Christmas stair decor ideas – ways to add festive cheer to staircases

Add a magical welcome to your home with our selection of stylish ideas for decorating your stairs

Whilst your Christmas tree is often the centre of attention and a wreath can create an impact on your front door, never forget the power of a well-dressed staircase to create the perfect festive mood. Any cheery Christmas stair decor ideas will likely be the first thing guests see on arrival  – so make it count.

Wrap garlands around handrails, top newel posts with floral displays or wrap spindles with ribbon, for an instant seasonal upgrade this Christmas. Whether you want to buy a ready made garland or make your very own decorations this year, we've got lots of of gorgeous Christmas stair styling decor ideas just for you.

Christmas stair decor ideas

Don't just stop at your hallway, continue your Christmas ideas right the way up to the landing, using garlands through banisters, or hang baubles between spindles. If there's space a small potted tree adds a festive feel, not to mention a seasonal scent of fresh pine.

1. Dress a banister with colourful blooms

Black staircase decorated with green garland and hydrangea heads next to white bench filled with wrapped gifts

(Image credit: Future PLC/WAYFAIR/ADAM CARTER)

Stuff your stairwell full of Christmas decor ideas this year, with serious 'more-is-more' attitude. 'Seriously spruced stairwell décor is one of the hottest trends for Christmas 2021, offering festive impact without busting the budget,' says Wayfair's Resident Style Advisor, Nadia McCowan Hill.

'Recreate the look of the moment with a base layer of green garland, layered up with an abundance of dried hydrangea heads, sprayed metallic and jewel-coloured foliage, finished with a dusting of micro-LED fairy lights. This luxe look works perfectly in a hallway setting, totally transforming a staircase.'

2. Match your decorations to your decor

Wrapped gifts and christmas crackers next to gold pot with small tree and decorations in front of decorated green staircase

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Co-ordinate your Christmas staircase decor idea with the rest of your hallway scheme, choosing shades of sage green for baubles and gift wrap and adding pops of brighter greens in ribbons and tealight holders. Wooden decorations make for a beautiful natural finish for your tree. Match the colour to that of your Christmas living room decor ideas to create a seamless flow of festive colour throughout.

Buy it now: Fraser fir garland, £139, Balsam Hill

3. Entwine fresh ivy with simple paper stars

Black staircase railing decorated with strands of green ivy and paper stars

(Image credit: Ti-Media Content/James Balston)

Keep your Christmas stair decor ideas simple for an understated approach to decorating. Let beautiful architectural balustrades be the centre of attention by delicately threading long lengths of ivy in and around them, finishing off with the addition of some simple paper stars.

4. Wrap balustrades up with ribbon

Lit candles on wooden hallway table next to staircase decorated with golden ribbons, branches and pine cones next and gifts on the stairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Scott)

Get creative with your Christmas hallway decorating idea by tying lengths of Christmas ribbon around individual spindles. This simple but impactful idea creates a perfectly wrapped festive staircase. Continue the neutral scheme by adding natural elements and foraged finds such as branches, pinecones or even dried fruit to your evergreen garland.

5. Go for patriotic red, white and blue

Pine tree in pot with fairy lights on wooden floor next to wrapped gifts and decorated balustrade

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Alternate baubles embedded tightly into the garland with baubles hung in clusters, to create a cascading effect along your bannister. Choose a bunch of three different coloured baubles – a red, a white and a blue to create a co-ordinated scheme without it being 'matchy-matchy'. Go for shatterproof, paper or wooden decorations on stair garlands to prevent accidental breakages.

6. Make a grand entrance

Brown carpeted stairs with wrapped gifts on stairs and fresh flower and foliage garland decorating the balustrade

(Image credit: Ti-Media Content/Dan Duchars)

Make a stunning statement in the hallway with a fresh flower-and-foliage garland. Pick flowers to match your theme and even mix in cinnamon sticks to add some winter fragrance. If you like to decorate early and are worried about the fresh flowers all you need do is remove the blooms as they begin to fade and replace with new.

7. Create a seasonal scent surprise

White staircase with potted plant onto each step surrounded by baubles with decorated balustrade

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Elevate treads and risers this year by adding a small potted plant onto each step, surrounded with a cluster of shatterproof baubles. A small blob of white tack keeps the baubles in place, to save them becoming a trip hazard on the stairs.

This works well with a runner or wooden stairs but steer clear if your stairs are fully carpeted. No need for scented candles this year, the scent of the lilies will fill the air beautifully.

8. Hang mini winter bobble hats

Knitted Christmas hats hanging on green garland on wooden balustrade

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

These super easy to make bobble hats are a fun addition for a family Christmas. Cut a 5cm piece of tube from a toilet roll, take lengths of wool approx 25cm,  fold in half and place the folded end around the card tube threading the raw ends through it and pull tight. Repeat until the tube is fully covered.

To finish, take the loose end of wool and tie another length of wool tightly around them to create the bobble. Make a few extra and use as cute egg cosy for Christmas breakfast.

As an alternative to bobble hats, Hobbycraft's mini crochet stockings are a cute alternative to hang on your garland.

9. Deck the halls with paper balls

Baubles and green garland attached to balustrade next to wooden table with gifts on top

(Image credit: Ti-Media Content/Joanna Henderson)

Create a supersized bauble garland using honeycomb paper decorations. Match the colour to your decor for subtle style or choose bright clashing colours to add some serious 'wow' factor. Tie them directly to the banister or add a garland as their base, pushing in strands of eucalyptus to fill it out.

10. Turn your garland into an advent calendar

Small copper pails attached to faux green garland and candy sticks hanging on wooden balustrade

(Image credit: Ti-Media Content/Brent Darby)

String small copper pails to a length of ribbon and fill with a single candy cane. Tie the length of ribbon onto a faux garland and fix to the banister with a chunky ribbon bow. Add numbered wooden tags to turn it into an alternative advent calendar idea.

11.  Set a sparkling scene

White staircase next to white wall decorated with strings of fairy lights and surrounded by gifts and decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Continue your decorating scheme all the way up the stairs by getting creative a set of Christmas lights to make your home shine bright. Here hanging a curtain of fairy lights from ground floor to first floor wonderfully illuminates the space.

If you have picture rails to attach the lights onto you can use small pins to hold them tight, if not try clear plastic command hooks to secure the lights.

12. Decorate from top to toe

White staircase decorated with red and green garlands and fairy lights and wreath attached to staircase

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Scarboro)

Double up on garlands by threading a base garland around spindles and wrapping another around the handrail. Choose a thicker, denser garland for the base and a finer one for the top to create balance. Use faux berry picks on the base garland to match the berry garland above.

13. Make your own foam baubles

Black and white balustrade decorated with green garland and baubles hanging from it next to hallway table with gift and plant on top

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

As a modern take on a garland suspend baubles between spindles and over banisters. Make your own by painting florist foam balls in emulsion and then dipping the bottom half in gold paint. Attach using ribbon secured with a pin to the ball and tie tightly around the hand rail or into a faux garland.

14. Hang ribbon strings to display cards

Christmas cards pinned to thick maroon ribbons, hanging down wooden staircase with black balustrades decorated with greenery and fairy lights

(Image credit: Future PLC/Claudi Dulak)

For a clever hanging Christmas card idea pin or tape lengths of thick ribbon ono your stair treads, or tie around stair spindles, pinning Christmas cards down the length using small pegs or colourful paperclips.

What greenery should I use for a Christmas garland?

If you want your garland to last throughout the whole festive season use long-lasting and more resilient foliage: fir (offcuts from your tree) will add a Christmas scent, eucalyptus because it is pliable and smells gorgeous, ivy as it's inexpensive and trails beautifully and finally if you can forage a soft leafed holly then that can finish of the garland beautifully.

'For a stairway garland that is going to look fabulous throughout the festivities, you really need to think carefully about what foliage you use' advises Asta Foufas, head of product at Arena Flowers. 'As it will be the most substantial element of your masterpiece.'

'It needs to be pliable and easy to weave but it also needs to withstand the changing temperatures. From the breeze of the front door being opened, together with the dry heat from the central heating. So it can't be delicate. I always like to include Nobilis and Conifer as these will hold their own, look stunning and also provide a beautiful scent as you brush past them. If you're thinking of adding in some flowers or berries, think about those that look as beautiful dry as they do fresh, so Hydrangeas, Skimmia and Holly Berries would be my go-to choice together with Berried and Boule Eucalyptus.'

How do I secure my garland to my staircase?

Secure one end of the garland to the end of the banister, at the top of your staircase, using a cable tie or garland wire tie. Either twist the garland around the hand rail securing the garland at the base with another tie, or loop your garland using ties at the top or each loop.

Buy now: Garland wire ties, £3.99 for 10, Amazon

How do I keep my garland fresh over the Christmas season?

With a little TLC a foliage garland should stay fresh for two to three weeks. The key to keeping it looking its best is regularly misting it with water. A light spritz every other day should keep any cut flowers and garland foliage in tip top condition.

Nicky Phillips

Nicky Phillips was the Style Editor of Ideal Home from 2010-2022. Nicky is an interiors journalist and stylist who has worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines for over 25 years. A stint as Associate Editor on Ideal Home in 2000 led to her becoming Deputy Editor of Livingetc in 2002, eventually leaving to have her three children and to start her interior design business @Stylingatnumber42, before returning to Ideal Home as Style Editor in 2010. Nicky has styled and art directed over 300 shoots for Ideal Home magazine to date.