Ways to use garlands
Long garlands are an effortless way to make stairs look Christmassy – we think green ones look best, as they bring a touch of nature indoors. If you’re not sure how many you need, measure the section you want to decorate, tot up how many metres it is as a guide, and then buy one or two extra so you don’t end up with gaps, as you’ll be winding them round the banisters and spindles.
Their thickness is important – too bushy and they’ll get in the way, too thin and they’ll look sparse. Our Halcycon and Fergus garlands work well (Fergus has longer, finer fronds coming off the central stem, so it’ll give a pretty trailing effect). Or, if you want a dash of colour, Gordon’s similar to Fraser but sprinkled with red berries.
When it comes to positioning garlands, winding them over the handrail and in between the spindles looks pretty and natural. Make sure you leave enough room so that you can use the handrail as you go up and downstairs – if the staircase is narrow or safety’s a worry, you could just trim the newel posts instead (the larger verticals at the bottom and top of the stairs, and on the landings).
Or, you could weave garlands in between the base of the spindles, so you’ll see them at eye level as you move through the hallway.
To add lights, or not?
Rather than over-decorating the banisters, we think simple’s best – if you’re using greenery, a few lights peeking out in between looks charming, but any more than that looks too much. It’s best to use battery-powered fairy lights, because then you don’t need to worry about finding a socket, and the little box is easy to hide amongst the green.
Lights on their own can be lovely, too – keep them to a warm white bulb so it’s all about a easy glow, and wind them round individual spindles (all of them, or just a few, depending on how much drama you want). Our Connaught fairy lights suit a traditional look, or try our Hazlitt star-shaped lights for something more playful.
As with other garlands, you might need to roughly measure your stairs before you buy to make sure you’re getting enough lights, but as less is more here, shorter strands aren’t ever a bother.
Light some candles
Candlelight looks magical on stairs by night (or even on a dark December afternoon). To be safe – and because it gives an even more festive glow – use tealights in deep holders, such as our silvered glass Holborn ones that’ll really catch the light, or Paxton that diffuse it.
The safest place to put them’s on the inside of each tread, where they won’t get knocked or stepped on. And keep them well away from any greenery you’ve got on the banisters.
Whether or not you’re decorating the banister itself, adding a miniature tree here and there will make stairs feel atmospheric – they’re a good alternative to candle light if you’ve got little people or pets charging up and down your stairs. If your stairs are wide, you could place our mini Logan trees on a few of the inside treads, perhaps with fairy lights to illuminate your way upstairs.
Or just one could be enough, on the bottom step – this looks especially good if you’ve got an old staircase where the lowest step’s wide and curved.
For narrower stairs, try a display of tiny trees between the spindles. If they’re painted white, our Kinver ceramic trees are just right, whereas if they’re wood or a dark colour, then the Friston glitter trees will bring them to life.
Things you can hang from ribbons – like baubles and wreaths – are another great way to decorate banisters. Baubles look best if you vary the lengths of ribbon, so they fall at different heights, whereas wreaths work better when they’re evenly spaced.
You could even hang your Christmas cards from ribbons and display them on the banisters – it’ll stop them getting crowded on the mantelpiece and you’ll be able to see all the different images. This is a great idea if you’ve already got artworks on the wall next to your stairs, as it’ll pick up on the pictorial theme.
One last thing you can do to make your stairs (and hallway) feel more festive is to fragrance your decorations. If you’re using our life-like green garlands, adding some real pine or eucalyptus sprigs is one way to do this.
Or, spritz garlands, trees and wreaths with a festive room spray so you get a waft of fragrance as you walk through the hall. Do this half an hour before guests arrive and it’ll be just enough to lift the mood.