How to Decorate Any Wall in Under an Hour
Hang a Large Painting or Photograph
One of the quickest ways to decorate a wall is to use a large piece of art as the wall’s solitary focal point. The piece doesn’t need to entirely cover the wall, but it should use the empty space around itself strategically. Choose a photograph or painting that is roughly the same shape as the wall you’re decorating; then center it horizontally on the wall. If you’re hanging the piece above a couch or some furniture, center the piece within the visual space.
Wall art should typically be hung at eye level. If the piece you’re hanging isn’t the same shape as your wall or you think it needs a little more or a little less blank space above it, trust your eye and vertically reposition the piece. However, a solitary decor accent generally looks best with a balanced amount of blank space on its right and left sides, so it is not recommended to offset a piece horizontally.
Create an Eclectic Gallery
If you like the idea of hanging wall art but want to decorate with more than one piece, turn your wall into an eclectic gallery. Start by centering whichever painting or photograph is largest. Then build the gallery outward around it for a sense of visual balance. Alternatively, some home galleries feature small centerpieces with larger art hung around them for a dramatic look. You can also ignore centering completely and arrange your artwork in a unique way that feels right to you.
Whichever way you arrange the gallery, you should hang every piece equidistant from its neighbors. There is no “correct” measurement for gaps between pieces, but they should all be equal. For example, if two pieces have one inch of blank wall between them, try to keep this space consistent between all the pieces to make your gallery look orderly.
Hang a Spacious Mirror
Large mirrors, like large wall art, make great focal points and are perfect for quick decorating jobs. Additionally, the rules for decorating with a mirror are similar to the rules for decorating with a single piece of wall art. It is typically best to center the mirror in your visual space, making small vertical adjustments for personal preference. Mirrors are particularly good for walls in small homes or apartments because they add depth and make a tiny room feel less cramped.
One key difference between mirrors and wall art is their variety of shapes. Paintings and photographs are typically either square or rectangular, but mirrors are more diverse. They can be shaped like ovals, circles, and entirely unique shapes, in addition to squares and rectangles. These mirrors don’t have their own rules, though, and usually look best when centered on a wall to balance empty space.
Hang Decorative Accessories
Big clocks, inspirational decals, and stylish sculptures can all be used as focal points on your wall and hanging them usually takes thirty minutes or less, depending on their size. Smaller accessories like compact woodcarvings and framed photographs can also be used to accent these large focal points, filling in the blank space around them. When arranging these accessories, center the largest one on your wall and hang the smaller accessories around it like a frame to give the arrangement a clean look.
These arrangements can be diverse gatherings of mixed accessories, or they can follow a cohesive theme like music, nature, a beloved sports team, or a country you’ve visited. Find some accessories that feel like they belong together, and then arrange them on pegs or floating shelves for quick but stylish wall decor.
Put up Ready-to-Use Wallpaper
Whether you use it throughout an entire room or simply on an accent wall, wallpaper can quickly transform a blank exterior into a colorful display. Some wallpaper is delivered ready-to-hang with adhesive paste already applied to its underside. This wallpaper can cover a wall in under an hour depending on the wall’s size. Other options need to have adhesive added, so it takes a little more time to hang them, but they are more resistant to peeling.
Because wallpaper features repetitive patterns, it’s important to find a pattern you love enough to look at often. Patterns that match your furniture usually work best. If your furniture reflects mid-century style, for example, choose wallpaper with a bold, saturated pattern. To match traditional furnishings, get wallpaper with a more subdued floral motif. No matter what your furniture looks like, you can always find wallpaper to match.
Display Cute Knickknacks on Floating Shelves
Hanging floating shelves is an easy way to add visual interest to a wall, especially in smaller bedrooms and living rooms. Due to their low profile, they can fill in small spaces that need a touch of personality without looking overly large or busy. Plus, floating shelves are well suited to displaying knickknacks, candles, photos, and mini house plants, all of which bring a bit more “you” into a room.
If you’re setting up a single floating shelf, center it above a prominent piece of furniture — such as a dresser, desk, or credenza — to create a sense of symmetry on your wall. With two or more floating shelves of identical length, space them at even intervals vertically to give your bare wall the illusion of added height. And if hanging multiple shelves of varying sizes, go for a staggered approach to give your wall some whimsy. When staggering, aim to create a sense of balance. One large shelf to one side and two smaller shelves to the other will prevent your floating decor from looking lopsided.
Line the Wall with Plants
Greenery can round out any space and make it feel alive, so decorating with an assortment of houseplants is a great way to quickly spruce up an empty wall. You can dress a wall with houseplants in one of three ways. First, you can install floating shelves or cubbies on the wall and use them to display terrariums and potted plants. Second, you can suspend hanging plants from the ceiling along the wall. If neither of these techniques work for you, choose tall floor plants that reach up into the empty space and fill it with refreshing color.
These methods often work well together and can accent other methods. For example, a matching floor plant on either side of a mirror, TV, or painting can ground the look and add color. If you have tried one of the other decorating techniques, but your wall still feels a little empty, try adding one or two houseplants to the arrangement to see if it feels more complete.
Place Furniture Against the Wall
Fashionable furniture can instantly upgrade an unused wall and turn it into a practical space for storage or entertainment. Most furniture sold online is designed for quick assembly, so updating a blank wall with new furniture never takes too long. You’ll be done even quicker if you already have some furniture and a friend to help you move it. Choose furnishings that match the purpose of whatever room the wall is in. Your living room, for example, might need a sofa or an entertainment center, while a wall in your kitchen would be a better place for a cabinet.
Keep in mind that low-profile furnishings like couches and desks often need additional decorations to fill a wall. Taller pieces, like bookshelves, can sometimes do the job on their own, but a little extra decor never hurts. Mix and match your new furniture with art, houseplants, wallpaper, or any of the other accessories on this list to quickly design the perfect wall for your home.
Need more decorating inspiration? We’ve got you covered. Check out How to Decorate Your Living Room for five easy tricks to transform your den or family room.