DIY Stair Runner & Gallery Wall


I am so excited to share our “DIY Stair Runner & Gallery Wall” with you today!  First, I need to give a little history, then I’ll share the two big reveals, a full DIY Stair Runner tutorial, and a mini section on how to create your own “Gallery Wall” easily.

Here we go…

A couple years ago I fell down our stairs and boy did that hurt.  Luckily, I caught myself by hanging on to one of the spindles, but pulled many muscles in my arm keeping myself up.  I knew then that it was time to install a runner on our very hard wood stairs.  These stairs are mainly used by our daughters and there was no way I was willing to risk them falling.  I also carry a ton of laundry up & down.  So, a few years ago I hired a rug company to come in and install a berber type rug runner on all 4 sections of our stairs.  You see, we have 2 sections that lead to the upstairs, and 2 sections that lead to the walk-out basement.  I made a few mistakes when choosing the runner and the biggest being the color.  What was I thinking with off white?  Someone must have drugged me.

Here’s what they looked like originally…

Here’s what they looked like after the old runner was installed, and we also painted them.  You can find all of that painting information here: Original Staircase Makeover.

They looked beautiful, and I was very happy for a couple years.

Then I got bored.  It didn’t help that the runner was getting dingy.  I have to admit though, it held up pretty well dirt wise, but it was still bringing me down.  Luckily, not down the stairs again.

So…I’m not sure if my style is changing, or what, but I had to try something different.

I needed a change, man.  Careful, this next image may put you to sleep.

Okay…so time to wake up.  I went bold, but not over the top.  Not only did we change our runner, I changed the walls.  Oh, yes I did.

How to install a DIY runner on your stairs easily!



Cool gallery wall ideas...

*** Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.  Read full disclosure policy here.

Ohhhh, I know.  You’re thinking, “But Julie…what if you get tired of the ‘pow’?”

My answer is…”I will change it again.”

Here’s our colorful new “trellis” runner up close…

DIY Stair Runner

And down hill…

I love the blues, and I also love the unique trellis design.  It looks super cool from a distance.  It’s definitely not dingy, and it really goes nice with the rest of our home.

Okay, now that you have gotten to know our new snazzy runner, what did you think of the gallery wall I designed?  Maybe the runner blinded you and you didn’t see it 😎 ?  Here it is before (notice that I left most of the old runner out of this old image because I knew it looked drab).

Here’s it is now 😆 …

Believe it or not, I put the “Golden Gallery Wall” together while my husband was working on the runner.  Most of it I had including the big sun, mirrors, stars, and angel.  The clock seemed to fit in because it’s white & gold.  The monogram F (for our last name) was actually wood toned, so I spray painted it gold with this gold spray paint.  In fact, I spray painted the arrow, the “DREAM BIG” frame, and the beaded plate all gold.  Apparently, I needed some gold in my life and I knew it would look pretty up against the navy blue runner.  In addition…the wall is fun.  My teens are fun, our house is fun, I want fun.

{After thoughts after reading comments left by my sweet followers…

I honestly didn’t plan on this coming together to form a “celestial” design…but the more people comment on this post, the more I realize the way this all fits in together even more than I had planned.  The sun, the stars, the angel, the word “dream”, the movement of the design in the runner going up to lead to the gallery wall…my goodness I’m better than I thought I was.  I honestly didn’t see this until my readers pointed it out to me.  The other thing is that these stairs lead to our daughter’s bedrooms.  Our girls are the lights in my life.  No wonder it worked.}

Stair Gallery Wall Makeover

If you want to make your own gallery wall, let me give you a few tips you may be surprised with.

  1. Remember you can hang pretty much anything.  Don’t be afraid to hang something weird.  Where there is a will, there is always a way.  I use Command Strips to hang weird stuff, and not weird stuff.  The large wood star is hung with command strips.  They are fantastic for heavy items, too.  You’ll find that they state how much weight they can handle on the package.  I also used them on this gallery wall.  Not once have they failed me.  The remaining items are hung with nails.  I used a molly with the clock.

2. You don’t have to measure for a gallery wall.  Start in the middle (I started with the big sunburst mirror) and work your way out spacing things evenly.  You also don’t have to start in the the middle of the wall.  This is proof that you can cover any portion of the wall you want.  I went rather diagonal since we were going up the stairs.  I could always add more to it later.

3. You don’t have to just use photo frames for a gallery wall.  Mix it up.  Put something up there that means something to you.  For me, it was the antique clock that my Mom found at a flea market with me in the 1970’s.

4.  Stick with one color OR don’t.  If you stick with one color use spray paint to accomplish it.

Oh, look…another gallery wall.  Sylvia seems happy.  And yes, I did buy a matching round rug for the foyer.

We haven’t finished the other sections of the stairs yet.  Getting there.  Here is the full “DIY Stair Runner” tutorial I promised:

Step By Step Instructions for DIY Stair Runner

  1. Measure your stairs 1 section at a time (we have 4 sections of 6 steps) and buy the runner(s) you wish to install.  When I measured I used a flimsy fabric measuring tape that could reach all of the angles.  Keep in mind, it is possible to use a runner that is longer or shorter than your stairs.  You can cut it to fit.  We were lucky and ours just had to be cut at the end.  If you use more than 1 runner on a section of stairs, you will have to match them up carefully. Here’s where we found our runners and there are many affordable options & designs to choose from: TRELLIS RUNNER.

2.  While you wait for your runners to arrive, prepare your stairs.  Ours were previously painted (see how we did that here).  If you have an old runner that you have to remove like we did, be very careful removing the staples.  They are extremely sharp.  Removing our old runner took some strength because the guy that installed it must have thought I might go on a magic carpet ride if he didn’t use 5000 staples on each step.  Luckily we couldn’t see any holes after we were finished.  If you can see your holes, use wood putty to fill them, and sand lightly.

3.  You will need 2 people to install your runner.  Install the rug by beginning under the “nosing”(the wood over hang part) on the “riser” (the white part).  The photo below shows it perfectly.  Be sure to measure so the runner is centered all the way down and mark it with a pencil all the way down to use as a guide or your runner will be crooked.  By the way, we did not install a carpet pad.  I thought it was unnecessary, and I was right.  I didn’t want a fluffy high runner.  I wanted it as flat as possible. I absolutely love it with out the pad.

We used this staple gun to attach the rug to the stairs securely.    We started at the top and worked our way across the top coming down slowly making sure it was straight and snug to the wood.  It was actually quite simple.

Use something flat that can help you guide the rug into the corners (see below).

Here’s the biggest tip of all…roll up your runner so it is resting on the step below where you are working.  Believe it or not, this took us a while to figure out.  It was so much easier once we did.

Also, don’t forget to pay attention to the pencil markings you made to keep the runner straight.

4.  We ended our runner (cut it with a very sharp blade) under the nosing because our cat thought it was her personal scratching post when we went down to the floor.  You can decide which way you want it.  Now that I’ve done both, I prefer that last riser to be bare white.  I have also seen where some folks like to keep going with the runner onto their floor and out a few feet.  That would work great on a landing.  We used sharp scissors at the end to shave off any extra threads.

Boom.  You’re finish.

I absolutely LOVE IT, and no one else has it.  I don’t think?


Did you know that you can order a runner on line and install it on your wood stairs in minutes? That's what this blogger did and the sky is the limit with what runner you choose. She gives a full tutorial on her blog.


Facebooktwitterpinterestmail Tags: , , , Posted by Signature for Julie at

58 Responses

  1. Fab, fab, fab! Can’t say how much I love this!!!! Your wall is so fun and exciting. Lynne

  2. penny grieco says:

    hi julie…i love, love, love your new runner…now i know why you bought the beautiful blue couch! can i give you some advice from a professional at falling down stairs? i would also extend the runner to cover each landing…because, it would make the fall softer…:)))

    • Julie says:

      That is great advice, Penny. I might do that with the landing at the gallery wall. I think it would look great, too. Very cozy. Thank you for your kind words! ~ Julie

      • penny grieco says:

        you are very welcome….i have to tell you that your home is one of my favorites even though there are so many out there in blog land…your taste is so much like mine..i just love getting your newsletter ….

  3. dad says:

    Wow, you have been busy, very nice job, we love it, love, Mom and Dad

  4. Barbara Borowy says:

    I really like the placement of the clock, so unusual – maybe that’s why I like it! Love the carpet, especially when you stand back to see the pattern. I all looks really great!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Barbara! When I look up to the clock, it seems as though it’s actually high up because I’m on the ground below. Really cool 😉 I agree with viewing the runner far away. That is my favorite, too. Have a great weekend and thank you so much for stopping in. ~ Julie

  5. becky says:

    Hey Julie ~ Great new inspiration for the New Year! I love your new carpet runner choice, & the very eclectic gallery wall! The stairs totally livens up both areas! ( I too slipped on my stairs, & grabbed the metal spindles, tried to stop my sliding & ended up at the bottom, I had a sore tailbone for weeks, so no fun) ….. your gallery wall has now inspired me to liven mine up! I have a very large wall up my stairs & becuz I like tropical (all year long), I have 6 framed vintage island travel posters & a shabby shell wreath on it…. I now want to jazz up the wall with fun klitzy eye grabbing ‘stuff ‘ ~ something to do, to pull me out of this winter’s blues!

    • Julie says:


      Oh, man! Isn’t that the worst? Thank goodness neither one of us ended up breaking something. I agree…decorating is a great way to stay happy & creative. I would love to see photos of your decor! ~ Julie

  6. ColleenB.~Texas says:

    Absolutely Fabulous. Love that blue runner and matching entry rug.
    Great job on your gallery walls as well

  7. Shirley says:

    Julie love your bold choice of runner & rug. Your eyes go straight to the gallery wall & the up date is great. Ifs certainly got the “wow” factor!
    I also love that your cat is called Sylvia. I have a lovely Aunt with same name. Thank you for making me smile on a cold January morning.

    • Julie says:

      Hi Shirley, Sylvia is such a beautiful name, I agree. She is such a great cat. We spoil her rotten. Thank you for stopping by! I love what you said about it leading up to the gallery wall. That is very true! ~ Julie

  8. Sue says:

    Hi Julie
    That looks a great job. I am really impressed how clean your floors and skirting boards are – they really reflect the light – is there any cleaning product that you like to use??
    Sue (Derbyshire UK)

    • Julie says:

      Hi Sue, This is so funny that you say this. I had to dust the stairs for the photos. I don’t do a thing for cleaning them. It’s probably just the paint that has lasted. I did brighten up the photo a bit, too. My stairs really aren’t cleaned that often 😉

  9. Gayle says:

    Wow!!! I love it. Gorgeous, Awesome.,

  10. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life says:

    I love it, what a fun runner and great tutorial too.

  11. Jan says:

    Wow! I hear Andy Williams or Dean Martin singing “Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes.” The stair runner is gorgeous!

    • Julie says:

      I have to look up that song, now Jan. You know…the entire thing is rather “celestial”. Maybe I’m originally from Mars I don’t know! 😉 Thank you for your kind words, Jan! ~ Julie

  12. Windy te Velde says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE everything about this, including your willingness to go bold! That’s the hardest thing for me to do in my own home when making decor decisions. Absolutely fabulous! I’d be begging the kids and hubby for more laundry just so I could keep going up and down those stairs to see my creation! HA!

  13. Teri says:

    Julie, I would not have picked the blue over the previous white runner myself….but you are inspiring me and I love it! Then, with the gold on the wall as you go up (and I’m not a gold person) paired with the blue is beautiful!!!! I showed it to my husband and he said he like it (a complement for sure). Keep up the inspiration to show us gals to step out of our comfort zone! You rock!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Teri & hubby! I know it was a huge risk…I’m just so board with seeing the same thing out there. Not sure how long I will like it,lol. For now I can’t get enough. Have a great weekend!

  14. Kyle says:

    This was awesome! Thanks for showing how to do it. Wish I didn’t have to deal with Squirrels breaking in at the moment.

  15. Lorri Rauscher says:

    BAM BAM!!!…You really gave your stairs a kick ass look!!!! Love the carpet it is actually a soothing look.. Love it!! Also yr signature wall looks grrat and has treasures that you love.

  16. Nancy says:

    We, too, had to do a runner. We moved into a brand new house with beautiful wood stairs. My nutty chocolate lab ruined them the first week(New Year’s). Firecrackers set him off and down the stairs he went Scooby Doo style. Tons of scratches and gouges in the wood. Searched and searched for a runner. Mine is similar to yours but in black and gray trellis with distressed areas. Had to buy and have professionally installed. I was too scared I would mess up the new house.
    I will save your post for future reference for sure. My husband is so not handy and it’d be me and a girlfriend trying this. You continue to inspire me. Saving the gallery wall detail as well. I have some blank walls I need to fill in this new house that I’ve been afraid to start…
    Thank you for sharing!!

    • Julie says:

      Nancy, your runner sounds gorgeous. We had a yellow lab named Dude, so I know what you mean about Scooby, lol. The hardest part of this I think for me would be holding the heavy staple gun. My arms are pretty weak. I think you could totally do it with a friend!!

  17. Julie,

    I love your style! We are thinking of updating our staircase as well. Did you stain or paint the wood? Ours is VERY similar to your “before” picture and I am dying for a change. Thank you!

  18. Carol says:

    Julie, This staircase is beautiful, the navy & gold are a fantastic combo!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, Carol! I agree, I just love that combo, too. Something very classic about it, almost nautical, but snazzier. Thanks for stopping by today 🙂 I needed it!!

  19. Laura says:

    I was really hoping you were going to say that you painted the old carpet, ’cause it’s absolutely beautiful, and I know you’re talented enough to do so, but also ’cause I want to do the same thing on our basement stairs. I’m by no means crafty good, most of what I create looks like yard sale rejects. Your blog is where I get some of my ideas and a lot of that ol’ “you can do it!” attitude! Plus, I’m a redhead too, so I can relate!! My grandfather gave me a clock very much like the one you have; I had to take it to a local clocksmith and he said that it was made in the late 1800’s. There’s very little value since they were actually made in a cookie-cutter fashion and so many were made. I actually spent more to get it running than it would be worth as an antique!! But you know how it is when a family member gives you something that takes you back in time, and gives you so much pleasure in your memories. I love to hear it ticking and chiming on the hour and the half-hour, even during the night. It’s somehow soothing. Anyway, thanks for another awesome idea and keep ’em coming!!

    • Julie says:

      Hi Laura! I’ve had ours fixed several times, but it always gets lazy even after I wind it. I remember it ticking as a kid and still remember the gong. Thank you for your kind words! They inspire me.

  20. DONNA says:

    From one redhead to another Thank you, thank you thank you! We are just buying paint to redo the foyer and you have given me such good ideas! From your little barn doors over your front door sidelights to painting my stair railings! Love your gallery wall too! Delightful!

  21. jean says:

    Love it, looks great!! I so want to move that little gold star leaning against baseboard to visually line up with the end of the white area at top of stairs………..quirky, I know!!!

  22. What an amazing transformation. I love the deep blue runner with the white trellis design and love that the design is asymmetrically offset. Also, painting the wall white opened up the space so much! Love the interesting objects and the gold color of the gallery wall. It all looks super!

  23. Linda from Charlotte, NC says:

    I love the pattern. It looks like the galaxy and the stars and sun burst are perfect to top it off. BEAUTIFUL!

  24. Ivory says:

    That runner, wow, I love it! Soooooooooooooooo beautiful.

  25. Laurel from PA says:

    Wow, Julie! You sure know how to beat the winter doldrums. Has anyone commented that there is almost a curved path in the runner design that leads you up the stairs? It has to be a hit with your daughters.

  26. Mli says:

    Love the F since its my surnames letter too. Where did you get that?

  27. carol says:

    Nothing short of FABULOUS!!! Love your coffee nook!! The sofa is a perfect fit; that’s where I’d spend my day; snuggled on the sofa with a good book and a cup of coffee, while the fireplace warms my bones.
    Then…… the new runner and gallery wall is just the right amount of POW; not too much….just right!

  28. Rachael Nash says:

    Hey! Your DIY is amazing! I love how detailed and filled with tips the post is. I will definitely do it here in my house. Thank you so much!

  29. Darren says:

    Hi, that runner looks amazing! Any chance you can link directly to it? I know it may not be available anymore, but if it is, I’d love to know. Thanks!

  30. […] DIY Wood Sidelight Shutters & DIY Stair Runner/Gallery Wall […]

  31. […] DIY Stair Runner & Gallery Wall from […]

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The following GDPR rules must be read and accepted:
This form collects your name, email and content so that we can keep track of the comments placed on the website. For more info check our privacy policy where you will get more info on where, how and why we store your data.