A blank wall is a clean slate, unless you leave it that way. A blank wall in an otherwise decorated home says that you have a glorious canvas, but are choosing not to use it for any practical or aesthetic purpose. This can make your home seem too sparse, too clinical, too boring, and it says that you lack creativity. Even the most hardened criminals decorate their cells with whatever they can, so don’t ignore that or fear that white wall, take a moment or two to make it your own with these 16 wall decor ideas.
Dream It, Theme It
The first piece of advice is to have a specific theme in mind before you start throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks. If the space is public, take that into account, as guests will obviously be seeing it. Private spaces are better for personal decorations, like family photos, while public spaces should be curated to entice visitors, start conversations, or just show off.
This is one of the best tips for both working with a small space and a simple way to decorate a blank wall. Thrift stores are rife with mirrors of all sizes, and adorning a wall with a large one will provide a way to reflect light and add the sense of space to a room while also requiring almost no work on your part. If possible, set the mirror across from a window to reflect the glorious outdoor scenery, or tilt it to catch the sky as a way to bring the outside in.
If mirrors aren’t to your liking, you can get a similar bright and shiny effect by using a lot of metal accents. Any jumble of shiny materials stuck onto the wall will help throw light around and add a sense of clean modernism to your home.
Toys, action figures, models, and anything else can be put on shelves on the wall to create an ever-shifting scene that reflects your own personal tastes or interests. It can be fun, macabre, artistic, or even abstract, letting you play with the scenes you create in your little world. The real devotees to this style use decorations intended for model trains to devise whole wall-based villages.
Pick a Plant
A neat trick that will really give your home a naturalistic appearance is a bit of climbing ivy or other plant that will sprawl and spread out. You’ll need to ensure that it has enough light to stay alive, but most English ivy is hardy and can make do with indirect sunlight and limited water, making it both easy to maintain and classically good-looking.
Light It Up
Candle sconces or dramatic lights can highlight any wall art, or be paired with multiple small mirrors to create interesting mood lighting arrangements that bounce all around the room. Strings of lights put inside simple paper lantern shells are also excellent for this trick, and can be used to frame art or woven into that vine you’ve got growing.
Cork Board Collage
There’s nothing wrong with a messy wall, except it can leave you with peeled paint or endless holes to spackle over. By putting a large piece of cork board over the entire wall, or just a segment, you create a flexible canvas that you can change as much as you like with various works of art, pieces of flotsam, prized possessions, or just lots of colorful bits and bobs. As an added bonus, it helps stop sound from leaking into the apartment next door.
The idea here is similar to an Andy Warhol painting where you have the same basic image or pattern repeated in different colors. There’s loads of simple, inexpensive tiles that can give you a nice checkerboard look which works alone or in combination with any other decor you want to add in.
Especially handy if you have walls with holes, stains, or damage, you can put up decals in a random array to give the wall texture and depth. Easy to stick on and peel down.
Hide Your Shame
There’s a couple of reasons that old castles were decorated with tapestries. First, they provide excellent insulation for keeping the temperature outside from reaching in. Secondly, they’re an easy way to make a big, blank wall look stylish. A massive woven work will occupy and entire wall with no other work required. Also, you can hang pointless curtains in front of it, as these both block off the wall from prying eyes and give a sense of more rooms beyond, even when there isn’t.
Sweep It Under
Like tapestries or curtains, a nice rug or hand-woven blanket put on the wall gives a bit of homespun charm to a room.
If you don’t want much variation, but still want to give your wall and the room more depth, think about putting up some basic texture. A wood trim pattern or lattice that spans the wall breaks up the monotony of a simple color and gives it an organized, regimented aesthetic.
Make the Private Public
A wall without anything hanging on it is a chance for you to lean stuff against it. Rather than decorating the wall itself, a bookcase or set of shelves where you keep all your trophies, all your kids trophies, put up an indoor bicycle rack, or generally turn it into a functional spot for storing your goods.
Hang It Up
Along with using a blank wall as storage, you can put up coat and hat hooks where you keep your keys, winter clothes, paddleboard, or a chart of cooking spices. Get a map of your local city and start marking spots you want to remember for the next time an out of town visitor comes to call and you want to show them the sights. Put up the dossier and known associates of the one-armed man who killed your spouse, complete with random red yarn going all around it.
Laminate flooring can be your best friend if you’d like to add the look of wood without actually using any planks. Inexpensive, easy to install yourself, and capable of adding texture to a room, you can snap it together and mount it in an afternoon. It covers up sins, provides a place to hang other items, and warms up your space with a slight rustic quality that’s also smooth and contemporary.
Mix and Match
Naturally these ideas can be mixed together or put with whatever other notions you have. Don’t be bound to one idea, start slapping them together in a hodgepodge amalgamation until you have something you absolutely love.