Published on March 23, 2020
Creating the right staircase gallery wall layout can be tricky. Whether you’re hanging artwork or family photos, a balanced staircase gallery wall layout is key to achieving a timeless and uncluttered arrangement.
Every time my staircase gallery wall shows up in my Instagram feed or stories, I receive requests for sources and sizes. I get it…staircase gallery walls are hard and can easily look cluttered or busy. So, I decided to break everything down: my choice of art, framing method, sizing, and placement process. Though there’s no real formula for creating a staircase gallery wall, there are some things you can do to achieve a look that is balanced, uncluttered, and timeless.
What to Hang
Art is, and should be, very personal. I wrote a whole post on this subject here. Though it might take longer and require more effort, finding pieces that tell your story in some way will ultimately stand the test of time and bring you more joy than choosing art your neighbor can run to the store and buy. I’m not discounting some of the beautiful art you can find at retail stores, but if you have no connection with a piece, other than you think it’s pretty, it probably doesn’t belong on your wall. On the flip side, don’t overthink your selections. If you see a piece of art and it moves you, that’s your connection…no explanation needed. Your soul knows why you love it, even if your mind doesn’t.
When artwork evokes emotion, it’s connecting to parts of our soul and pulling from memories past and present, to remind us of who we are and why we find something beautiful.
My Staircase Gallery Artwork:
- Tree Sketch
- House Sketch – my dad drew this before I was even born!
- Amber Abstract
- Duck Charcoal – no longer available but there are alternatives in her Etsy shop.
- Watercolor Abstract
How to Frame
Another big question I get when sharing the artwork throughout my home, and especially the art in my staircase gallery wall, is how I mat and frame it. I’ll talk about matting next, but let me share my affordable framing secret with you: I use Hobby Lobby’s frame shop. Did you know they have one? It’s at the back of the store and it’s pure gold. They have a wide variety of different frame choices and price points, so you can get the look you want while staying on budget.
As you can see, Hobby Lobby has an extensive choice of frames. If you don’t have a Hobby Lobby near you, I encourage you to find a local frame shop and utilize them in the same way. I’m sure they would appreciate your business and will work within your budget if possible.
This many options can get overwhelming, so I almost always choose from the far right side of this sample board. Those are the frames that I like the best anyway, and they are the most affordable ones too. You can see they are labeled alphabetically. I stick with I, M and N for the majority of my framing needs.
See those gold/brass ones on the far right? Those are my absolute favorites!
And the wonderful thing about using Hobby Lobby is that their everyday price for customers is 50% off of list price, which makes using their frame shop so affordable.
I do utilize ready-made frames too. In the above picture, the black rectangular frame that’s above the large wooden frame is from Aaron Brothers (a frame store that sadly went out of business). I had several of those frames from a former gallery wall, and I’ve been able to re-purpose them throughout my house. All you need to do is have a custom mat made for the frame. Let’s talk about matting.
See what I did there? For my staircase gallery wall layout, I chose to mat some smaller pieces of artwork with over-sized mats for a more upscale look. I love negative space, and large matting around a small piece of cool artwork gives you a lot of it. Below are some examples of my favorite ways to add drama to any framed piece of art.
Studio McGee used what’s called a bottom-weighted mat for a modern take on framing family photos.
This over-sized mat used by Atmosphere Interior Design is incredibly dramatic!
There are so many different ways to mat artwork that will set your gallery wall apart from others. Get creative, think outside the box, and display your art in a way that makes you happy.
Where to Hang
I haven’t had a staircase for nearly nine years (we lived in a one-story previously), so I sort of had to re-learn how and where to hang art on an angle. I plan to add wainscoting to my staircase once we replace the carpet with hardwood stairs, so I had to keep that in mind for my starting height. I measured, taped off, and let that determine where I would hang the bottom row. Here is an example of how wainscoting looks with a staircase gallery wall.
My friend and very talented artist, Deb Presutto, created a rendering of my exact staircase gallery wall layout, with correct dimensions, and added images of her artwork. I love how it looks with her collection, and you can order the entire set of prints HERE and then use the measurements listed below to have them framed. Easy!
Bonus Gallery Wall Info
Last month, when I shared our Reading Nook Before and After, a lot of you had questions about this gallery wall because it’s right next to the nook and got a lot of exposure in my Instagram stories. I ended up stealing the vintage Dalmatian piece for the reading nook and will find another piece to fill in here, but this grouping of art is a good example of utilizing ready-made frames and mats when needed. Nothing is custom-framed or matted except the vintage Dalmatian art, and that’s not even matted. So many of you have asked for sources for this artwork, so I figured I’d put them all here for permanent reference.
Family Room Gallery Wall Art
- Windmill Print
- Tree Sketch
- Vintage Dalmatian Art
- Sheep Art (this was a gift from my sister several years ago)
- Floral Art
Hopefully this answers all the questions you have about the art I chose for my staircase gallery wall, how I matted and framed it, and where I hung it. If I missed anything, please feel free to drop me a line in the comments below and I will get back to you with the answer.
Until next time,