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How to Wallpaper a Stairwell

For a long time I’ve been dreaming about adding a little personality to my stairwell. And last week, I got up the courage and this is how it all went down.

Stairs Before

I ordered wallpaper a few weeks before, and there was a lot of consideration and time that went into that decision.

My stairs are much wider than the wallpaper roll, and I didn’t want the hassle of matching up the pattern to cover the entire step. I knew it would also waste a lot of wallpaper. So first, I had to order a paper that didn’t have a true up and down pattern. I wanted to cut one long strip per step. Therefore, the pattern would need to go up the roll.

Cut Each Strip Up the Roll

Second, I thought I wanted a peel and stick temporary paper, but after careful thought I got pre-pasted wallpaper. Wallpaper is super easy to work with, and you can slide it around to get it in the right spot. You can also easily get the bubbles out as well as the creases. Peel and stick is harder to remove the bubbles, and if you stick it together, you will have a hard time getting it apart.


My tools included a pencil, straight edge, and an X-Acto knife. I measured the steps and then went up the roll marking with my pencil the length plus an inch as well as the width plus an inch. I wanted each strip bigger so that when it dried, I could trim it off to get a perfect cut.

My Straight Edge

Once a strip was cut, I ran it under water on the paper side and the glue side. I folded it over, took it to my stairwell, and then positioned the paper from left to right on the stair.

The left edge and the top edge of the strip lined up perfectly on my stair. I smoothed it with my hands first, moved it around as needed, and then took a rubber straight edge and gently got rid of the bubbles going from top to bottom, left to right, down the strip.

Just the Start!

I waited until the paper dried completely (the following morning), then I trimmed the excess paper and cleaned up any remaining glue with a warm, wet rag.

Stairs After

I finished it in 3 hours, and talked on the phone much of that time to my kids. It’s super easy if you measure correctly. And the results??? Let’s just say I’m so happy I took the 3 hours to do this. It gives my stairwell a big dose of personality.

Wendy Conklin

I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!


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