How to Hang Garland on a Staircase [3 Easy Ways]

With the holidays approaching, it’s time to begin decorating, and a perfect place to start is with garland! Garland is a beautiful strand of greenery, with endless variations on styles, that you can use to decorate your mantle, doorways, and staircases. Staircases decked out in garland and lights are beautiful in any home, and there are several different ways you can hang and decorate garland to fit your style. 

The best methods to hang garland on your staircase include:

  • Wrap
  • Swag
  • Flat Lay

Decorating the garland around your home can be as fun as decorating your tree. But before you start, you have to decide how you want to hang your garland. Keep reading to dive into the different ways to hang your garland! 

decorated metal handrails for the holidays, how to hang garland on a staircase [3 easy ways]

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How To Hang Garland On A Staircase

Now let’s cover these three main ways to get that garland looking spectacular on your staircase.


One of the most popular ways to decorate stairs with garland is by wrapping the garland around the banister. This requires as little as two attachment points and provides a fair amount of coverage. However, this method does use more garland in order to continuously wrap around the banister, so it’s important to consider how much material you have if you are using this method.


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White staircase with holiday decorations and Christmas lights and a fire place in the background

If you’ve seen a banister wrapped in garland, chances are it’s been at the top, along the railing. This method is gorgeous, especially when decorated with lights, bows, and even Christmas bulbs. 

The easiest way to accomplish this is by using zip ties. You can use any color you want because they will be hidden under the garland or decorations.

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Starting from the bottom of the railing, use a zip tie to attach the garland around the banister. It will help if you have a second set of hands to hold the garland in place while you attach the zip ties.

Before you start wrapping the garland around the banister, decide how you will want it to look. For a tightly wound look, wrap the garland through every baluster. If you want less coverage on your railing, then you can wrap the garland around the baluster in equal increments, such as every second or third baluster.

Wrap the garland to the top of the railing and then attach it with another zip tie. If you want it to remain more secure, you can add zip ties every 3 or 4 balusters. Once the garland is in place and the zip ties are pulled tight, cut the excess plastic off the zip tie and adjust the greenery to hide them. 

If your garland is made from a plastic texture or isn’t as flowy, it can be challenging to keep the zip ties hidden. To secure the garland around the zip ties, you can position the strand to cover the tie and then attach the garland around the banister with green floral wire.

This wire won’t be strong enough to hold the garland onto the banister without the zip ties. So although it would blend better than the zip ties, it’s best to use them together.

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Attaching garland to the top of the banister can hinder the use of the stair railing. If you want to avoid this, you can wrap the garland around the base of the balusters. This is perfect if you have children or elderly adults who need access to the handrail to safely use the stairs.

When using garland on the bottom of the balusters, you have the option to make it full and thick, giving the illusion of a lush forest path. Use lights, pinecones, bows, and other decorations to make it as intricate or minimalistic as you like.

Attaching the garland to the staircase in this way is very simple. Because the garland will be resting on the ground, you can use floral wire to attach the garland to the bottom baluster, then weave through the baluster to the top where you can add another floral wire.

For the lower part of the stairs, you will want to go around every individual baluster to create decent coverage. If you are wanting it to look extra thick, you can double your garland length and wrap your way back down the stairs weaving in the opposite direction.

Be sure that there isn’t garland getting in the way of using your staircase, which can cause someone to fall and get injured. 


If you’re looking for a classic draped look on your staircase, you can swag your garland. This leaves the handrail relatively clear and allows you to decorate the outer sides of your staircase. There are two different styles you can achieve by using the swag method.


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A deep swag is when you use fewer attachment points and allow the dip of your garland to fall lower. On an average staircase, you would usually attach one end of the garland at the bottom and then the other end at the top of the railing and let the rest of the garland hang in between. Then you can find the center point of your banister and attach the center of the garland with a zip tie.

You can use large bows to hide the zip ties at the attachment points for decoration.

Click here to view these bows on Amazon.


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By adding more attachment points, you can create shallow dips. This provides more coverage than the deeper swag. Again, start by attaching one end of the garland to the bottom of the banister and the other to the top. Then you can determine how many points you want to connect.

The easiest way to do this is to attach the middle again, and then attach the middle of each of the new dips to the banister for at least five attachment points.


Christmas Decoration Stair artificial garland placed for pattern interior design on staircase or mantels in Christmas and New year party holiday

You can also attach garland in a flat lay, or when the garland is straight across the top of the banister, or sitting just under it, with no wrapping or swag. To do this, it’s easiest if you have two people, one person to hold the garland and the other to attach it.

Starting at the bottom, attach the garland end and then continue to hold it flat while someone else attaches it periodically across the top. This will keep it from slipping. 

A wooden staircase is decorated for Christmas which leads to the house of Santa Claus

If you want to attach it along the underside of the railing, use the same process while attaching it to the balusters. For this method, it becomes difficult to hide zip ties, since the garland won’t be wrapping around the banister or baluster.

The best attachment would be garland ties. These are essentially twist ties that are covered in faux pine to blend into the existing garland.

Click here to view these garland ties on Amazon.

How Much Garland Do You Need For A Staircase?

Depending on how you hang the garland will determine how to measure the amount of garland you need. If you plan to wrap the garland, you will need more than if you were doing the swag method. 

For wrapping, measure the banister length and then double it. So if your banister is 12 feet long, you will need 24 feet of garland. If you plan to wrap this garland around the newel post, or the first baluster at the bottom of the stairs, then measure the height of that baluster and add it to the length. So if your banister is 12 feet long and the newel is 3 feet high, then you would do 12+3=15, then 15×2=30 feet of garland.

To measure for swag garland, you simply need one and a half-length of garland. So for a 12 feet long banister, you would do 12×1.5=18 feet of garland.

How Do You Hang Garland On An Outside Railing?

The methods for hanging garland inside the home are the same for hanging garland on outside staircases. However, there are methods that are better than others. For instance, your best bet is to wrap the garland and attach it with zip ties. This will secure the garland against the elements outside better than most other methods.

How Long Will Fresh Garland Last Indoors?

Fresh garland is best for use outdoors as the cold weather will help it keep fresh for longer. Indoors, however, the fresh garland will last about two weeks. To prolong the time as best you can, keep it out of sunlight and preferably away from other heat sources.

In Closing

Garland is a timeless holiday decoration that has evolved with the constant changes in interior design popularity. If you’re looking for more holiday decor ideas, check out these articles:

15 Christmas Porch Decorating Ideas [With Pictures]

When To Decorate For Christmas

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