NEW 'show & dwell'—pictures above staircase

Through the wonderful world of cyber technology I am able to see that my most popular (most viewed) blog post is "hanging pictures above a staircase," written in Jan. 2008 (you can see it here under "older posts.")

It's so popular that I still get emails about the subject, including questions and pictures from readers. I love getting questions and pictures, so feel free to send them along on any decorating subject and I'll do what I can to respond and help.

Just last week I received the following email:

"I have an open stairway (15 steps) with an 18' ceiling in my foyer. SO MUCH wall space! I also have 3 family-heirloom landscape watercolors, 2 each are 18" x 16" and one is 24" x 22". They'll be lost if I only use them on the stairway. Is it possible to use them in a grouping toward the lower portion of the stairs with the largest at the "bottom" to anchor it, then divide the wall with something else (iron work feature?) and then do some other kind of grouping toward the top? This wall has remained bare for way too long and I would love to use my family heirlooms somehow. Help!!"

Answer: You can include your heirloom landscapes in this space and also add other pieces, as you mentioned, to fill in the remaining space. The challenge, as always, is finding just the right placement.

I've taken your photos and added some boxes to represent artwork. The gray line I drew represents a guide you might use to hang the art—so it all falls to the same lower point. This is one option. The picture shown at the beginning of this posting shows art being stacked in a more random, step-like fashion. Either can work in this case. (I also took the liberty to "move" the art shown on your wall under the stairs, it was hanging a bit too high and wasn't a part of the table grouping in her original picture.)

This second picture is the same staircase, but from a different angle. Again, I made shapes to represent art to show you how you might layout your pieces. And, the funny thing is that I highly recommend you take pieces of paper and do just what I've done here—tape them to your wall to see how they work. It's a puzzle that needs some time to figure out.

The good news is that you DO NOT have to fill the entire 18' of height. I would first focus on the "power zone" (hokey name, huh?), 36" to 72" from the baseboard. That's the space right in front of you, at eye level from your room and while on the stairs.

Keep the width between the art the same (2" to no wider than your palm will work well) and make sure you art overlaps or physically relates in some way all the way up and you will have a fabulous wall. Do you see how in the photo above the pictures vary in size, but all relate to each other? This unifies the art and the wall.

Want more 'show & dwell'? Yes?! It's up to you—send me your questions and pictures and sit on the edge of your seat for my response to your call for help! april@afpinteriors.com


Barb said...

I have 8 grandchildren and since they were babies I have recieved a new 8 x 10 photo of each of them. I have a large wall going down to the basement with an open oak railing on top. I would love to use this wall to display them but it is hard to reach the pictures to change every year. Any suggestions?

April Force Pardoe said...

Barb, congrats on your 8 grandchildren! Lucky you. I would suggest you arrange the photos so that there is a top level that you don't change (your favorites) and a lower level that you can change out annually or as the photos arrive. Good luck and enjoy those great pictures.

Alicia said...

My staircase has a railing on the side where the wall is so it makes it diffucult to hang pictures close to the baseboard. I also have maily 8 x 10's. What would you suggest?