Think outside the picture frame.
Blank walls can be daunting. Unless you’re a hyper minimalist who prefers the bare look, empty wall space can feel like a big, flashing light that reads “unfinished.” Adorning the walls with art and decor is often the final puzzle piece that can make a space really feel like home, but it can be tricky to strike a balance between simply filling up the walls and actually making the decor look intentional. While we love a gallery wall, it’s not always the right choice for every space—and sometimes it takes getting creative to find the solution that truly fits your home and personality. Below, we rounded up 8 wall decor ideas that will have you considering new decorating possibilities (and looking at some of your household items in a new light).
Hang Some Ceramics
New York City-based ceramicist Shira Berg (who created the ceramic art pieces pictured above) is a big believer in three-dimensional wall art. “Wall-hang installations add dimension, texture, and pieces that quite literally pop off the wall,” she says. “They add literal and metaphorical depth to the space.” Berg says she abides by a rule of threes to keep her wall decor interesting. “For every three pieces of flat artwork—paintings, photography, etc.—I have a three-dimensional piece or something that has texture,” she says. Whether hanging a small sculpture intended for wall decor or refashioning a decorative plate as wall art, ceramics can add an unexpected element to an otherwise flat wall.
Use a Scenic Wallpaper
Wallpaper is a quick and reliable way to completely transform your walls—and scenic wallpaper can transport you to a different landscape entirely. Whether you opt for a painterly design or a whimsical storybook style, scenic wallpaper can stand alone, eliminating the need to add any other decor on that wall. It can also help breathe more life into a space that’s lacking windows or elements of nature.
While wall decor is often added to complement the existing design and style of a room, scenic wallpaper can be used in reverse. If you’re furnishing a room from scratch, for example, you can choose a bold, mural-like wallpaper as a starting point, and design the rest of the room around it.
Frame Something Unexpected
You’d be amazed at what can become art just by simply putting it in a frame and hanging it on your wall. One of our favorite examples is this framed vintage swimsuit that DIY content creator Ashley Poskin has hanging in her wallpapered bathroom. The retro swimsuit serves as a marker of a moment in time, helping to complete the story of her 1960s-inspired interior design style. To conceptualize more unique items you could repurpose as wall art, head to your local antiques shop and sift through the kitchen section. When hung on the walls, brass cooking utensils or an enamel colander can create a rustic, country kitchen look.
Combine Storage and Decor
One effective and functional way to fill up your empty wall space is by hanging shelving. Not only can this break up negative space on your walls, but it can also offer you a lot more room to store and display your items. Opt for a shelving unit that fits your interior design style to turn your storage into an extension of your decor. For example, this wooden shelving unit from West Elm fits in perfectly among mid-century modern-inspired design.
Use Large Wall Mirrors
Mirrors can do a lot for your interiors. They can bounce light across the room, make the space look bigger, and take the place of wall art. A large, decorative mirror can set the tone for an entire room. Another option? Instead of a traditional gallery wall with framed artwork, swap in an eclectic mix of vintage mirrors for a charm-filled wall display.
Add Sculptural Lighting
Lighting can (and should) be considered as art. While primary lighting sources in the home serve more of a functional purpose, wall lamps and sconces are just as much about adding to the decor of a space as they are about lighting up a room. Modern, sculptural lighting is a great substitute for a framed art piece on any wall. The recent VARMBLIXT collection from IKEA, filled with statement lighting by Dutch-New Zealand designer Sabine Marcelis, makes a perfect case for why we should start looking at the lighting through the lens of art.
Opt for Large-Scale Art
Instead of trying to curate the perfect collection of wall art to fill up a wall, invest your time (and money) into finding a large-scale art piece that can stand alone. Sometimes, a singular art piece that ties the room together can make a much bigger statement than multiple artworks combined.
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