Yesterday, I received this e-mail from my mom:
Dear Ms Decorator,
I have a stair well that looks like a tunnel. Yesterday I bought 8-8×10 black frames with 5×7 matts in them. That won’t be nearly enough, but I wondered if I should mix other sizes with them. Or should I mix something else with the framed pics? What should I put in the frames–black & white or color? Family pics? Scenes? Still life? Flowers?
Thank you for any ideas you may provide.
Your most loyal and devoted fan,
The stairway in my mom’s house is definitely a “problem area”. Instead of being open and airy, it’s dark and tunnel-like. (There’s a reason why it’s like this, and it’s a pretty funny story. I’ll definitely have to share it with you sometime.) And it’s one of the first things a visitor sees when he or she walks in the front door.
My mom’s house is very traditional in style. Just recently, I’ve shown you her family room…
And I’ve shown you her bathroom…
So as I was looking at pictures of stairways yesterday, trying to get an idea for her, none of them were really inspiring me. First, they all seem so busy. Second, I’m starting to feel like the family photo gallery wall up the stairs, like this one from Apartment Therapy, has become a “go to” decorating decision for decorating walls going up stairways.
I’m not saying it’s terrible, or outdated, but isn’t there anything else that can be done? Besides that, my mom has a family photo wall in her family room, so putting more up the stairs would be too much, in my opinion.
One comment I read yesterday about the ubiquitous “family photo gallery up the stairway” made a good point. The commenter said that stairways are utilitarian. Not that they should look utilitarian, or that they shouldn’t be decorated, but people generally aren’t going to stop on a stairway and look at lots of pictures.
I agree with that. So I started thinking…my mom needs an arrangement that will be simple and not busy. It needs to be pretty without being too detailed. It needs to be something other than family photos. And it needs to be traditional in style.
So as far as arrangement, this is what I suggested for her (the line represents the hand rail)…
Precise, organized and uncluttered. But I’m stuck on what to actually put in the frames. I would love to do something similar to what I did in John & Alice’s family room…
I think something like this would be perfect. Because it’s more graphic in nature, it doesn’t require a person to stop and study any detail in order to appreciate it. That’s the perfect concept for stairway wall decor. But shells are all wrong for my mom’s house. Plus, I’ve already done that, and I don’t want to recycle design ideas.
So this is where I’m stumped. I’ve been trying to come up with a solution since yesterday morning, and so far, I got nothin’! Nada. Zilch.
If you have a brilliant idea, please share it! Just remember…simple, traditional, no family photos, nothing with great detail, and it’s visible from the front door. Perhaps I should consult with Pinterest. If the answer lies anywhere, it would most likely be there