Creating A Stairwell Accent Wall Design

If you read my 2023 home goals post, then you know that I want to transform the wall leading from the first to the second floor of our home. It’s this big blank space that I stare at every time I go up those stairs and I imagine all of the cool things I can do with it. I’m not lying when I say that this project has been on my mind since the moment we bought this house.

The blank stairwell in our hallway

I’m happy to report that I finally have a stairwell accent wall design plan! And more than that, I actually have the logistical plan as to how the heck I’m going to make it happen with the tall ceilings and stairs in the way. But before we get to that, let’s backtrack.

The Accent Wall In Our First Floor Bathroom

Figuring out our wall molding design

One of the first DIY projects we did in this home was a little refresh in our first-floor bathroom. Part of that project involved adding a wood wall treatment for towel hooks. It was a “Do it in a Day” project and it added so much to the space.

DIY wood wall treatment in the bathroom

I truly think that woodworking projects like this one make your home look a lot more high-end and custom. Because this is the main bathroom that our guests use, I wanted it to have a little extra something to make it pretty. Adding some wood, caulk, paint, and hooks took things to the next level without sacrificing a ton of time or money.

My Stairwell Accent Wall Design

My stairwell accent wall design

When it came time to design our stairwell wall, I kept coming back to the design that we used in the bathroom – the two thick vertical pieces, one horizontal across, and then decorative molding inside it all. After lots of staring and scribbling out ideas, I decided to recreate that same design, but on a much larger scale!

My stairwell accent wall design plan

I’ll be using these 1×3 boards for my thicker pieces and then this molding on the inside to recreate the look. On the bottom, I will have quite a few cuts to make to navigate the stairs, but I will figure it out as I go! I will then paint the entire wall the color “Simply White”, by Benjamin Moore, to match the trim and doors in our home.

The Logistics Of This Project

How to safely do a stairwell accent wall

The reason this project has stayed on the back burner for so long is that I was always very intimidated by the size of this wall. It’s huge and not only did I need to figure out how to get the wood up there safely, but I knew I also would have to caulk and paint the entire thing.

I looked into renting various ladders and scaffolding and ultimately, Finn suggested that I buy this piece of scaffolding equipment. I’m unsure of how long this project will take and renting scaffolding for more than a week wasn’t cost-effective for us. The scaffolding he found isn’t too unwieldy and I’ll be able to set it up on both the landing and at the top of the stairs, so I can safely get to the top of the wall. And I’m sure we will continue to use it for other projects around the house and outside.

I wasn’t looking forward to being on a ladder and I didn’t really think that would be safe and/or possible. This should make me feel a bit more secure up there and I’ll be able to adjust it for every step of this project, as I add the wood, and then eventually paint.

Making a stairwell accent wall design plan

If this was a regular-sized wall, I wouldn’t be too intimidated by this. But, since it’s a big, two-story wall, I’m a tad nervous to dive right in. Plus, it’s not the best area to tackle during kids’ nap times, with their rooms right there. I’ll have to sneak this project in on days when they’re both at school…

Other Wood Wall Projects & Designs

Adding a wood accent wall

If you want to give a custom wood wall a try, here are some favorites from the past. These are all doable projects that are good for any beginning DIY’er…

I can’t wait to share more about this project soon! It’s going to be a fun one that puts my DIY skills to the test.

See The End Result!

Our new stairwell accent wall

It was quite a project, but I got it done and I absolutely love it. Read the full step-by-step tutorial here.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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