Add drama or whimsy to your split level stairs with paint, tape and creativity.

How to Decorate Split Level Stairs

by Kris Gleba

Everyday you remind yourself to decorate your split level stairs. Everyday when you run out the door, sprint down to the laundry room or simply go outside to get the mail, that tired stairwell divided by a small landing stares you in the face, begging for a makeover. Today is the day to bust out the tools and materials to give that stairwell what it longs for. And once you are done, rather than simply walking all over your stairs, you and your family can appreciate them as well.

Rise to the Occasion

Get off on the right foot by focusing your decorating concentration on the risers. Add a dash of color to an all-white stairway by painting the risers black or a color you love but consider too daring to use on your walls, such as turquoise or orange. Three colors that work together, such as olive green, light green and egg-yolk yellow lend a touch of spring year-round. Use your favorite phrases or quotes to make a statement by stenciling a sentence onto each riser. Use different statements for each set of stairs. Decals offer visual interest and are easy to remove, while wallpaper offers permanent impact.

Runner, Runner

Rely on carpet runners to add cohesive color to both parts of your split level stairs. A solid carpet runner protects the stairs and does not interfere with other decorative elements. But a patterned carpet runner, such as traditional oriental or contemporary circles, contributes a primary decorative element. In lieu of using actual carpet, paint each part instead. Inject color into the entryway by painting a series of thick and thin stripes, reminiscent of ticking fabric. Simpler tactics, such as painting a solid runner in a daring shade of red or purple, offers a bright shock of color to an otherwise plain entryway. Protect the split's typical small landing by providing a door mat and metal shoe tray for storing shoes when kids are indoors.

On the Hook

Take advantage of the fact that kids are always leaving a trail behind of clothes, books and toys on the stairs and provide storage for these tossed items. Mount decorative hooks at various heights on the walls of each stairwell so that all members of the family can hang their jackets and bags. Place a series of stair baskets on the bottom of the stairs in hopes that children will toss their toys in the baskets and not on the stairs.

Writing's On the Wall

Make a statement with either artwork, photos, wall decals or all three. A large piece of artwork, either bought or handcrafted, lends color and drama to the large wall space in the entry as long as it does not interfere with people getting in and out of the door. Framed photos, either in the same color frame or with the same finish, introduce your family to all guests who enter the house. Black-and-white photos in red frames shine when positioned on a white wall. Wall decals allow you to make graphic statements without permanent damage. A large-scale decal of a stag head silhouette is as eye-catching as it is feasible.

About the Author

Lowell, Massachusetts-based writer Kris Gleba has been writing home decor articles since 2008. She enjoys all aspects of small home living, from complete gut remodels to ingenius home decorating that incorporates style and function. She has previously written for the “Athol Daily News.” She holds a degree in professional writing from Fitchburg State University.

Photo Credits

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