How To Decorate A Stairway Landing Wall

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This 5 to 6 hour project using only paint and moulding will completely transform your stairway landing wall or any transition wall in your home.

I love watching home decorating shows. I always stick around for the big reveal at the end with the dramatic before and after shots. The pros make it seem effortless to remodel an entire home in about an hour.

Back in my real world, I also love decorating our home. However, we can’t seem to get anything significant done in an hour.

We recently repainted the entire downstairs of our home. It took us about 4 weekends. After finishing we decided we didn’t want to rush into another painting project. The upstairs will have to wait. However, there was one small issue that really bothered me.

This was my view from downstairs.

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And here was my view from upstairs.

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I could not be happier with our new downstairs color (Sherwin Williams Perfect Greige), but when I gazed up or down the stairs I didn’t like how the new color looked next to the existing colors on the stairway. That top dark brown wall extends into our upstairs family room. The wall is huge. In order to paint that wall we would need to paint the entire upstairs room, which isn’t something we wanted to do right away. So, I focused my attention on the lower part of the landing wall and came up with an idea!

My plan was to make the background color on this small landing wall blend better with both the upstairs and downstairs colors and add accents from the new Perfect Greige color.

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Here’s a picture of the landing wall painted only with the new background color. I chose a color that almost looked white but blended well with the Perfect Greige (this Sherwin Williams color is available at Lowe’s). It was looking better already!

How To Decorate a Stairway Landing Wall with Paint and Moulding

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Start by measuring your wall and sketching out a design. I decided to go with a slightly larger center panel flanked by smaller side panels. Alternatively, you could make 3 panels the same size or even one large panel. After sketching out your design, use painter’s tape to mask off all the edges.

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Before you start painting, look at your taped-off design from different angles and make sure you are happy with it. You haven’t done anything permanent yet, so be sure to check that the lines are straight and the design is centered on your wall.

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Now you’re ready to paint. Use a small roller to cover the panels with your accent color. Allow the paint to dry 30-45 minutes in between coats. Our project took 3 coats of the Perfect Greige to cover well.

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When the paint is completely dry, remove the painter’s tape. If you really wanted to, you could stop here. Touch up any paint that bled through the tape, and you’re done. However, if you’re adding the moulding you don’t need to bother with any touch-ups. The moulding will cover that, and it makes a pretty finishing touch that is well worth the little extra work.

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There are many styles of moulding to choose from. For this project you’ll need to select one that is flat on the back to fit flush against the wall. We chose a wood moulding that was pre-primed, but there are several options to choose from. Apply 1-2 coats of paint to the moulding before cutting it. For our project we painted the moulding a bright white in a satin finish.

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Begin working on the smaller right panel. Start by using a miter saw to cut the end of your moulding piece at a 45 degree angle as shown. Place the inside (shorter side) of the moulding just below your paint line.
Ours is inset about 1/4 inch.
NOTE: You don’t need a powered miter saw for this small project. A miter box with saw will work just fine.

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Use a level to make sure your moulding piece is vertical. Then mark the lower edge to be cut about 1/4 inch inside the paint line. Use a miter saw to cut the lower edge.

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Attach the moulding to the wall using a brad gun or finishing nails. Your first piece is done!

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The second piece to attach is the top of the panel. Cut a 45 degree angle at one end of the moulding to match the piece already attached to the wall. Use a level to place the top piece of moulding. Mark 1/4 inch inside the paint line for your next cut.

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Don’t worry if your cuts aren’t perfect! We’ll be applying spackle over the cracks and over the nail heads at the end to finish it up nicely.

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Now that the second piece is in place, move on to the right vertical piece. Measure and cut the moulding as before by cutting a 45 degree angle to match the piece already attached to the wall. Use a level to make sure the piece is vertical, then measure 1/4 inch inside the paint line to mark the cut.

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Three pieces done, and it’s looking great!

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Measuring the last piece is a little tricky, but by this time you’ve got a few cuts under your belt and should be getting the hang of this.

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Repeat the same cutting, leveling, measuring and marking steps. Mark the cut where the moulding pieces line up. Cut and attach to the wall with a brad gun or finishing nails.

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One panel done!

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Move to your left and position the top piece of moulding using a level. Be sure it is exactly level with the first panel. Repeat the same procedure of cutting a 45 degree angle to place at the corner of your panel, level the piece of moulding, mark the cut, make the 45 degree cut on the other end, and secure to the wall with brads or finishing nails.

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Always check to make sure the moulding is level before attaching it to the wall.
Continue in this same manner until all your panels are complete.

Use spackle to cover nail heads and cover any corners that don’t match up perfectly.
When the spackle is completely dry, apply a top, finish coat of white paint to the moulding.

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Here is the finished wall! Doesn’t that look SO much better?

Let’s compare some before and after shots…
(my favorite part!)

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Here are our before and after views up the stairs.

This 5 to 6 hour project using only paint and moulding will completely transform your stairway landing wall or any transition wall in your home.

And here are our before and after views down the stairs.

The total project took us about 5-6 hours. Prep time for painting the base coats on the moulding took about an hour. Taping off and painting the accent color in the panels took about 2 hours. And it took us about 2 hours to cut and attach all the moulding. All-in-all it was a simple weekend project with dramatic results.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions about this project. It really is a doable home improvement you can tackle in a weekend!

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