Everyone loves windows — they give us some of life’s best artwork. From spring’s bounty of flora to winter’s white tapestries or a cityscape softly aglow on a warm summer night, the view is captivating.
But when we spend too much time gazing outward, we neglect what’s inside — like the wall opposite your window that’s startlingly blank. It’s time to come inside and take a look at the heart of your home. With a little décor 101, those windowless accent walls can become just as captivating as the view outside. Here’s how to transform a windowless wall:
Step 1: Choosing a Backdrop
Every wall needs a base. The single most important decision when creating a visually riveting accent wall, your base will determine the mood of the room based on its color, texture, finish and pattern.
Paint, Papers, Lacquers, and Texturizers
The most traditional means of decorating a wall, you have the power to decide: smooth or textured, shiny or matte, pink or blue, patterned or simple. Try color-blocking or stenciling to create a unique design or, for an unusual finish, reach for the likes of a shiny lacquer. A slightly reflective surface can help illuminate a room and give the illusion of depth. Or, take your favorite work of art and have it printed in mural format to fit the dimensions of your wall. Companies like Murals Your Way make this process easy.
Wood, Brick, Tile, and Fabric
Create a seamless transition into the outside world by integrating natural materials into your wall’s makeup. Wood paneling, brick or stone lining can bring unique patterns, colors and textures to a room.
Play with a uniform and irregular layout as well as uniform and irregular shading when you are contemplating the use of these materials. Cover the whole wall or create an appealing section. In addition to serving a design purpose, the sparing use of such materials can add depth. Take inspiration from other rooms in the house like your kitchen or bedroom. Bring tiles to your wall in a manner similar to a kitchen backsplash or create a cozy retreat by draping a wall in rich fabric with ripples and folds or taut fabric panels.
Step 2: Choosing Additional Decor
Now that you’ve chosen your base, consider what’s lacking. If you’re going for a bold or busy base, perhaps you don’t need much or anything in the realm of hanging wall décor. It’s important that you know when to stop. Too much activity can be displeasing to the eye and undermine your efforts to make specific elements visually interesting. However, if you’re going to choose a classic or simplistic design, you may rely on accent pieces to create your visual appeal.
Shelving and Depth
If you’ve got odds and ends that don’t mount on a wall, shelving is a great way to showcase them. Odd-shaped pieces can provide curvature and/or sharpness to a room, while the shelving itself can also lend depth and create shadows. Deep wall mounts like thick canvas can also create this effect. Shadows will play out differently throughout the course of the day, so make sure you play with this strategy before you implement it.
Many people choose to mount photos or artwork on their walls. There are a number of ways this can be done to create visually stimulating results. One option is to go frameless. Clean and modern, this helps achieve a casual feel.
For framed options, consider the following: Take artwork of different sizes and shapes and put them in the same kind of frame. Despite the disparity between sizes, the frame uniformity will pull the images together. On the other hand, go for different frame styles, finishes and colors to create a controlled-chaos effect amongst the work you choose to showcase. Try arranging artwork on the wall in a pattern for a doubled-layered artistic effect or go the Andy Warhol route and mount the same photo in a grid-like pattern.
Step 3: Utilizing Wall-Based Furniture
Many walls house furniture. If you know your dresser will be permanently placed up against the wall, design around or above said piece. Other pieces like a large bookcase can actually serve as the wall’s design. (Hint: group books by color for additional appeal!)
However, whatever you choose to put up against your wall needs to enhance or continue your design scheme. Look for similar edges or colors in your furniture as in your wall mounts. Your furniture should bear some characteristic that enables it to tie in to your design. If not, go for minimalist furniture like a thin glass desk that allows you to see your wall without much interference.
What kinds of visuals do you want to be captivated by? Stepping away from the window gives you total design control. Put your perspective on the wall to truly love the space you live in.
Ashley Steel is a former SEO analyst for Builders Digital Experience (BDX).
She was previously a staff writer and editor for New Home Source, where she wrote about a variety of topics, from helping Realtors understand how to assist clients in choosing new home options to helping consumers find home design inspiration in a variety of places including a chic industrial-style bar to chicken coops.
Steel is a 2013 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a double major in Latin American Studies and Spanish. Previous to joining BDX, she worked with Latinitas, a nonprofit group that aims to encourage Latino youth to explore the fields of media and technology.