Home // Stairwell to Garage Whimsical Makeover // Before & After

stairwell space decorating ideas-1

I love decorating small spaces. More specifically, I love decorating small spaces that don’t actually “need” to be decorated, like the stairwell to the garage, for instance! This is more of a utility space {for getting things down to the garage from the house and/or up from the garage into the house, you get it} than a room that gets tons of visitors, but it’s such a fun surprise every time we open the door now to see the bold colors and happy birds, it always puts a smile on our faces.

With relatively minimal cost and very little work, I turned {with the help of the husband’s uncle Billy who painted & hung the light fixture} the stairwell from a super drab place you want to run out of fast to a super fab space you actually want to hang out in, and we just love it.

stairwell to garage-before and after decor

decorated stairwell-bird decals

Here’s what we did….

Garage Stairwell decor-before 1-1 Garage Stairwell decor-during 1-1

First we simply painted the stairs and railings a gloss black. Even if we stopped there, it would have been an improvement from the dirty/stained peachy-taupe color they were when we moved in.

I also swapped out the random carpet pieces for a black shag rug {that used to be in our old kitchen}, and cut it into two smaller sections, one for each landing sans the bottom. I may add more, but for now I’m happy with it. They add a fun texture and are cozy as well as collect any dust/dirt from our shoes before we enter the house.

Garage Stairwell decor-during 2

Next I purchased four packs of gray/black re-stik bird decals from Blik {6 per pack, $25 each, total spent about $100 -20% sign up bonus, woo!} then stuck them randomly over one wall, beginning at the doorway and following the stairs down {I actually have a few left}.

bird decals-pendant lamp-1

I wanted a black iron hanging pendant light to capture the outdoor feeling and to complement the birds and found this simple one with textured seeded glass that creates terrific shadows on the walls when lit.

Shop: Acclaim Lighting 7626 Charleston 3 Light 18″ Height Outdoor Pendant $98

Garage Stairwell decor-during-2 Garage Stairwell decor-during-4-1

I wanted more color on the lower walls and thought it would be fun for the kiddos when they visit if they could draw all over them, so I found Benjamin Moore® Chalkboard Paint (308 —Available in Any Color -one can) and asked for a medium gray so it wouldn’t feel too dark in the walkway and still contrast with the black steps as well as tie in the colors of the birds. I also chose to paint only one side of the wall, following the steps down, to give the room dimension but keep it light as well.

More Befores…
Garage Stairwell decor-before-2 Garage Stairwell decor-before-3

fly like an eagle-chalkboard paint walls

I found an old box of fun colored chalk from about one hundred years ago in my DIY supplies… Score!

stairwell decor-faux spiral boxwood tree

I wanted to add a plant, but knowing a living one would not survive, I found this faux spiral boxwood tree for $90 at Amazon and set it in a green pot I already had for a fun pop of color and to continue the outdoor vibe. The height adds visual candy yet it’s still slim enough to not protrude into the walkway.

It’s a pretty great fake and it arrived in the mail safely!

faux boxwood spiral tree-1

This little always watching from the top of the stairs…

Leroy frenchie watching


And… Voila! The Complete Room {for now at least}

***Note: the colors are true grays and black, though it was very difficult to photograph, and I had to lighten them in Photoshop so they may appear gray/blue/purple-ish and of course, it’s far superior in person 😉

stairwell to the garage-2

bird wall decals-stairwell decor

chalkboard paint stairwell  2 faux boxwood tree

stairwell decor-bird decals- black and gray

I may still swap out the light-switch plate, paint the trim right above the gray wall, and even add some black and white prints/photographs in black frames, but for now, it’s perfect.

chalkboard paint & colored chalk

* See more of my Home Decor Projects here


LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at ...love Maegan.com sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.


  • Hannah

    January 7, 2014 | Reply

    That’s a super impressive before & after!! Great job. I might have ignored that space if it was my own but I think details like that are what makes a house a home (haaa that rhymed.)

  • Code Overdressed

    January 8, 2014 | Reply

    You’ve created an amazing space! Most people could not care less about their stairwell, you instead transformed it into an amazing and unexpected part of your house, and that’s lovely!

    Cee. ♥
    Code Overdressed

  • AJ Rogers

    January 8, 2014 | Reply


  • Amanda @ A.Co est. 1984

    January 8, 2014 | Reply

    This looks freakin’ AWESOME!! Well done M!

  • MA

    January 8, 2014 | Reply

    Amazing, and the colors are very striking…love black and gray!


  • Amanda Rose

    January 8, 2014 | Reply

    …and this is one of the reasons I love you. FABumungous!

  • Guest

    January 8, 2014 | Reply

    At first glance, I thought that you spend hours/days painting the birds onto the wall. Decals are a much easier and a much neater way to “faux paint”. Also, I recently saw (on TV) and heard that chalkboard paint will paint over just about everything, including metal! And, as you said, it is available in COLORS! What a fantastic idea, and the children will love to draw (and erase) on the walls. Love this DIY!

  • Guest

    January 8, 2014 | Reply

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I just might paint a small wall next to my garage door, using chalkboard paint in a color. I can use the chalk for “reminders” just before going downstairs to my car. We can even make/paint a larger calendar with larger squares…….so many ideas using chalkboard paint! Thanks for this fantastic DIY.

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