built in the 80’s during my Victorian phase) and now we are gradually changing it out. But I do love softer gold tones, silvers, black, white and am happy to be inspired to mix it up. Thanks!

  3. I love the way you’ve decorated your stairwell! I have such a hard time mixing and matching decorations… I’m very much a Libra, and have a hard time not wanting to make everything balanced and symmetrical, though that’s the look I always admire in others’ decor! Thanks for the tips!

  4. thanks for this Melissa! it’s funny you mentioned not worrying about matching frames because I was just trying to convince a friend of mine that mismatching is fun and yes gasp even mixing metals. She saw it in my foyer but wasn’t quite brave enough to replicate it; I’ll shoot her over here for confirmation that I’m not insane :-)

    not that there’s anything wrong with matching…I do it in some areas of my home but definitely not everywhere.

    thanks as always for sharing your home and wonderful creativity.

    • Ha, that is funny. I have another gallery wall that is all matching frames and black and white prints so I think it is fun to do BOTH in a house, just for variety!!

  5. Wow! LOVE it Melissa! Last year we cleaned out my mother-in-law’s house and sold it. A saved a few things I really like, but am not sure what to do with them. Now I know. A staircase gallery would be perfect! And love your style! No template! You continue to be my favorite blogger. Wish I had time to stop by more often. Genevieve

  6. Love it Melissa! What paint color is on the walls? It’s a great neutral.

    • Thanks Dawn! It is Studio Taupe by Behr. We adore it! My lighting was a bit off this morning but it is really a nice brownish gray!

      • Thanks for posting the paint color!! Your stairway project changed the way I imagined my own stairway (although yours is lovely and open, mine is closed in and not so open!). I’ll be looking for Studio Taupe by Behr for the paint color! Merci!

  7. See, that is the skill I don’t have. I have a blank wall that I want to make into a gallery but not just pics, but I don’t know how to mix and match. I’m so saving your pics as inspiration!!!

  8. I think this is the best gallery wall I have ever seen! I’m a person who normally prefers things perfectly aligned, so that is really saying a lot. I love it and I love your shopping tip, and now I’m inspired to mix things up a bit too. Of course, I’ll have to come back here for reference.

  9. I love your gallery wall — one of my favorite things about it is that you continued down to the bottom of the wall. I think that is such a neat and interesting part of it! The collected-over-time look is my favorite, and I really enjoy shopping around my apartment when I want to spruce something up. :-)

  10. elizabeth says

    did you also get your clock at homegoods?

  11. I have been working on my stairwell too and you have given me BOAT LOADS (:)) of inspiration!

    Thanks, Cindy

  12. It looks great

  13. I just picked up the same recycled basket a couple of weeks ago to use as a hamper in my kids’ room! Now I know for sure that it’s cool. ;)

  14. I wish I could say I’m a good mixer of styles but I’m not. When I step out of my comfort zone usually I end up saying, no that doesn’t work. Last month I just bought a 3×5 Albert & Dash striped rug to put under a coffee table (it’s denim and cream and so unlike me) and I. love. it.

  15. I love this post, thanks! I’m always trying to be eclectic and mix styles and don’t feel like I ever get it quite right. This is great inspiration!

  16. Bottom line. You’ve got a great eye for spotting beautiful things and arranging them.
    Thanks for this helpful post. I’m inspired!!!!!
    I’m wondering if you can spring board this to another area that many of us probably struggle with….the wall area over the sofa. For years the only place for my sofa was in front of the window. Now….I have the big blank canvas that I have stuck a thing or two or four (I know not an odd number)…but I’m feeling really intimidated. And oh…my walls are plaster so I guess I’d better not be pretending they are pincushions for my pictures! LOL!
    Wishing you An Extraordinary Day!

  17. …simply perfect…gallery walls…especially stairway walls…should be eclectic…just like the people in a family…no one’s feet hit the stairs in the same way…and no one’s walls should be the same…this looks just like your family…not anyone else’s…and that is why it is so perfect…blessings laney

  18. Thanks for sharing and I love the gallery wall. Would you please share with me the paint color on the stair wall?


  19. I love this wall the light and the clock are fantastic. The basket the bottom of the stairs is great.


  20. I’m paralyzed with fear at the thought of hanging just ONE picture! Can you imagine what would happen if I try to do a gallery wall? I love your eclectic mix and if I ever do get brave enough to do a gallery wall I’ll come back here for reference!

    We’re in the middle of putting down a new floor too so I totally get the dust and chaos you are going through!

  21. Marilyn Holeman says

    Hi Melissa, I love your new floors and stairs–gorgeous! I also really like your map of Italy. Do you remember where you got it? I just finished a gallery wall filled with old family photos. My husband’s relatives are from Italy. So, I was wondering. . .

    Thanks for your inspiration.


  22. Valerie J. says

    It’s beautiful Melissa! Thank you for the wonderful tips and great execution! It is very inspirational.

  23. I love your stairway! The mixture is great and I love how it all works well together. Great basket on the stairs!

  24. Melissa… just want you to know I really enjoy your posts… and all of the ideas you bring to light; things to think about; things to ponder to see if they or something like them will work in my house.. I am a “let’s mix it up” kind of lady. and you definitely help in my decor process.

    • Thank you Joan, I’m SO happy to hear that you enjoy the posts. Knowing we are all enjoying the same kinds of things makes sharing extra fun!

  25. Love this eclectic gallery stairway. . The flooring are gorgeous

  26. I really love your gallery/stair wall because it is different without matching items. I seldom like something that looks too contrived and planned. It’s the differences to me that makes it wonderful and interesting.

  27. KimSmolen says

    I am looking to create a “collection” of items going up my staircase. I love your blog and learned lots from this post. I was wondering what color you have on your walls going up your staircase. My floor color is similiar and I like the look. Thanks.

  28. Thank you so much for this post. I have been slowly collecting old family photos, art, frames and mirrors because I wanted to create an eclectic wall going up my stairs. I have been having all the stuff leaning up against a wall because I felt overwelmed by “templates” and how I “should” do it. You have inspired me to just go for it! And I am now thinking…duh…didn’t I want eclectic? Templates don’t work with eclectic style!

  29. You have definitely inspired me to do a gallery wall….and get all those pictures out of the cabinets and onto the wall! Do you remember the exact name of the coastal lantern from wayfair? I looked on their website….but they have too many to look at…..and I love yours.

    Keep decorating!
    Thanks, Denise

  30. Hi, I like the banister painted black. What paint and color did you use ?

  31. PunchyJones says

    Mixing things up a little has always scared me until I read your post/article. This looks awesome! Already started “shopping my house” in my head while reading this. THANKS for the inspiration!

  32. What paint colors did you use on the stripes,in the living room, and kitchen. Thanks

    • Hi Melissa,
      Love the wall. Could you share how high you mounted your sconces? I am thinking about 7 feet above stair. What did you do?

Join the Conversation