A Blank Stairwell Gets “the Most Magical Retro ’60s” Makeover

published Jun 17, 2024
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Sometimes when you see a blank white space, it’s hard to imagine it with a completely maximalist style. But for some true pattern-, paint-, and peel-and-stick-lovers out there, it’s actually quite easy to see the potential. 

DIYer Kristin Cedar (@thrifty.maximalist) is one of those people who can color-fy every room — check out her energetic, colorful Portland home — including the stairwell, which was a blank slate to begin with and then got a dose of Kristin’s signature style. 

The stairwell has three bold patterns. 

Three bold patterns pack a punch in this stairwell. The first is on the stair risers: a pink cheetah print peel-and-stick wallpaper. The second is a floral pattern hand-painted by Kristin, and the third is a geometric pattern also hand-painted by Kristin. “It turned into the most magical retro ’60s vibe,” she says.

“I started painting murals because I couldn’t afford the wallpaper I wanted,” Kristin adds. “Once I realized that I could paint anything I wanted, I went crazy with color. Over the past few years, I’ve added murals to almost every room.”

A large plant grid takes advantage of the long wall. 

Kristin says the trickiest part of the project was figuring out how to cover the long walls, which span the two stories of the condo. “I couldn’t reach to the top, even with a ladder,” she says. Her solution? A plant wall covered with self-watering planters. 
“I used three grid wall panels and mounted them on the wall studs using the grid wall mounting brackets,” she explains. “Then I filled the wall with plant that I hung on self-watering wall planters.”

Clever shelving displays plants and art. 

Above the wall planter, there’s an orange picture ledge to display some framed artwork, and Kristin added a small floating shelf (also orange) to the corner to hold a plant. 

On top of the drywall nook in the stairwell, Kristin glued an IKEA SALJAN countertop, cut down to size, “to make it more usable as a shelf,” she explains. 

She had the remainder of the SALJAN countertop cut into two pieces for other, smaller shelves in the stairway, too. “The countertop was unfinished on the bottom, so I covered the bottoms with Marimekko peel-and-stick wallpaper. I used these brackets to fix it to the wall and covered it in all my favorite thrifted fruit decor!”

Lastly, Kristin added even more thrifted artwork to the walls. “I’m obsessed with how the murals came together with the existing plant wall and all the thrifted art,” she writes on Instagram. “This is my happy place!”