The Bold, Colorful Wallpaper I Selected for the Top of the Basement Stairwell

Interiors & Decor

Kitchen dining area with wood paneling on the walls, a center island, a coffee station, and a basement stairwell on the left.
A look at how the basement stairwell (on the left) connects with the kitchen.

When I last wrote about our basement design project, we had just finished painting the basement stairs! This change made such a big difference, and it was the first of a few updates I knew I wanted to make in the basement stairwell.

Today I’m writing about the latest update in our basement design project: the wallpaper I selected for the basement stairwell.

Read on for all the details on why I chose the wallpaper pattern I did.

The Ottoline Wallpaper I Selected for the Basement Stairwell

I chose a bold, unique wallpaper pattern from Ottoline called Bloomsbury Stripes. I love the colors, the scale, and that it reads like a stripe—but with a big twist. This wallpaper will be installed on the walls at the top of the basement stairwell, extending from the ceiling to the painted wood paneling. I think this wallpaper would make a big impact in any smaller space like a powder room or hallway.

Basement stairwell with a mock-up of an Ottoline wallpaper installed at the top
A mock-up of how the Ottoline wallpaper will look at the top of the basement stairwell.
The top of a basement stairwell with white walls and a wood-paneled half wall in the foreground
How the top of the stairwell looks now before the wallpaper is installed.

Here’s Why I Chose This Ottoline Wallpaper

This was a really hard wallpaper to select because there are so many design elements surrounding the spot where it will be installed! The stairs open up right into the kitchen dining area, entrance hallway from the garage, guest bathroom, and Birdie’s room (formerly the guest room). I had to think about how the wallpaper would tie in with the design of each of these rooms. I also had to consider how the wallpaper would play with the adjacent materials—mainly the texture of the marble flooring and the wood paneling on the walls. Any wallpaper pattern that was the same scale as the paneling felt wrong, as did any pattern that looked too organic like the veining on the marble.

Kitchen dining area with blue-painted cabinets, wood paneling, a white pendant light, a center island, and marble flooring
A look at how the basement stairwell (pictured behind the island) connects with the kitchen.

Initially, I was considering wallpaper with a small dot pattern, but I kept coming back to this zigzag striped Ottoline pattern. There’s something about the scale of the pattern and the colors in this wallpaper that tie in really well with the adjacent wood and marble materials. It acts as a nice bridge between all of the varying design elements. It also works as a lovely backdrop to the colors of the kitchen cabinets!

White-painted basement stairwell with a mock-up of an Ottoline wallpaper installed at the top
A mock-up of how the Ottoline wallpaper will look in the basement stairwell.
White-painted basement stairwell
How the stairwell looks now before the wallpaper is installed.

What’s Next for the Basement Design Project

Here is a list of the updates to come, most of which will happen throughout this summer:

  • Install the Ottoline wallpaper at the top of the basement stairwell.
  • Add a new light fixture at the top of the stairwell. 
  • Install a new stair runner.
  • Install a new handrail in the stairwell. 
  • Bring a few more furniture and decor pieces into the basement family room. A few of the pieces I ordered arrived this month! The family room is already looking so different, in the very best way.
  • Update the wine room (see more of this room in this post). We will do a limewash finish or paint the brick, update the light fixtures, and update the plumbing.
A mood board for the basement design project.

BY Kate Arends - June 14, 2023

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June 16, 2023 5:47 pm

I love bold, statement walls like this and the wallpaper used to create them. I wish I could do this in my apartment (I rent so cannot do any changes); it adds such a great vibrancy to the space!

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