Stairwell Decorating Ideas

Now that the backdrop is done, I’ve been dreaming about how we can inject some cottage-style personality into our (blank slate, not-quite-finished) stairwell:

Stairwell Canvas

(Don’t mind that orange-toned stair tread…that baby will be re-stained a darker, more neutral brown very soon!)

That (currently unpainted) door opens into a hallway that leads back to our bedroom, and I haven’t painted it yet because I’d love to replace it with an old office door. Maybe something like this:

Old office door | frosted glass

And maybe if I can’t find a door that has frosted glass and lettering already on it, I could add my own to a door like this:

Old Blue Office Door

Here’s a photo I put together in Photoshop that shows what that would *sort of* look like:

Stairwell Idea 8

(Obviously, I would use a different name or phrase on there- ha!)

As you can see, I popped a few other ideas onto the photo as well. I’d love to make the most out of the wall to the left of the door by using some kind of (shallow) cabinetย on the floor there, and a (tall) mirrorย on the wall above it. You can never have too much storage or natural light, right? ๐Ÿ˜€

Here are a few of the other color combos I played around with in Photoshop last night:

Stairwell Idea 1

Stairwell Idea 2

Stairwell Idea 3

Stairwell Idea 4

Stairwell Idea 7

The colors, doors, rug and furniture are all just ideas- not necessarily exact pieces we’ll use in there. I just like to play around with things this way because it helps me narrow my options. For instance, seeing those photos helps me to know that I’m definitely more drawn to using a white cabinet and a colorful door. I wanted to make sure Kevin felt the same way though, so I sat him down in front of this post last night and said, “Scroll.” When he got to the end, I said “which one(s) do you like the best?“. He didn’t have a favorite, (because he was fond of all three) but he was definitely more drawn to the pictures with painted doors.ย Whew! I love it when we lock in like that! ๐Ÿ˜€

Anywho, I’m happy to have a (flexible) plan for that spot now. My mission this month: To ย hunt for an old door that’s the right size for that spot!

PS- If you’d like to check out the footage we filmed while we were working on the backdrop this space, head on over to The Design Network. My third episode is up today, and it’s all about preparing the stairwell and Sweet P’s bedroom for the furniture and fun stuff! :-)

The Lettered Cottage | The Design Network

*Mirror and rug links are affiliate links.

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  1. says

    First I love the look of the office door. Second I totally learned something new today! Using Photoshop to test colors and other elements of decorating is brilliant! Don’t know why it never occurred to me before. LOL

  2. says

    I wish I had an area to use a fun accent door like this. My home has such small proportions I feel like it might look a little too ‘bitsy’ (if ya know what I mean). So, for me, I kinda like the continuity of matching doors.
    Layla, I ADORE that yellow pop, though would love it even more teamed with rustic timber instead of white. Perhaps a timber door and a yellow cabinet?

  3. Angela Williams says

    I agree with you! Love, love, love the colored doors!!!! I wish you could come and “prettify” my house :). You make it seem so easy!

  4. says

    I vote for the Optometry door! (Because I’m an optometrist!) We need to find something like that for our house! You have the best ideas!

  5. Sarah Venn says

    I love the first and the second pic! It looks so good! I would have never thought to use a door like that as an interior door! Now you have my wheels turning for our house! I love the inspiration you give me!

    Quick question…have you done a tutorial on how you make images like this in photoshop? If you have, can you point me in the right direction on your blog? I’m such a visual person and I have so many ideas for our home, but it would really help me to see the options like you have done in the post above.

    Thanks for all that you do!

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Sarah! And, yes, if you click on any of the Photoshop links in this post, you’ll be re-directed to my class over at! :-)

  6. Colette J. says

    I really love this idea. The first pic with the blue door is my fave. Can’t wait to see what you end up with!

  7. says

    Lovin this part of the process – once again have my head thinking about a blank space in my house that could use a little “new, old character”!

  8. Cindy says

    I love your ideas! I agree that the ones with the painted doors are great but I’m also really liking the stained door with the green cabinet.

  9. MimiG says

    Love, love the green door. One thing I will suggest is be very careful of your rug placement next to the stairs. We had a similar set up when my youngest was 3 1/2. He was running, slid on the rug to the stairs and fell down about 4 steps before stopping. An ER trip for that one and some stitches. I immediately took the rug to the garage… And, I refused to let them wear socks in the house. They wanted to try to skate everywhere. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Layla says

      Great point, Mimi! I hadn’t really planned on using a rug there, but it looked funny not to include one in the drawings for some reason. Maybe I’ll go back to my original plan after all! ๐Ÿ˜€

  10. Ter'e Crow Lindsay says

    I love the Richard Hill door!!!! LOVE it!!!!!! Look at that cute little mail slot. What fun would it be to have a mail slot with your young one. (once he learns to read and write). Great ideas all around!!!!
    I love your PHOTO SHOP!!!!!! Man, is that easier than shopping and dragging things home!!!!! I always have to squint and visualize!!!!! I’m actually good at visualizing color, but not exact furniture pieces or doors. Color and me, see eye to eye!!!!

  11. BRDLVRNH says

    I just saw that ensemble in a magazine 3 minutes prior to logging into your blog! I loved it in the book and love it more in your home!

  12. Leah: ) says

    Hey Layla!
    Wondering what you used to patch the doorway to Sweet P’s room? Also LOVE the planks – can’t tell how wide they are??
    Thanks so much!!! LOVE all of the updates!!!: )

    • Layla says

      Hi Leah! We used Bondo on the spots where the hinges were, and wood putty where the door latch was. (Just because the Bondo stuff was SO stinky!) ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. Christie says

    Love the door idea!! The yellow is my favorite! It’s so cheery and such a great compliment to the gray walls. I love old doors…can’t wait to see what you find!

  14. says

    Oh, I totally love that idea of a yellow door! That would look so happy, bright, fun and unexpected! :-) Can’t wait what you will come up with eventually, but it all looks so beautiful already!!
    Much love and hugs,
    Inge x

  15. Cyndi says

    I adore everything you do. I wish you lived in my part of the country so I could hire you to help me. Do you know anyone in NJ that you can recommend? :-). I’ve been in my 1926 home for almost 10 yrs and have lots to do and don’t know where to start.

  16. says

    I love this! I really like the white vanity with the blue or yellow door the most and I love the idea of an old office type door. :)