Creating A Christmas Staircase

November 18, 2016

By Tab Byrum


One of many thing I enjoy doing when I’m decorating client’s homes for the holidays are staircases. Staircases are a place in the home that allows you to decorate vertically, you can take color and your decorating theme up which also draws the eye up. Staircases are also one of the things I get a lot of questions about: How do you start? How do you attach the decorations? How do you not damage or scratch the staircase? Let me start by saying it’s all about layering, you need a good base like a garland then add your lights, ribbon or garland and decorations just layer on layer. I’m going to share photos today of a couple of staircases I recently did in a client’s home, I’ve shared the home with you before but haven’t gone into detail on any of the decorations and last year we added decorations to the back staircase. I’m going to share photos of both staircases step by step as I did the installation. I’ll go into more detail with each of the photos, let me know if you have any questions and Enjoy!!!

Main Staircase ~ Seeing Red


This is a view of the entire staircase and all the railing I decorate.


As you can see the railing on the stairs is all iron so there’s not a lot of chance if me damaging anything, but if that worries you use chenille stems or pipe cleaners to attach the garland to the railing. I actually don’t use anything to attach the base garland, I just attach the garland to itself by twisting two pieces of the garland together around the railing and posts, just like you would twist a bread tie. 


This is the upper railing along an upstairs walkway. 


Logically I start with the green garland that is the base for the whole staircase decor. This garland is NOT pre-lit, that allows us to keep using the garlands and change lights when the client wants to change types of lights or colors.


We keep all the garlands in Christmas Tree storage bags and inside of each bag I have a piece of paper telling what garland is in the bag. For example, downstairs short railing, upstairs railing, long side railing.


I try to take the garland all the way to the bottom of the railing post at the bottom of the stairs, once the garland is all decorated and lit it looks very elegant and complete.


The next layer I add to the garland are lights. I start at the far end of the garland and work my way down the corner post. I just follow the line of the garland and make sure to get lights and decorations on the bottom side of the garland since that’s what most people will see from the main floor below. 


After the lights the next layer is the ribbon. This year we changed to all red, in the past we’ve used a combination of red and green mesh ribbon but after about 5 years it had started unraveling and looking a little raggedy. I was able to find a ribbon that is a type of mesh ribbon but softer and easier to handle.


I’m a buncher and pincher, I pinch the ribbon together and place that pinched area between two stems on the garland and twist those stems a couple of times like a bread tie to secure the ribbon. Again, I just follow the flow of the garland, going up and down and at angles. 


After the ribbon I start adding the ornaments to the garland. We use all red ornaments of different sizes, different shades of red and as you can see here some of them are smooth and some ornaments have texture.


We use ornaments of varying sizes and I try to use large ornaments at points where the garland goes up and attaches high on the staircase railing. 


For the finishing touch we have these red floral picks that we bought when I first started helping this particular client. These picks add just the right amount of pizazz to the garland and lots of sparkle. 


Floral picks are a great way to fill in any holes were you don’t have lights or ornaments and tie everything together. 




Here’s the completed main staircase. The homeowner loves the choice we made in going all red and at night it’s beautiful. 

Back Staircase ~ MacKenzie Childs Inspired



Right off of the kitchen and family room of the house is a back staircase that goes up to the gameroom and the bedrooms for my client’s twin sons. Last year she decided we should start decorating this set of stairs and we used her collection of MacKenzie Childs in the kitchen as inspiration. 


After I attach the greenery base to the stairs I add the lights, here we use LED lighting again but have changed it up and use these big retro looking lights. 


The ribbon is where the nod to MacKenzie Childs comes in by using the black and white check ribbon that is reminiscent of MC’s Courtly Check pattern. 


I love this red velvet ribbon we found last year trimmed in white chenille, it adds a big punch of color and is a nod to Santa Clause and the University of Oklahoma. 



After the ribbon I add red ornaments of varying sizes and shades of red. This is the corner post at the bottom of the stairs. 


Again, the final thing added to the stairs are floral picks, this time the picks are silver and red with a little bit of greenery. 


Looking down from above you can get a good idea of the finished product. 

I hope you’ve gotten some inspiration today, remember these ideas and techniques arent’ just for staircases. You can also use them to decorate around doors, making wreaths and so much more. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday. Enjoy!!!

All words and images
are my own.

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