Christmas stair decor ideas – 18 festive looks for stylish staircases

Take your Christmas stair decor ideas to the next level with shimmering garlands and fragrant wreaths

A composite of Christmas stair decor ideas
(Image credit: Adrian Briscoe/Joanna Henderson/Simon Bevan)

Christmas stair decor ideas are what you need to take your hall-decking to – quite literally – the next level. 

To create a truly magical Christmas decor ideas scheme, ensuring festive decorations are festooned in empty spaces all around the home is crucial. 

Often located in the entrance hall and therefore a dazzling way to welcome guests, decorated staircases allow the Christmas hallway decor ideas and festive charm to travel from one part of the home to another. 

Christmas stair decor ideas

From shimmering garlands to fragrant wreaths, we found some stunning Christmas stair decor ideas asked the experts to share their favorite festive decorating tips. 

1. Dress a handrail 

Cream banister, wreath wrapped banister

(Image credit: Cox & Cox )

Often the first thing guests see when they step in through the front door, the stairs offer up an opportunity to set the tone for your decorating scheme and introduce a little personality, too. 

While a garland may seem standard for stairs, opting for a plain design will give you the freedom to decorate them in line with your individual ideas and themes. You could choose to go all out with sparkles and adornments such as frosted pine cones and faux berries, or simply decorate with battery-powered LED micro fairy lights to add a subtle glow’, says Connor Prestwood, interior designer at Dowsing & Reynolds (opens in new tab)

When it comes to choosing a base garland, Dani Taylor, creative director at Cox & Cox (opens in new tab), says ‘pre-lit garlands are the best investment because they’re battery-powered; sockets can be a real challenge when trying to meet the top or bottom of the stairs. Avoid an expensive overhaul of decorations every year by using affordable space fillers such as bows, ribbons and flowers alongside your favorite Christmas ornaments. They’re not fragile either, making them a good choice for high-traffic areas such as hallways’. 

2. Hang paper decorations

Wreaths, hanging paper decorations

(Image credit: Layered Lounge )

Stylish and sustainable, paper decorations are big news this season, and while we love traditional chains, reworked honeycombs, balls and pendants hanging from your staircase will add a contemporary twist to any Christmas hallway decor idea. 

When it comes to styling them, Lucy St George, co-founder of Rockett St George (opens in new tab) says: 'try pairing fairy lights or foliage with beautiful decorations including paper honeycombs and glam glitter stars. As with any style spot in your home, play around with different heights and either focus on creating a cluster at the bottom of the stairs or scatter along the entirety of your staircase for the ultimate feature.'

As well as being a sustainable choice, they’re affordable to replace, so it’s not the end of the world if one or two get damaged, plus you can go all out on shapes, sizes and color choices, safe in the knowledge you can change it up next year easily enough. 

Incorporate them into your Christmas window decor ideas, and even your Christmas wall decor ideas, too, to continue the sustainable decorating theme around your home. 

3. Channel a Nordic Christmas with traditional red and white

Christmas stair decor ideas with white banister, white paper snowflakes, ivy and red baubles

(Image credit: Brent Darby)

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Make it a partial reality by crafting a Scandinavian scheme for your staircase ideas – and embracing an enduring combination of crisp whites and ruby reds. 

‘Sleigh bells, wood, felt and traditional red and white Nordic designs can be effectively themed alongside metallics – silver and gold – in garlands, baubles and Christmas wreaths,’ says Daisy Coombes, Marketing Manager at Sass & Belle (opens in new tab). This slightly rustic approach works particularly well among farmhouse Christmas decor ideas, surrounded by exposed beams, log piles and antique furniture. 

4. Get ready for Santa with stockings

Christmas stair decor ideas with rustic cotton branches and cream wool stockings

(Image credit: David Brittain)

Stockings may be a staple of Christmas fireplace ideas, but the mantel isn’t the only part of the home where Santa can drop off presents. Create a wholesome family feeling by lining up a stocking for each member of the household, and hanging them along the staircase balustrade. Pair them with a garland wrapped around the handrail, and choose stockings that fit in with color scheme of your other decor details. In this example, rustic wool stockings are paired with spindly twigs and dried cotton stems for wintry look with soft interludes. 

5. Fill your stairway with wintry scents

Christmas stair decor ideas with a pine garland with cinnamon sticks and white painted apples and pine cones, with matching wreath

(Image credit: Debi Treloar)

If you’re wondering how to make a Christmas garland for a staircase, remember to appeal to as many senses as you can. Consider using organic scented elements – and Christmas foliage ideas – in your decorative designs, building on fresh pine branches with a wider array of festive aromas. 

‘Fragrant homemade dried oranges and limes will scent your home beautifully and they can be tied onto your wreathes, used to decorate the table or hung amongst your foliage arrangements,’ says Wild at Heart (opens in new tab) florist Nikki Tibbles. On this staircase, both the garland and the matching wreath are interspersed with bundles of cinnamon to add a spicy waft to this corner of the house. 

6. Make florals festive

Christmas stair decor ideas with a floral arrangement at the base of the bannisters with winter flowers in pinks, reds and oranges

(Image credit: Adrian Briscoe)

Fresh flowers may not be the first things you think about when it comes to Christmas garland ideas, but bountiful blooms can still have their place among the pine cones and holly. The contemporary Christmas staircase decor in this home features a fabulous floral arrangement at the foot of the banister, which is festooned with winter blooms including chrysanthemums, roses and dahlias in warming shades of pink and orange, as well as foliage including growing festive favorite eucalyptus. 

7. Add a twinkle or two with fairy lights 

Christmas stair decor ideas with a pine garland looping along the banister, decorated with fairy lights and silver ribbons

(Image credit: Joanna Henderson)

‘One of the most dramatic places to warm your home for the holidays is your staircase,’ says  Samantha Candela, Christmas merchant at Grandin Road (opens in new tab). ‘Light the way to visions of sugarplums by draping the banister with a realistic, pre-lit faux garland.’ 

Fairy lights aren’t just for your Christmas tree ideas – light the path up to the remaining ‘sleeps’ before the big day with twinkling lights incorporated into your staircase design. Either wrap separate strings of lights around your handrail, intertwined with a garland or choose a ready-to-go garland with built-in electrical sparkle. 

8. Go big 

Christmas stair decor ideas with a large gold leaf garland on banister

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

Christmas is not the time to be shy and retiring. For a decor scheme filled with full-on glamor, choose larger than life staircase decor that makes a real statement as soon as guests enter your home. In this narrow hallway, the party gets off to a shimmering start with oversized helium balloons in metallic shades and glittering textures, while the staircase itself sports a substantial garland made from gold painted leaves, trailed by high-shine silver paper chains. 

9. Lead the way with wreaths

Christmas stair decor ideas with four green wreaths hung on a cream staircase wall

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

‘Traditionally, we think of wreaths for front doors but this year you could use it on the Christmas dining room table as a centerpiece or on the wall as a festive focal point,’ says Meaghan Hunter, senior stylist and art director at Neptune (opens in new tab)

Wreaths are a fabulous addition to festive wall decor, especially when incorporated into a staircase. Choose either a large, highly decorative wreath to bring focus to a landing, or line up multiple, simpler wreaths to mark climbing intervals, like in this simple but effective example. They also need not stay on the wall – consider hanging wreaths from the handrail and have them climb the balustrade. 

10. Create a scheme that embraces the whole hallway

Christmas stair decor ideas with a foliage and dark gold garland, wreath and gold presents

(Image credit: Jan Baldwin)

Ensuring your staircase looks tip-top may be a big part of your festive hall or entrance but it isn’t the only aspect of the space you can decorate. If your staircase is part of an entrance hall, it’s especially important to create an immersive and warm welcome for your guests by tying in your staircase garland with the likes of your door, walls and any seating areas. 

In this grey hallway, the amber gold of the chandelier is picked up in the painted copper leaves on the staircase and in the yellow ochres of the wreath, tied with a gold bow. 

11. Get crafty with style-forward paper chains

Christmas stair decor ideas with multiple blue and red paper chains along the banister

(Image credit: Simon Bevan)

Setting aside time to make your own Christmas decorations can become a holiday event that is just as fun and memorable as the festivities themselves. Paper chains are perhaps the easiest festive decorations to make, meaning they are great for getting crafting with the kids. They can also provide a real punch of pattern when used as a staircase garland, as showcased in this example where layers of paper chains made from patterns strips of paper in different colors create a standout look. 

12. Delight on Christmas morning with a present pile 

Christmas stair decor ideas with green wallpaper, green and silver presents at the foot of the stairs, and pine branches in a vase on the table

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

There are few greater joys than coming down the stairs on Christmas morning to find that Santa has paid you a visit. A delight for kids both big and small, start the sense of wonder early by placing a pile of presents at the bottom of the staircase. Split the gift haul between the stairs and the tree to create an unexpected surprise – it’ll make for a delightful start to the day, and will last as a decorative addition until present-opening-time. 

13. Keep it contemporary  

Young Pine PreLit Garland Golden Grandeur Christmas

(Image credit: Garden Trading )

It’s important to choose a palette that compliments your existing decor when decorating stairs for any holiday, but particularly at Christmas where bright and bold is the expectation. In this minimalist hallway, the owners have skipped traditional red, green and gold in favor of a monochrome color scheme more in keeping with their contemporary style.

‘Contemporary homes demand a fresh take on holiday decor. Pairing black and white decorations in a range of different styles, sizes and finishes alongside oversized metallic stars makes for a bold contrast that’s anything but traditional, but equally as festive’, says professional holiday designer Jeanna Crawford.

14. Make a statement with jewel tones 

Black staircase and front door, tiled floor

(Image credit: Dunelm)

If you’ve no room for a tree, or just fancy displaying your favorite ornaments in a different way this year, string them onto the colorful ribbon and hang them from stair spindles, or incorporate them into a greenery-filled garland. In the same way, you would when planning your Christmas tree ideas, mix and match baubles shapes and sizes, but stick to a coordinated color scheme. 

Jewel tones are huge this year and glow deeply when paired with twinkling fairy lights, particularly against dark paint’,  says Lucy Searle, Global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens. ‘Opt for warming shades of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg, with hints of gold, to bring a rich yet cozy feel to your hallway'. 

15. Step it up with faux candles 

Candles, star lights, wreath

(Image credit: h)

Part of the staircase that’s often ignored is the steps themselves, however, integrating them into your decorating will add dimension; positioning curated displays on steps from eye level will draw the eye upwards, giving the appearance of a complete Christmas scheme… even if upstairs is lacking a little on the decoration front! 

‘Faux LED candles are a practical choice when it comes to styling your stairs. While you may not leave them there over the entire festive period, their warming glow is ideal for welcoming guests into your home, not to mention safe for both children and pets. Place at varying heights and style alongside garlands and sparkling stars to tie your Christmas look together', says Emily Kelsey of Lights4Fun (opens in new tab)

16. Try something different 

Red carpet, red berries and green plants

(Image credit: Annie Sloan )

 There’s nothing like seasonal greenery in abundance to make a spectacle of a stairway at Christmas and, while it may be the most popular, a stair garland isn’t the only way to display it; hanging hand-tied bouquets along the wall makes for a stylish alternative to your standard Christmas foliage ideas. 

‘I love making Christmas decorations from organic materials, such as things I’ve foraged for – you can use whatever evergreens you have in your garden. It’s traditional and so much better for the planet than purchasing brand new plastic decorations’, says color and paint expert Annie Sloan (opens in new tab).

Nothing beats the real deal when it comes to foliage, and going oversized is a great (and affordable) option if you’ve got a lot of wall space to cover. Alternatively, you could start with good-quality fake foliage to give some structure, then add in plenty of real greenery. Coordinate your trimmings with your existing decor to ensure a beautiful and considered look overall. 

17. Keep it simple 

Christmas stair decor ideas with garland hung on bannister

(Image credit: Future)

While a full garland strung along a banister looks beautiful, it’s not necessarily the most practical. You could move the whole thing down to the base of the stairs, leaving the banister clear, or alternatively, group little pockets of greenery to leave gaps for hands as people go up and down. It may not be as ornate, but it’s just as beautiful. 

Tie several hero baubles together with rustic ribbon to dress up each swag; choose the same designs throughout, or vary them up for a fun, eclectic look. Consider adding battery-powered lights for extra sparkle.  

18. Create a light show

Christmas stair decor ideas with snow dusted garland and chandelier

(Image credit: Future)

If you’ve got a large pendant or statement chandelier hanging in your stairwell, it’s a good idea to incorporate it into your Christmas decor – you don’t want it competing it for the decorative limelight, if it’s as beautiful as this chandelier, chances are it’ll win! 

As well as considering your Christmas scheme, be sure to factor in the style of your pendant when deciding how to decorate it. Here, Here, glitzy baubles have been (safely) secured for a touch of festive glamor, but a more pared-back approach would suit sleeker, more modern fittings – think Scandi-style stars or hanging paper honeycombs. If you’d rather not attach them directly to the fitting itself or you don’t have one at all, consider suspending them from the ceiling using clear command hooks to create a similar dynamic focal point. 

When you’re making a statement like this, it’s a good idea to keep the rest of your Christmas stair decor fairly neutral. Here, an understated snow-dusted garland has us dreaming of a white Christmas. 

How do I decorate my stairs with Christmas decorations?

When decorating stairs with Christmas decorations, you naturally have height covered – what you really need to think about is choosing decor that can give you impact for the whole of the staircase’s length. You’ll want to avoid putting anything directly on the steps as this can be a trip hazard, so focus on your balustrade, handrail and walls, if you have them.

Garlands are an adaptable Christmas decoration that can be used all over the home, and work especially well when wrapped around the handrail of a staircase – intertwine this with fairy lights for a twinkling effect. Wreaths and other large hanging decorations like pop-up paper snowflakes are great for covering ground in an impactful way. To create pockets of detail, draft in Christmas tree decorations like baubles or organic items like pine cones and dried oranges, and include them among your wreaths and garlands. 

 

There’s nothing like seasonal greenery in abundance to make a spectacle of a stairway at Christmas and, while it may be the most popular, a stair garland isn’t the only way to display it; hanging hand-tied bouquets along the wall makes for a stylish alternative to your standard Christmas foliage ideas. 

‘I love making Christmas decorations from organic materials, such as things I’ve foraged for – you can use whatever evergreens you have in your garden. It’s traditional and so much better for the planet than purchasing brand new plastic decorations’, says color and paint expert Annie Sloan (opens in new tab).

Nothing beats the real deal when it comes to foliage, and going oversized is a great (and affordable) option if you’ve got a lot of wall space to cover. Alternatively, you could start with good-quality fake foliage to give some structure, then add in plenty of real greenery.. Coordinate your trimmings with your existing decor to ensure a beautiful and considered look overall. 

/Image credit/ Annie Sloan 

Ailis Brennan
Contributing Editor

Ailis started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. She then spent three years at the London Evening Standard, covering restaurants and bars. After a period of freelancing, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures, she started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing her to fully indulge her love of good interior design. She is now a fully fledged food PR but still writes for Homes & Gardens as a contributing editor.