HomeHome Updates: Tips & IdeasDecorating Ideas and How To'sHow to Make a Photo Display or Gallery On the Stairs

How to Make a Photo Display or Gallery On the Stairs

Posted on March 1, 2013 by KylieMawdsley
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Artwork or Photo Gallery Ideas for Stairs

Making a photo display in your stairway is a great way to show off your pride and joy! And it’s not just a great idea for family photos, it’s also great for pet lovers, world travellers or just exceptional photographers.

Placing “like” items in a grouping enhances their impact.


Here are some of the frames you will need…

1.  3-5 Dominant FramesIkea Ribba frame to create a gallery or art wall up stairs

Large/stairwell displays use more dominant pieces whereas a standard wall display uses 2 at the most. These dominant pieces are the pictures that are usually the largest and most striking. For most of my displays, I use Ikea’s Ribba 20×20 frame as my dominant piece.

2.  1-3 Bridging Frames

These are the frames that will be used to link your dominant pieces on a standard wall display. A bridge piece is usually a frame that accommodates 2-3 photos (approx 4×6 or 5×7’s) in a horizontal row. For a stair display, you may substitute a few filler pieces for a bridge piece if you aren’t familiar with making displays.Olunda picture frame for stair gallery wallAnother great Ikea option is something like this (if you just take their image out and replace it with yours) Olunda Picture Frame.

3.  Filler pieces

These frames are the ones that fill in the space around your dominant and bridge pieces. Make sure you have a nice mix of 8×10’s/4×6’s/5×7’s/etc…You’ll want to leave approximately 3-4″ between each picture.

  • Generally, it’s better if the majority of the frames look similar to one another. For example, 95% of my frames are black frames with white mats. I threw in a few different ones just for shits and giggles.
  • You can choose to have all of your photos in black and white which is a striking and cohesive look. However, don’t be afraid to mix it up with colour photos here and there.

Remember this is YOUR wall, make sure it’s pictures that you love to look. And these are just some ideas to get you started, feel free to throw in a bit of your own creativity!

Also, you will find the process a LOT less painful if you make paper templates of each frame and hang them on the wall BEFORE you get the hammer and nails out, this way you can get a general feel for the flow and layout. 

Step 1     Place your dominant pieces staggered evenly up the stairwell

how to hang a photo gallery or artwork display going up stairs or a stairway

Whatever angle your stairs are, you’ll want your pictures to rise on the exact same angle.

Now here’s where it gets fiddle-farty. The bottom right corner of each frame should be approx 40″ from the step it’s related to. If it crosses 2 steps then relate it to the higher of the 2 steps. (Relating to means the stair that it is positioned above)

Step 2     Add 1-3 Bridge Frames

ideas for how to make a photo gallery or artwork display going up a stairway or stairs

Depending on your layout (and your comfort zone) “multi-frames” can look great to really enhance the stepped-up look. They are also a great grounding element to your dominants and will slow down the busy-ness of too many filler pieces as they combine 2-3 photos in one frame.

Step 3     Fill in the blanks with Filler Frames

You can use a wide variety of shapes and sizes.  Go horizontal, vertical – mix it up.  Again, keep the distance between frames no less than 2″ and no more than 4″ apart if you can help it.

How to personalize a home with an art or photo gallery wall going up the stairs or staircase. On Benjamin Moore Chocolate Fondue by Kylie M Interiors

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature

Read more: The Right Height to Hang Artwork and Mirrors


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