Decorating/painting a wall at the bottom of a stairwell...

by Terri
We are finishing out our basement and we have a wall at the bottom of the stairwell to that room. What color or decor should we use to "distract" from this? I don't have a photo to post, but imagine walking down a winding stairwell, and on the last stair, sliding open a craftsman style pocket door and across the 3 1/2 foot hallway is a wall 9' high by 9' wide that opens on either side to the main room in the walkout basement.
  18 answers
  • MN Mom MN Mom on Jan 29, 2016
    Terri is this similar to a dead end where there's a T in the road? The wall is the T? If you want to detract you could paint it a warm but light color and even consider adding a large mirror to create more light. You can also take advantage of the wall by creating a photo gallery . Behr paints has a great chart of interior colors that would compliment your Craftsman home. Best wishes!
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 29, 2016
    I would suggest painting a pale shade of the color of the door you are explaining.Without seeing a photo I cannot suggest a shade only my thought. If your are trying to distract any attention to the area I think I would opt on just paint and maybe a light fixture if the area is to dark.
    • Terri Terri on Jan 30, 2016
      @Janet Pizaro thanks! There are 2 ceiling light fixtures in the hall
  • Dfm Dfm on Jan 29, 2016
    you didn't mention lighting in the hallway or stairway....that has a big impact on color. i'm for keeping basement areas as light and bright as possible.. maybe not pastels, but a warm white. the wall... think a picture photo's, framed out kid's art work (call it a newly discovered impressionist master) frame up great grandma's kidd gloves and write a story about what happened to them, (my ggma....the goat ate them (almost)- after escaping the pen and snatching them from the clothes line on laundry day.)
  • Lynn Lynn on Jan 30, 2016
    Light color faux brick
  • Nancy Wagner Nancy Wagner on Jan 30, 2016
    A large wall mural would create the illusion of open entering a garden, beach, woods, etc.
  • GabbyinPa. GabbyinPa. on Jan 30, 2016
    Without a picture of the area, I was thinking along the lines of a photo gallery just like dfm was ,with the background of a warm off white or pale gray.
  • Mary Davis Mary Davis on Jan 30, 2016
    I love a very large painting or poster that makes an impact. Your choice will say a lot about you and how you want people to feel about the space.
  • Gerrie Gerrie on Jan 30, 2016
    There are some great stencils,one comes to mind of lattice.. leaving an arched opening in the lattice with perhaps a hanging pot of vines stenciled in it. Flowers growing up from the bottom along the front, and for good measure some birds flying here and there. Lots of stencils to choose from and ever so easy to use, although a bit time consuming.
  • Johnchip Johnchip on Jan 30, 2016
    Get rid of the door. Open as much space as you can. Don't decorate it to death. Make the floor your focus.
  • Terri Terri on Jan 30, 2016
    Here are photos
  • Camaro1952 Camaro1952 on Jan 30, 2016
    Why not let your imagination go wild and paint a base coat then add your personal design with free hand art! You don't have to be an artist to let your ideas flow.
  • LD LD on Jan 30, 2016
    Thanks for posting pics of the space involved Terri. Personally I would do away with the pocket door, for it closes in the space giving it a choppy and darkness to the room. I would open the headroom at the base and top of the stairs, and if possible open the wall on either side of the staircase in order to give a more open space. The flooring of the staircase and the finished basement should be the same, so you pull the two areas together. What ever the color scheme and design theme for the basement should flow into the hallway and staircase, but make sure to pull some of the colors from the area at the top of the stairs as well for integrating flow between the spaces. I would take that pocket door and use it as an artistic element in the basement. Let your inspiration for color and furnishings come from a decorative rug, artwork, furnishings, and accessories.
    • Terri Terri on Jan 31, 2016
      @LD Thank you for your input. The pocket door is at the bottom of an open two story open foyer with a built in winding stair case with a large window looking out onto the front porch. We designed this as a focal point in the entry way. The staircase leads to the full, walkout basement that will be 1900 square feet when completed. The ceilings are 9ft high and there is a complete kitchen, studio/craft room, office, guest bedroom, a full bath and large great room with a fireplace on the other side of the wall in question. The pocket door will need to be there because this will function as our guest "suite" or an "in-law" suite so privacy is necessary so I can't lose the door. Besides, I love our pocket doors and we have pets. I think I am leaning toward a gallery/photo wall or a subtle self-painted mural and thank everyone for their input!
  • Lynn Palmatier Lynn Palmatier on Jan 30, 2016
    walls at the bottom of stairwells are always a hard spot to work with. I like Linda's idea opening up the walls at the bottom and losing the door, if possible (it should be). Consider your intended use of the space and furniture. Sounds like you have a outdoor opening in the basement which is critical for furniture. Opening the walls of the stairs will also give you a more open feeling. As for decorating, If you are using the basement as a TV/movie room (think movie theater walls) a playroom for the kids, some fun mural. If it's doubling as a guest room, maybe something more tranquil. consider the colors in the furniture you are using for the colors that drew you to it and you could use that on the wall. Hang a painting with your colors. Get a stretched canvas at the art supply and let the kids paint with your colors to hang at the bottom. (if you have multiple kids get them each one to paint.... Expand your imagination...
  • Gma Kirk Gma Kirk on Jan 30, 2016
    You could put wall decal- there are a gazillion options, so I know you can find something that is "you". They aren't that much and peel off if you get tired of them. Here's an Amazon article w some examples. I'm fond of the tree silhouettes.
  • Taffetal Taffetal on Jan 30, 2016
    I'd cover the space with art one large piece that provides depth perception.
  • Jackie I Jackie I on Jan 30, 2016
    Have you thought about a beautiful wall mural of a forest, a stream or river, a field of flowers? I for one am a tree lover.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Jan 31, 2016
    Use a chair rail to run the colour below it into the stairway; have the colour from the stairwell run on top of the chair rail into the room. Remove door and have one big space.
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jan 31, 2016
    So many options......all suggestions are great ones. I'm thinking a beach mural would open up the space, or someplace that's special to you and your family.