a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Nov, 2014

Decorating help needed!

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything about our home or reno. The quick and dirty update is this: (1) our basement still looks awful (2) the flagstone patio first mentioned here is done (3) we are still looking for a new couch and I think Mark’s patience is starting to wear thin because I’m very choosy (4) there are still certain areas of the house that need a bit of help.

This is one of them:

Looking up stairs

This is the view up the stairs to the bedrooms if you happen to be standing just inside the front door. The painting at the top of the stairs is a lovely piece by Alison Fowler. (That’s actually not the part that needs help, that’s one of the few redeeming things about the upstairs landing.)

The problem, is the view looking down the stairs:

The view looking down the stairs

Yes, that’s the bannister I mentioned in this recent post about the history of our house!

The view is BO-RING. And there’s definitely something missing.

In hindsight, I wish we’d given this area a bit of thought before the workers left and everything got a coat of paint. There could have been a really cool light fixture installed in there or something, and now it’s too late. So here’s my question Fishies, what could I put there to spiff up the space? I’d like it to be something interesting that really fills it up. It’s a bit dim in there, especially on a grey day, but I know if we put our heads together we could come up with something.

A mobile? A web of crystals? A wall hanging? WHAT? It just can’t require an electrical outlet. Help!

14 Responses to "Decorating help needed!"

1 | Judy

November 4th, 2014 at 5:14 pm


paint it a feature wall?
If you are coming this week I can show different ways to hang a collection of wall hangings or one feature one.

You could even print a banner with a quote or saying you like on canvas or paint one.

2 | kjt

November 4th, 2014 at 8:45 pm


This area could take something really dramatic. How about a mobile or wall hanging inspired by the work of Tord Boontje? He became famous with fabulous lighting but I’m guessing other people must have followed his lead in designing art.


Admittedly, I have no idea where you’d find such a thing. NB it wouldn’t be white like most of his objects because of your pale background. The bigger it is, the greater the impact.

Are you thinking of replacing the banister? No need to, of course, but I’ve always fancied using copper piping to create a handrail. If you did that, you could look for something dramatic in a metal as your wall piece.

That’s all. (KT – frustrated decorator)

3 | andrea tomkins

November 5th, 2014 at 8:11 am


That’s getting close kjt! And I love his stuff.

How about a giant hanging jellyfish with phosphorescent tentacles? Question is will Mark agreed to this type of decor? Hmm.

4 | Molly

November 4th, 2014 at 9:15 pm


I am sure you already googled for help…but.I found this small bit of advice – http://homeguides.sfgate.com/decorate-enclosed-staircase-55496.html

Also, maybe make a huge pattern from something like this

5 | Ashley

November 4th, 2014 at 10:37 pm


Have you considered painting the inside of your front door? No electrical is a tough one. Could you hide a cord somewhere, install a very narrow shelf and put a wall lamp above that isn’t hard wired? Or put in a shelf and a narrow plant? Ideas latest collection has a wall mount that actually accommodates a small potted plant.

6 | Ashley

November 4th, 2014 at 10:39 pm


Sorry that should have said ikea not idea

7 | Rebecca

November 5th, 2014 at 8:33 am


That bannister is giving me feelings

My recommendation is not to do a hanging but to focus on the walls. Either the small space right in the middle – 3 canvases stacked or something:



or do a gallery wall going up the stairs on that right side (if standing at the bottom)

like this


I think that would be fun, stunning and really fill the space

the wall colour is gorgeous by the way!

8 | Sarah McCormack

November 5th, 2014 at 8:47 am


love the idea of a large mobile…. some 3D art of some kind. but I also love Becky’s 2nd choice.. awesome photo fits perfectly in space

I am imagining something like this (second photo)- colourful mobile…… perhaps hard to find and perhaps needing that light source in photo, but maybe an inspiration?


9 | Javamom

November 5th, 2014 at 9:37 am


I have a friend with a wall on a staircase like that. Like you she is a great photographer. What she did and what I think would be awesome in a dark-ish spot like that is a huge black and white photo of the family or of the kids when they were young…a reminder of years gone by. You must have some favorite photo of the girls when they were toddlers or preschoolers that you would just love to look at regularly as you descend/ascend the stairs? Enlarge it, make it black and white (or leave it in colour if you wish) put it in a simple but understated frame and hang it there. And then photograph THAT and post it. :)

10 | Safe and Sound

November 5th, 2014 at 12:19 pm


Definitely a big photo on that big long wall. You are a great photographer. Show your stuff.
Like the long family photo Rebecca provided. Or a set of 6. Costco does a set of 6 small photos on canvas for $120. That would look fantastic. Either hung in a vertical line or 2×3 combo.
Keep in mind that any hanging thing (mobile) will be a dust surface that will quickly go from wow to eww. Not a problem if you have an easy way to take it down and dust it.

12 | Safe and Sound

November 5th, 2014 at 3:37 pm


Nice. Low-dust.

So colourful. What the heck are they???

13 | kjt

November 5th, 2014 at 3:59 pm


Alternative – a really striking, modern fabric either hung like a banner or stretched across a frame. Could be done very cheaply as a stand-in until you commission your own artwork!

eg: http://www.calicocorners.com/c-560-keyes.aspx

Also, I saw some fabulous sculptured wall art made of wood in the October House and Home.

14 | Kim

November 6th, 2014 at 8:07 am


Maybe the Pinterest idea of the bicycle tire frame but instead of hanging just records you could incorporate some family photos framed in circular fashion. I think the bike theme fits well with your family! :)

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