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6 stylish and surprising ways to decorate a blank wall

By Rachel Wallace
When it comes to the ideal canvas to showcase your individual style, look no further than a perfectly blank wall. From a salon-style display of art to a fabulous feature wallpaper, the sky – or in this case, the ceiling – truly is the limit for customising bare walls.

With that in mind, here are six surprisingly easy ways to deliver transformative drama, personality and style to a home, proving an empty wall can become anything you want it to be.

Find strength in numbers

Experiment with groupings of art, photos or postcards of varying shapes, sizes and subject matter. Styling by Simone Haag. Photo: Derek Swalwell

A decorating tool around the globe for centuries, a salon or gallery-style hang is ever enchanting. Experiment with groupings of art, photos or postcards of varying shapes, sizes, eras and subject matter. You may choose to link the pieces in some way – or perhaps not at all.

As MARG. Studio owner, interior designer Emily MacAlpine, who runs The Art Buyer’s Course, says: “A mini gallery wall that has a mix of art, photos and other found treasures is a great way to inject personality into your home and will spark interest for anyone who views it.” But remember this, advises MacAlpine: “Whatever arrangement you arrive at, the cluster of works should be hung at eye level – approximately 1.5 metres from the floor. “Also, consider which wall you choose,” she adds. “The best options can be seen from another room, as it draws you into the space and therefore connects those rooms better. Landings of stairs are great for maximum viewing.”

Create a 2D scene

Get creative and brighten a bare wall by drawing and painting your own design. Mural by David Cragg. Photo: Rochelle Eagle

If personal creativity is your forte, consider drawing, painting or stencilling a design directly onto a bare wall. “The possibilities here are endless,” says MacAlpine. “I would encourage you to do some research and draw up a rough plan of what you’re after, as the scale of a wall is something most of us haven’t painted on before. Alternatively, there are some great mural artists out there who would be only too happy to chat about commissioning something special.”

Discover the wonder of wallpaper

Wallpaper has had a modern update. Interior design: Claudia Stephenson Photo: Hannah Blackmore

Style experts have long agreed that a swathe of tactile wallpaper creates instant wow factor.

As Sydney interior designer Kate Hardy of Cloth + Stone Designs says: “Highlighting a particular wall with a beautiful coloured, patterned or textural wallpaper can add impact and interest to any room.” But where to begin when not only searching for the wallpaper of your interior dreams but deciding on its destination?

“We encourage clients to draw on their personal style and taste and to be a bit bold and creative,” says Hardy. “A small space like a powder room is the perfect place for wallpaper, as is behind the bed or around a fireplace – it emphasises that focal point in the chosen space.”

Showcase your shelving

Open shelves are a practical storage solution and a place to showcase your favourite pieces. Styling by Simone Haag. Photo: Derek Swalwell

Far more than just utilitarian storage units, open shelving provides the ideal stage for a curated display of everything from photos to glassware, books, children’s artworks and other collectibles. Best of all, a wall of objects can be a simple and effective way to allow your personality to shine through – proof that practicality can indeed be beautiful.

As Hardy says: “Fill an alcove or empty wall with custom-made shelving, providing practical storage options and a place to arrange and showcase your favourite and most beautiful pieces, as well as bringing warmth and character to your space.”

Make a photo wall

Add visual interest to a room by creating a photo wall. Photo: Stocksy

Nothing tells a story like a photo – or, better still, a collection of photos. Frame and hang treasured snaps, or order and wall-mount them as canvas prints for a more streamlined effect.

As Hardy says: “It’s a simple and personal way to add visual interest to a room.” Remember, too, that there are no rules. You may select frames that complement the rest of your interior – or choose to embrace the timeless magic of monochrome.

“A uniform display of large black and white photos in white frames can have a bold and eye-catching effect,” Hardy says, adding: “Or you can have fun with a mix of different-sized photos in a variety of frames for a relaxed and effortlessly chic display.”

Go live – with plants

Nurture your green thumb by adorning a shelf with potted plant life. Photo: Vaida Savickaite

Literally, bring a blank wall – and indeed an entire room – to verdant life with botanical beauty. Discover or nurture your green thumb by adorning a shelf – or several – with potted plant life. But always take time to research which plants will thrive in your designated setting.


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