If you're wondering whether you should decorate every wall in each room, the simple answer is that when it comes to hanging pictures and art, no, you don't need to fill every wall space with pictures. Empty wall space actually enhances your decor and can be a crucial design element in many cases. These wall decorating tips will help you know when you should and shouldn't decorate every wall in the room and how you can design your interior walls like a professional.
Knowing How Many Walls in a Room Should Be Decorated
There are very few instances when you need to place a picture or art on every wall in your home. The art of deciding what should go on the wall involves considering other décor elements.
- A picture or art should add depth and warmth to your design. There should always be a purpose to hanging wall decor.
- A picture should be an intricate design element to your overall décor.
- A lifeless wall can become dynamic with the right art, pictures, and arrangements.
- Pictures can reinforce a formal or casual room design. When you hang decor with purpose, full and empty walls seem to fit together perfectly.
Furnishings and Pictures Complement Each Other
The pictures you add should blend in and feel like a natural part of your home and decor. Furniture pieces create natural breaks in a wall and present empty wall spaces that may be ideal for art. Examine the shapes and patterns that the furnishings create around the empty wall space. Decide whether the space should be filled or if it would be better left empty.
Examples of furnishings breaking up wall space include:
- Tall floor lamps in front of a wall become part of the overall wall design by virtue of shape, size, and height. The tall lamps will frame the empty space beside it, so you don't need a picture or art here.
- Sideboards or console tables that support table lamps, plants, and other objects will break up the wall space, leaving empty space that can be filled with one or more pictures or pieces of art.
- Bookcases can define wall space available for using pictures, such as above the bookcase or beside it.
- A reading corner with a side table, lamp, and chair is ideal for pictures on the wall behind the chair and/or the table to add depth and warmth to the vignette.
Consider the furniture and any architectural features on adjacent walls and how these break up wall space. Often, you'll want to skip adding a picture or art on the adjacent walls. For example, you may decide a full wall shelf filled with decorative objects is all the design element you want for an adjacent wall. Or you might leave the wall space empty on either side of a door so the wall color becomes a more prominent part of your design, giving the room a crisp and uncluttered look.
Window and Door Walls
Window and door walls can offer interesting picture opportunities.
- You can use the wall between two windows that are set at least two or more feet apart for displaying pictures.
- An empty corner wall framed by a window and an adjacent wall presents a good area for a picture or two.
- The wall space above the door of a room with a vaulted ceiling can be a great location for an oversized vertical picture.
- A wall with a centered window can feature one or more pictures on each side.
Room-by-Room Guide to Decorating Walls
Before you hang pictures or art, consider the room layout and the ratio of exposed wall space. Architectural features can limit or present opportunities for creative displays of art, frames, and other wall decor.
- If you wish to create a symmetrical design using pictures, then arrange pictures in a balanced way. For example, you might have four pictures the same size, stacked in two rows with two per row, evenly spaced apart.
- If your style is less formal, you can create asymmetrical designs that are staggered or appear to have a random pattern. A grouping of photos in various sizes and shapes creates a unique and interesting design choice.
- Determine if the pictures you want to use are the appropriate sizes for the space. Consider how the scale of a frame relates to neighboring furniture. A small frame above a large sofa or an oversized frame behind an end table will feel off balance.
Foyers and Back Entrances
Most foyers are small compared to the rest of the home, accommodating only a few decorative details and one or two accent furniture pieces. For this reason, it's often best to only decorate one wall of an entrance area.
- The space above an accent chair can comfortably display a frame or art piece.
- The wall opposite a console table can display a large picture or grouping.
- You can brighten backdoor entrances or mud rooms with a picture on the wall by the door or adjacent walls.
- An empty wall leading into the kitchen or den might be ideal for a gallery wall or row of pictures.
- A collection of frames or a set of floating shelves might complement a short mudroom bench.
- A large picture on the longer wall centered above a console table gives the illusion of a shorter wall span.
A staircase is an opportunity to get creative with wall decor and transform a standard wall into a true art display.
- Pictures on the wall running along the staircase incline feel like an elegant art gallery as you ascend the steps.
- The main floor leading up to a staircase might accommodate a small shelf or a decorative mirror.
- The landing is your opportunity to be bold with an oversized art piece or a striking gallery wall.
Once you have the large furniture pieces placed in your living room, stand back and asses the wall space. This blank canvas is your opportunity to elevate the style of the room and add personal flair to the space.
- If your TV rests on a stand or is wall-mounted with wall space around it, add a few pictures to thoughtfully frame it in. To add pictures, treat the TV shape as you would any other picture and design around it.
- Pictures can be used above or to the sides of the TV.
- If you have a large entertainment center with additional decorative items along the top and sides, you may want to leave what remains of the wall empty.
- Pictures above an entertainment center or bookcase but should not extend past the width of furniture.
- For very tall furniture, use the empty wall space on either side rather than hanging pictures above the furniture.
- Give the space above or around your fireplace a stunning focal point with a collection of photos or a large framed art piece.
- Break up the long look of a sectional with pictures on the wall space above the furniture piece. Create a symmetrical gallery wall, hang a singular accent decor item, or create a collection of various frames.
- If your couch rests underneath a pair of large windows, you may decide to use the wall space between the windows, but leaving this space empty is a wise choice as well.
- For couches flanked by end tables, add lamps to create height or photos just above the tables for a clever decor display.
The dining room offers several possibilities for placing pictures. Keep in mind the furniture on each wall and how it relates to the empty walls and the surrounding space.
- If your dining room has wallpaper, carefully consider the scale of the print. For busy wallpapers, you can skip additional decor. You could, however, include a practical floating shelf or wall sconces.
- You may decide a few more pictures would look good on the adjacent walls, so go for oversized pictures to balance the accent wall.
- A collection of frames over a sideboard looks elegant and high-end.
- If your dining room has a large span of windows, highlight this with decorative window treatments and save wall decor for adjacent walls.
Kitchen and Breakfast Nook
Kitchen walls are typically covered with cabinets and pantry doors. The key to adding pictures here is choosing appropriate picture sizes for exposed wall space.
- The wall space between doors is often narrow, but the right frames can transform your kitchen with interest and depth.
- If you have a decorative backsplash, this may be all you need to let your kitchen walls shine.
- If the kitchen cabinets aren't flush with the ceiling, you can add pictures above the cabinets.
- If your refrigerator doesn't have an overhead cabinet, make a design statement here with a stylish frame, sign, or art piece.
- An empty breakfast nook wall can be a mix of shelving, objects, and pictures.
- A bay window may have additional wall space either above or on either side for pictures.
- Walls spaces between doors leading in and out of the kitchen or breakfast nook are sometimes candidates for pictures.
Hallways are an opportunity to display some of your favorite art collections or most beloved family photos. Use this long space of wall to bring personality and style to an otherwise neglected area of your home.
- Use the whole wall for a gallery wall by creating a collage of well-placed pictures of varying sizes and shapes.
- Install a chair rail to define the wall space for your pictures. Place pictures above the railing in a row or a grouping centered on the wall.
- Small halls broken up by many doorways can host smaller pictures in the spaces between doorways. Choose one or two for a focal point here so the space isn't overwhelming.
The two most common places for pictures in a bedroom are above the headboard and over the night stands. Use theses spaces wisely for a curated look.
- When placing a picture or pair of pictures above nightstands, don't hang them higher than the headboard's height for a professional look.
- A dresser with a smaller mirror centered over it can be decorated with pictures on either side of the mirror as long as you don't extend the decor past the width of the dresser.
- A primary bedroom corner area is given depth and warmth with pictures, a floor lamp, and a comfy chair.
Wall space in bathrooms might feel tricky at first, but making the best use of your wall space just requires a simple assessment of the room.
- The wall above the toilet is a good place for a long vertical picture or stacked smaller pictures. You might also use this space for practical shelving.
- Pictures on the wall opposite a bath mirror doubles your picture power while balancing the space.
- Pictures can be placed between a window and a corner shower or tub.
- If you have a double sink with a mirror over each sink, use the space between the mirrors to hang small wall decor or photos.
An accent wall already makes a big statement in a room, especially if it has a distinct pattern. Carefully consider whether additional decor would add to or distract from the existing aesthetic of the accent wall.
- Break up the accent wall with one large picture or a streamlined gallery wall.
- When designing a collection of decor or frames, avoid creating a competing pattern with too many sizes of frames.
- Adjacent walls can be left bare or sparsely decorated to draw attention to the accent wall.
Wall Decorating Is an Artform
Decorating the walls of your home is so much more than just covering every inch of space with decor. Much like an art piece, the blank canvas can be just as impactful as the colors and textures in the scene. Give your home a thoughtful wall decor plan that enhances the architecture and draws attention to your personal style. Chooses wall decor pieces that you truly love and that add value to your home. The key to a professionally decorated wall is knowing when to add more and when to walk away.