How to wallpaper your stairs – to add colour to your hallway

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  • With a little cleaning up, your stairs may be the perfect platform for a makeover

    Want to know how to wallpaper your stairs? A staircase is often overlooked as a vehicle for adding texture and colour, particularly in a hallway, and is often just thought of as a means of getting from one floor to another, but it can become a welcoming focal point and add amazing interest to your home.

    Staircases are not the easiest of spaces to work with and the solution can be to leave them painted or carpeted, but with the right preparation and a little vision they can easily be transformed.

    The risers (the vertical area under the step or tread) lend themselves to all kinds of wallpapers with patterns and strong colours, especially when matched with natural wood or bright painted treads. It tends to be easier undertaking the project on stairs that are already stripped or painted, but preparation is always key, so if you fancy a change from carpet, take a peek to see what is underneath.

    Want more DIY advice? Check out our dedicated DIY and decorating channel for more inspiration

    How to wallpaper stairs

    Image credit: Jake Curtis

    ‘Wallpaper doesn’t have to be just for the four walls – the staircase can also be a great space to express our creative side. Those in-between places within the home, like corridors and the stairs, can often be neglected but when you make the most of them with trendy patterns and prints, they can transform the home in very positive ways. Pops of bold colour can draw attention and unusual designs can also help bring a flair into your home,’ explains Paula Taylor, Colour & Trends Specialist for Graham & Brown.

    How to wallpaper your stairs

    1. Measure the front face of the stair vertically and horizontally, and use these dimensions to cut a piece of wallpaper to fit.

    2. Go over the front face of the stair with a fine sandpaper, to make it easier for the paper to adhere to the wooden surface.

    3. Apply wallpaper paste to the face, then press your paper into position, using a spatula to smooth out air bubbles, working from the centre outwards.

    4. Once dry, protect the wallpaper with a coat of varnish to help avoid scuff marks and make the wallpaper look good for longer.

    how to wallpaper your stairs

    Image credit: David Giles

    Think about colour

    Bear in mind the general colour scheme around the stairs. For maximum impact, decorate the hall or stairwells in a uniform colour, preferably neutral paler shades, as this helps to emphasise the drama of the wallpaper details. Try geometric or abstract patterns for an eye-catching entrance or alternate with a painted step and a wallpapered one.

    Use this opportunity to be playful with your decoration: take advantage of the natural rising of the steps by grading strong colour from dark at the base to light at the top – very effective set within a white hallway – or perhaps mix up vintage linear papers for a visual feast.

    how to wallpaper your stairs

    Image credit: Katie Lee

    Choose the right paper

    If possible, choose prints that can be used sideways, as the width of wallpaper will not be wide enough to cover the average stair and trying to match a pattern or join two pieces together can become a bit of a headache. Most abstract paper won’t look out of place, especially if used with a heady collection of other designs. As each riser is quite a modest space to cover, using a wider range of papers can be more interesting, so ask friends and family for off-cuts or finish up old rolls. Time to update your humble stairs and indulge them in one of the most strikingly simple decorative projects, it’s just a few easy steps away!

    Related: How to choose and buy a staircase

    We hope this ‘how to wallpaper your stairs’ guide will help you to achieve the stairs of your dreams!

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