How to decorate a large blank wall, according to a designer

How to decorate a large blank wall, according to a designer

Whether you’ve recently purchased a home, signed a lease, or simply want to remodel, one of the most impactful ways to add character and warmth to your space is what you put on your walls. This is especially true when you want to decorate a large, empty wall that anchors the room.


Would you pick up antique art from a flea market? Family heirloom professionally framed? Whether you love wallpaper, feature walls, or gallery walls, the options for filling a large wall in your home are endless. To help us narrow down the choices, New Orleans-based interior designer Johnice Katz shared five things to consider when working with a large empty space.




Keep your budget in mind

“When I approach a large wall, the first thing I like to talk about with the client is budget,” Katz says. The cost of professionally framed artwork can add up quickly, and purchasing a large piece may seem like a strain on the financial standards you’ve set for yourself. In this case, Katz recommends using a few small, meaningful pieces to mimic the size of a larger piece, since “almost everyone” has something sentimental they’d like to display. It’s okay to keep it small and simple – the most important thing is to respect any budget guidelines you need to work within.



Separate it from existing furniture

One mistake people often make is “assuming they need to use an entire wall as one large, continuous space decorated as one image,” Katz says. Instead of trying to treat an intimidating blank wall as a single design feature, incorporate the furniture you already have into your overall aesthetic. “One long wall could have a media area on one side and a small office space on the other,” she says. Using rugs can also help define one space from another and help make things feel more intimate. “This way there is less need for a lot of space – the art of coordination.”



Build a gallery wall

Gallery walls have been popular for a while, and for good reason. It’s a great way to showcase the personality of the people staying in the house. They may display a mix of eclectic artwork, traditional pieces, or family memories. No matter what you put together, a gallery wall adds an exclamation point of style to a home and a great way to style up an empty space.


If you’re designing a large wall, Katz recommends starting in the middle and building your way out. On the stairs or hallway, work from one end to the other. “Few people have 40 pieces of art ready for a gallery wall, so mix in sculptural pieces, sconces, wall hangings, or decor that isn’t the usual flat, framed piece,” she says.





Avoid easy purchases

When designing something that is likely to be a major visual draw, it’s important to think carefully about what you’re displaying. Although it’s tempting to put everything you have around you just to check a box on a project, the overall style of your home will benefit from a little patience. “Assembling takes time, and watching a space grow and change is part of the fun,” Katz says. Public Enemy No. 1 on her list of visual offenders? “Digital printed art on stretched canvas,” she says. So, skip the impulse purchase and choose something that may take waiting or saving, but will bring you feelings of happiness in the end.



Go for the bold

Whether it’s painted, covered in paper, or decorated with art, don’t just dip your toe in the middle. A large wall is your chance to make a statement. Make a statement with a group of small frames, a large, bold piece (properly lit with great artistic light, of course), or a few vignettes. “Get rid of the fear of being ‘too much,’” Katz advises. “It’s almost impossible.”

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