One of the most common questions asked of me in my Instagram DMs is: “How do I style or decorate a blank wall?”
I have been to many homes where they leave their walls bare because they have no idea how to dress them up. While I do recommend a bit of white space to rest your eyes from too much visual clutter, having everything too white or empty can get boring. Or, even anxiety-inducing.
So I culled some of these ideas from our own portfolio (and some from Instagram!), hoping that you may find that #designpeg that sparks inspiration for you.
Below, great ideas on how you can decorate those blank walls so they reflect more of your own personal taste, style, and story.
The most obvious/common choice: Hang framed art or photos.
From collector’s art, black and white (or colored) photos to graphic posters and Etsy prints, framed art or pictures are the most common of wall décor.
Hang large frames on their own above a large piece of furniture (like a bed, sofa, or a credenza), or create a neat grid of frames on a short wall, like an entryway.
The dining room above already had lots of blues and whites, so we warmed things up with this beautiful Mother and Child painting by celebrated Filipino artist, Ang Kiukok.
For one of our very first eDesign projects, we had to source art that was easy on the pocket for our Berlin-based client. We recommended this cute panda art work from Etsy to hang over her Ikea shoe cabinet.
Right in front of the shoe cabinet was the entryway bench, which looked lonely next to a blank white wall. A round mirror above it and a potted plant made the bench feel more intentional.
Adjacent to the panda art was a short hallway with wide white walls. To make this rented space feel more homey to its occupants, we suggested their favorite black-and-white couple and family photos in store-bought frames with matting.
In this spacious master bedroom suite, my client had a “lounge” area where she and her family could veg out in front of the TV. She already had lots of framed family photos around the house, and wanted something different (but not too pricey) for this space. We settled on these inexpensive geometric prints from Our Home, which already came framed and ready to hang.
We took our cue from this pair of artworks by up and coming Filipino artist Jay Ragma for the monochromatic color palette on my client’s three-seater sofa from Pottery Barn.
Or why not go frameless with colorful, graphic posters?
If you prefer a more casual and fun vibe, frameless prints or posters can decorate any blank wall while adding a lot of charm and pizzazz to it.
The best part? You don’t need to drill or hammer nails onto your wall!
A friend of mine asked me what she could put on her freshly painted bedroom walls. Since she was a graphic designer and a had a passion for travelling, I suggested putting up posters of her favorite (or bucket-list) destinations. These vintage-style travel posters purchased and sourced from all over the internet added more than enough color to her wall.
Pile on the wall decals.
Wall decals are another interesting way to make your walls un-boring. And they’re not so expensive too! Lots of suppliers already offer different kinds of wall decals in the local market, but one of the first (and one of my go-to’s) is a boutique that’s based all the way from Canada: Urban Walls.
Nope, this isn’t a sponsored post! I just love their stuff so much, I willingly spend a bit more for shipping. I’ve also recommended them to some of my clients who are based in North America.
In this rectangular-shaped playroom, I wanted to create a focal wall on one end, where the bed was positioned. At a time when there weren’t a lot of wall decal suppliers here locally, I ordered these batman decals from Urban Walls.
We had an eDesign project for an Ontario-based client recently, where she wanted to add a bit more style and her online business branding in her home office. She mentioned that she normally changed her position whenever she’d do her frequent Zoom calls with clients and course students.
So we dressed up several of her walls with different elements, without making things feel too chaotic. One wall to the right of her window has her macrame wall decor, while the other wall has these handpainted-dots-style wall decals from Urban Walls.
On the wall opposite her desk, she has a small console table with a custom art print by Alikha.ph, and more wall decal dots from Urban Walls. The table lamp completes the warm and cozy vibe.
Below are a couple of the more distinct wall decals from my favorite decal store:
Put up wall shelves and decorate them with your favorite personal mementoes.
Shelves are a great way to decorate a blank wall, especially if you have lots of personal items you’d want to display. You can either use floating shelves (which you can buy at any home depot or department store), or have custom shelves with brackets made, to add to the decorative look.
One of my clients preferred to have her TV on top of the console, which made her high wall look rather empty. So I suggested these custom wood-plank shelves and had the wrought-iron brackets fabricated by Pampanga-based company, Artsteel.
Right next to my graphic-designer friends’ travel poster wall, she put up floating shelves and decorated it with tchotchkes that helped make the space feel even more personal and uniquely hers.
Cover that expanse up with wallpaper.
Paint is not the only option to make a wall feel less empty. Wallpaper does a great job of creating a focal point or adding visual interest, even without having to hang up anything else.
When I had my daughter, I knew off the bat that I didn’t want a nursery that was too saccharinely pink. I found this vertically printed botanical wallpaper from my favorite wallpaper go-to, Asia Walljoy, in a calming, unsaturated green and gray.
It created the perfect backdrop to these picture ledges I turned into display bookshelves. I love how the wallpaper made the low-ceilinged room look so much higher too.
In a home that already had a lot of framed art and photos on its walls, I wanted to make this short but uneventful hallway pack a visual punch. We used this textured, metallic, and geometric (so many things going on in there!) wallpaper from Wallcrown to dress up the blank walls. The print is already so visually compelling on its own, we didn’t need to put anything else on the walls.
Add texture through millwork (and mirrors!).
I’ll say it again: Sometimes, paint just ain’t enough.
Millwork is an awesome way of creating depth on an empty wall. This includes woodwork like moldings, trim, paneling, and crown molding.
In this dining room focal wall, the blue fell short of making an impact. Adding the slim-profiled millwork gave it more than enough texture and visual interest.
This client of mine wasn’t really into collecting art, but wanted their dining and living areas to exude an air of luxurious sophistication. I designed a more contemporary take on millwork with this grid of moldings on the wall, with each rectangle containing framed mirrors.
To mirror the dining room wall across it, I used the same style of millwork to frame the huge LED TV.
Hang something sculptural or three-dimensional.
Art need not be flat or two-dimensional. Sculptural or metal works can also be used to dress up those bare walls.
In this contemporary Asian entryway, we hung a hammered, metal leaf wall decor above the pair of Chinese armchairs and apothecary cabinet.
It was mirrored across by a large full-length mirror with a silver-leafed metal frame, creating the perfect spot to preen before heading out the door.
Clad it in a different (hard) material.
Now this idea may need a little professional help, but a unique way to dress up your blank walls is by cladding it in a hard material. Think wood, stone, brick.
Pinterest and Instagram offer up a lot of great ideas, but here are some from our portfolio.
In this small master bedroom, I wanted the wall above the bed to look completely different, but still maintain the restful, luxurious retreat my clients wanted for it.
So I specified mirrors to flank the tall upholstered headboard, and a wood-plank cladding above it in a herringbone pattern. The mirrors help create a very glossy but visually enlarging feel to the space, while the wood planks above it add a subtle textured effect.
Hang up beautiful household materials.
Sometimes, things you find around the house can be great decor pieces to decorate your blank walls with.
My client inherited an antique gold mirror from her mother, but it was too small to stand alone above the sofa. We purchased these decorative plates from Mav Furniture, which strengthened the living room’s contemporary and traditional mix.
I haven’t specified this trick (below) yet for any of my clients, but baskets and woven products—which are a-plenty in our country—are great wall décor too!
Did you find an idea to apply in your own home?
Post your newly decorated wall on Instagram and tag me! I can also help you be more intentional with your homestyling with time-tested tricks and techniques all design professionals—myself included—use. In fact, I’ve used them in almost all my portfolio pics on this page!
If you want to discuss what to do with the empty walls in your home, or perhaps any other design issue you’ve been struggling with, then let’s get on a call! You get 60 minutes with me on a Zoom or Google Meet call, and I’ll do my darndest best to answer all your design Q’s!
Get me on a video call with you for an entire 60 minutes, so we can discuss everything and anything home and decor-related for your space!