12 Brilliant Ways to Decorate a Blank Wall

An empty wall is like a crisp, white canvas—it's filled with possibilities.

DIY framed scarves
Photo: Aaron Dyer

If you have a blank, open wall in your home, you might often pass it with a frown—that's a whole lot of negative space that might not be intuitive to fill. While working with this type of a blank canvas can be challenging, see it for the opportunity that it is: a chance to display a carefully curated collection, a prized blanket, or a series of family photos that are as precious as heirloom jewelry. Inspiration is all around you—so let us help you fill the void.

Frame and Hang Scarves

Scarves may not be the easiest accessory to pull off, but as graphic visuals in the home, they're a no-brainer. Whatever style you love—Liberty prints; iconic Hermès designers; or retro, like these midcentury ones by Vera Neumann—simply frame and hang them individually or grouped by color or pattern (three behind a sofa looks nice).

Then, switch scarves with the seasons, or whenever you want to refresh your walls. Iron your scarves before framing them, and leave a 2-or 3-inch border around them for an artful mat effect.

oversized quilt framed on wall
Sidney Bensimon

Hang a Quilt

You were an ace at tacking up posters back in college, but figuring out how to frame oversize finds so they're worthy of a whole wall in your home seems to require a Ph.D. in museum studies. Well Made Gallery Stiicks solve that problem. The magnetic wood strips are gentle enough to clasp that vintage Berber wedding blanket you snagged in Morocco, come in lengths up to 72 inches, and look so neutral, they won't detract from showpieces—like this handmade quilt. Consider them shortcuts to an A+ in decorating.

Seth Smoot

Showcase a Favorite Collection

Every detail matters in the grand scheme of your design. Similarly, a collection is only made impressive from the individual items you've curated. Your collections shouldn't be preserved in glass, left idle on the shelves, collecting dust. They deserve to be out on display proudly. Here, we forgo the standard all-mounted cabinet display and erect them on the wall directly. For a modern look that keeps them from looking too stale, mix, don't match. Keep within the colors of a loose palette and a symmetrical arrangement.


Fish Plates

We're hooked onto this idea. Here, a set of well-preserved fish plates is mounted against an oceanic backdrop of cool-colored tiles. They are grouped by color and streamlined into a cascading flow—just like a school of fish swimming in unison underwater. And while it certainly makes a statement, it fits naturally together into the nautical theme of the room overall.


Look to Nature

Why not take a decorative cue from Mother Nature? This textured wall mosaic is made from birch poles that are sliced into disks and glued to plywood panels. Longer pieces that are strategically placed can be used as hooks for bags and artwork.


Hang Plants on Brackets

Looking for something brighter and sunnier? These houseplants brighten up an unused wall space when prominently placed atop bright yellow brackets. This works best in a room that gets a lot of natural light.


Enhance Your Productivity

Décor isn't simply decorative. It can be functional, too. In this office, the wall was transformed into a giant-size family planner using a coat of chalkboard paint. With this, you can see all of your commitments for weeks to come—and tackle everything on your to-do list.


Clock Stencil

Additionally, you'll never be late again with this stenciled clock. Center it so that it's unobstructed from a long-range view. Ours is modeled after the ornate face of an 18th-century case clock.


Display Family Photos

What better way to make use of the walls in your home than to celebrate the loved ones who fill it? In this setting, a set of family photographs are unified with identical black frames. The arrangement trick further elongates the length of the wall: Mark a horizontal midline on the wall, and hang all of the pictures above or below it.


Family Tree Silhouettes

Or take a more artistic approach: In this project, the family tree is re-imaginged in a graphic display that includes a crisp silhouette of each member.


Frame Photos With Colorful Mats

A bright pop of color can turn a humdrum home into one with personality. Here, a rainbow of framed mats prominently display a set of black-and-white prints. They are centered symmetrically around a wall sconce, incorporating existing elements of the space into the enlivened design.

Seth Smoot

Turn Fabric Swatches Into Art

If you have a few extra swatches of fabric, you can create a display in a matter of minutes. Here, wooden artist's panels (typically used to mount paintings) are wrapped in fabric. Play with different color palettes, textures, and prints to find a complementary design.

Feeling inspired? Watch how to paint a "birds of a feather" family tree on your wall:

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