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How To Hang Garland on Stairs

by - Thursday, October 29, 2020

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Has the snow arrived where you are? We've had some very chilly weather here in Toronto and I expect to see snowflakes very soon. That has put me in the mood to start decorating for Christmas. As soon as Halloween is over, you can bet I'll be pulling out the decor boxes!

One area I always look forward to decorating is the stairwell. Have you wondered how to hang garland on stairs? It's very easy to do provided you have the right materials and tools. I took these photos last Christmas but forgot to share them but now the time is right. Bookmark this info for when you're ready to decorate your staircase!

Note: this post contains affiliate links for shopping convenience.

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I love decorating the interior of our home for Christmas. There are a few areas that seem to get all of the attention. The mantel, the tree, even the porch and exterior - they seem like obvious places to decorate but the staircase at Christmas? Not the first place that comes to mind!

So why should you decorate your stairs for Christmas? 

Many homes have the stairs situated near the front door of the home. For that reason, you can decorate this unexpected spot and welcome your guests with holiday cheer as soon as they step inside. A stairway garland also helps to carry your Christmas decor to other floors of your home. Decor on the staircase ties the main floor and upstairs or downstairs together and gives your entire house a Christmas feeling.

I've used faux garlands but you can definitely use real live garlands as well. Be aware that live garlands won't stay fresh for long (maybe two weeks at most indoors) and they will drop their needs on your stairs which could be a falling hazard.

Stair Christmas Decorations

I started decorating the stairs for Christmas in our last home and learned some valuable tips over the years. But before I share the method I used to hang my stair garland, there are a few questions to consider:

How much garland do I need for a staircase? 

This depends on three things: (1) the length of your stair handrail or bannister, (2) the length of the garland, and (3) whether you will swag the garland or not. You will want to have garland at least as long as your handrail. As well, if you want to have your garland swagged like in the first image above, your garland should be 1.5 times the length of your handrail. Finally, if you want to have some of the garland hanging down at the beginning or end of the bannister, add about 3' to that length for either end. For example, for an 8' long bannister, with swagged garland hanging to the floor at beginning, you will need (8 x 1.5) + 3 = 15' of garland.

Can I combine garlands?

Absolutely! Layering two or more garlands will create a lush and full look. Additionally, you can combine real and faux garlands, or garlands of greenery with other materials such as beads or berries. It depends on the look you want to achieve. Here are some garland pairings that I think would work well together:

The Damage-Free Way to Hang Stair Garland

Now you're ready to decorate. Note that I've shown this garland hanging off the bannister and against a wall. If your stairs are more open, with balusters (also known as spindles or pickets) on one or both sides, the installation is the same.

You can make your garland as simple or as elaborate as you like. Keep in mind the size of your stairwell. For narrow stairs, you won't want to have a garland that's too full or wide that makes it difficult to walk up the stairs.

Step 1: Gather needed supplies to hang your garland

The most basic garland will require these materials:
  • Garland
  • Embellishments like pinecones, bells or sprays
  • Something to tie the garland to the handrail. I like to use these garland twist ties. With faux needles and a deep green colour, they blend in with your garland. They also twist very tightly and leave no damage on your handrail. You can also use green Velcro plant ties or green zip ties (though you may need to connect two zip ties together depending on the thickness of your handrail
  • floral wire (22 gauge works well)
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Step 2: Wire garlands together if needed

Depending on the full length of garland you need, you may need to string two or more garlands together. This is best done before you attach the garland to the bannister. Connect the two garlands using either the zip ties or the floral wire.

Step 3: Attach garland to the handrail

Starting at one end of the handrail, use the garland twist ties to affix the garland to the handrail. Space the ties evenly around 2.5' apart. Use any brackets or spindles to your advantage, attaching the ties to them, so that the garland doesn't fall or slide down.

Be sure to attach the garland so it hangs on the side or bottom of the handrail, not the top, so that you can still hold the handrail when walking up or down the stairs.

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Step 4: Attach the largest and heaviest accessories

Use additional twist ties to connect the largest and heaviest elements. I like to attach these directly to the handrail and not the garland, so there is not extra weight bringing the garland down. Spread out the leaves or needles of the garland to hide where the accessories are attached.

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Step 5: Insert smaller picks, sprays and branches

Tuck these smaller accents in and around the garland. You should be able to secure them by tucking them behind or along the handrail. Add additional twist ties if needed.

how to hang stair garland, stairway garland, stair garland christmas

Step 6: Create clusters and attach as a group

You might want to use clusters of pinecones, berries, or ornaments to bring colour and texture to the garland. Cut a piece of floral wire about two feet long. Use the wire to create the cluster and hold the pinecones together. Then use the excess wire to attach the cluster to the garland.

how to hang stair garland, stairway garland, stair garland christmas

Step 7: Add singular elements

Finish off the garland by adding in singular elements like bows or ornaments. I find satin ribbon (use at least 1.5" wide) especially pretty against the more textured elements. You can also use the bows to hide the wires and twist ties. 

how to hang stair garland, stairway garland, stair garland christmas

how to hang stair garland, stairway garland, stair garland christmas

how to hang stair garland, stairway garland, stair garland christmas

And just like that, you've created a pretty and eye catching stair garland. Get creative with your garland. Decorate it with colours in your scheme. Make it modern or traditional. Here's a few supplies you might consider using.


Looking for more holiday decor tips? Check out these posts:

How To Hang Wreaths on Windows

How to Hang Garland on a Mantel

How to Make an Outdoor Urn

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