blank walls

I remember when we had our extension built (about 5 years ago now). We had invested heavily in a large add-on to the side of our house, that was going to be the ultimate in open plan family living. We had a large kitchen including an island, with stools for the children to sit on to work or colour whilst we cooked, a large dining table for big family gatherings, and a living area with squishy sofas for lounging and watching TV. 

Once the building work was done, we were delighted with the space. We had opted for plain white walls (more to do with our fear of colour than a positive choice- read about that here). The only problem was what to do with all of those blank walls. With metre upon metre of plain white space, I was pretty intimidated and I just didn't know how to fill it. 

Fast forward a few years and I have learned a thing or two about how to deal with this issue, but I remember well that feeling of overwhelm and paralysis. Today I share with you some top ways of making your blank walls more attractive.

1. Wallpaper

Nothing gives an instantaneous injection of colour and pattern to a room like wallpaper. Although a bit of a faff to install, a few rolls of wallpaper can completely transform a space. Wallpaper can be a tricky skill to get right, so if you're not very handy, consider getting a professional in to help. Wallpapering is not a job I take on lightly!

2. Wall stickers or decals

Images via Koko Kids and Babatude

A fantastic (and relatively inexpensive) way of adding some interest to blank walls, peelable wall stickers- or decals- are a great option. Not as permanent as wallpaper, this makes a safer choice than committing to a more permanent option. Wall stickers now come in all sorts of patterns and pictures, from the comical to the pretty. They are particularly good for the walls in children's rooms as you can change the stickers as the children grow and their developing tastes change.

3. Large artwork

 Image and artwork via  Atelier Lane  Image and artwork via Atelier Lane

A large piece of artwork acts as a focal point in a room, and can also give you inspiration for the start of a colour scheme too. This large piece of artwork above is grounded by the sofa underneath. On its own, it would look look lost, as though it were floating in mid air. You can achieve a similar grounded look by placing your artwork over a mantlepiece, console table or unit. 

4. Grid of pictures

 Image and Art via  Urban Road  Image and Art via Urban Road

A collection of artwork can look stunning when displayed well. In this example above, the art has been carefully selected to tell a consistent colour story across the whole display, which is echoed in the furniture and finishes in the room. This brings cohesion to the whole room, and makes it feel calm.

This asymmetrical display achieves balance because the large picture on the left is balanced by the collection of smaller pictures on the right. The visual balance is equal across the two vertical halves of the display. A staggered display like this works well, but a more uniform, symmetrical grid layout is also impactful too. 

5. Gallery Wall

 Image via  Norsu Interiors  Image via Norsu Interiors

Although very popular at the moment, gallery walls can be quite tricky to pull off. The key to getting it right is to use a consistent theme or colour palette throughout. Too many disparate elements and your walls starts to look like a crazy mess!

Either keep all of your frames and mount boards the same (or restricted to a small palette), or ensure that your pictures and accessories have something visually in common. In the example above, there is a consistent theme of matching wood tones, grey, white and a few splashes of red. This unifies the disparate items.

6. Mirrors

 Image via Smithers of Stamford Image via Smithers of Stamford

Mirrors are a fantastic addition to most spaces. As well as being an attractive feature in themselves, they also bounce light around the room, making your room feel lighter and more spacious. Make of feature of them by choosing decorative frames, or quirky designs like these lollipop mirrors above. 

7. Shelving

 Farringdon Wall Shelf by  Garden Trading  Farringdon Wall Shelf by Garden Trading

A well placed shelf can add interest to a blank wall. If you want to make a feature of the shelf itself, then choose brightly coloured shelving, or shelves in a contrasting colour to your walls. If you want the items you display on the shelves to be the star of the display, then paint your shelves the same colour as the walls so that they blend in. 

You can get shelving to match your style. Natural wood is good for country schemes, black or metallic work well in glam rooms, and metal shelves look great in an industrial or scandi room. 

8. Clocks

 Image via  Amorini Home  Image via Amorini Home

Having a clock in your room is a practical choice, but make a feature of a blank wall by creating a collection of clocks. Just like with a gallery wall, make sure that your clocks have something visually in common so that there is cohesion in the display. In the example above, black, white and grey are repeated across the display so that the individual clocks look as though they belong to the display. 

Although blank walls can be intimidating, with a little thought and preparation, you can create a stunning display, and give your room that 'finished' look.

Until next time x

  • Amit Bar says:

    I definitely have "THE FEAR" ! I love gallery walls, but as you wrote they can be quite tricky to pull off.

    • The Home Design School says:

      Ha- yes the fear is real! Watch this space, Amit. Post coming about how to create a gallery wall- very soon 🙂