Creating a Staircase Art Gallery

Hanging pictures in a stairwell is a classic choice. The wall along a staircase otherwise could go unused, and that is why so many grandparents choose to display their grandchildren's school pictures along this wall, inviting guests to linger and admire their perfect grandchildren. Update the classic stairwell gallery by choosing a variety of candid family photographs or treasured pieces of art in frames that echo rather than mimic each other.

Choosing Art

The stairwell gallery should reflect the family that runs up and down the stairs all day. A gallery of candid family photos, vacation photos, collected art from travels, photos of ancestors, or a combination of all four are all good choices. Gallery creators should be careful not to get bogged down in the selection. Photos and art pieces can—and should—be swapped out every few years to reflect the evolution of the family's taste or the family itself.

Choosing Frames

When it comes to picture framing, there is no lack of options. Choose a metal that stands out against the paint color of the wall or choose a stained wood that matches the stain on the stairs or handrail. Although the material of the frames should match, the frames themselves don't have to. Choose a variety of shapes and designs to add interest to the gallery.

Creating the Gallery

Measure the dimensions of the stairwell and mark them out on the floor using painter's tape. Decide whether the gallery should go all the way to the floor or stop at the handrail. If it goes all the way to the floor, be sure to leave between 6 and 10 inches of empty space between the stairs and the lowest frame to allow for foot traffic. If the gallery will go to the handrail, some space is still necessary, but not quite as much as 10 inches. Next place the framed images into the taped-off space one at a time. Try lining up the negative space between the frames or try to create a grouping that radiates out from a central image. Pay as much attention to the empty space as to the frames themselves because doing so well create a cohesive look. Continue to rearrange the frames until the grouping is pleasing, and then take a picture of the arrangement.

Hanging the Frames

Use the picture of the floor arrangement to hammer picture nails into the stairwell wall. Hang the framed photos or pieces of art on the picture nails. Ensure each frame is straight, and then use museum putty to adhere the frames to the wall so that they don't shift out of place as people brush by them as they run up and down the stairs.