Wall Décor Ideas that Aren’t Paintings or Photographs

Plain walls are the enemy of a cozy, creative and lived-in home, but it can be hard to find the right wall accents for your space that don’t cost thousands or betray your sense of style.

For many people, collecting original art and special photographs is a lifelong pursuit, so don’t feel bad if you don’t have a gallery’s worth of cherished artwork when you’re just getting started. There are other ways to dress up your walls in an affordable, intriguing and original way that don’t feel like a sacrifice!

If you’re struggling with empty wall syndrome but are bored with the typical framed photos and artwork, we’ve got some awesome suggestions for you. These ideas will help you look at your plain walls less as a stressful, nagging task on your to-do list and more as a blank canvas full of opportunity!

  1. High-Style Sconces—Have you seen some of the latest wall lights from top lighting designers? These exceptional wall accents function not only as pretty and intriguing works of art, but also as functional luminaires that help light the way. Wall lights can be used in a wide range of unique, decorative manners, from sconces flanking the bed in the bedroom for a super-luxurious feel to picture lights showcasing your special wall accents. Pick out restoration, vintage or glamorous sconces to pile on the personality.
  1. Hanging Wall Plants—There’s nothing quite like dressing up a room—especially one with plenty of natural light—with sweet, hanging plants. Vertical gardens are ideal for bringing some fresh, green life into a colorless environment, and they look fantastic when placed on white walls. The best part about this creative wall décor option is that you can do it yourself using reclaimed wood, vintage containers, old photo frames and whatever else you have lying around the house or find at the flea market.
  1. Illuminated Wall Signs—If your goal is to create a whimsical gallery wall with retro touches, don’t discount wall signs. You can make your own craft signs or pull from your local antique shop for old-fashioned accents that bring a vintage feel. Both original and reproduction signage can be used to add some color and texture to your walls, but the more pieces you have that tell a story, the better, so keep an eye out for authentics!
  1. Interesting-Looking Clocks—Like lights, wall clocks are simultaneously functional and fashionable, providing some old-school intrigue on your walls. Vintage or antique wall clocks are perfect for adding some interest in traditional, farmhouse, country and restoration design styles. They can be styled solo in the kitchen or home office or used to create a cluster motif that takes up an entire statement wall in the living room.

  1. Decorative Mirrors—One of the most underrated pieces of wall art, in our opinion, is the decorative mirror. These classic accents are traditionally placed in the foyer, above the fireplace or above a credenza to provide some style and dimension to otherwise blank walls. They come in a wide range of shapes and finishes, which means that they’re often the ideal solution for those stubborn walls where nothing seems to fit.
  1. Multidimensional Wall Sculptures—If it’s dimension you’re after and you feel that you can’t achieve that with traditional artwork, then keep your eye out for original wall sculptures. Like photos and paintings, wall sculptures can bring an abstract, high-art feel, but they pop right off the wall to add some extra excitement.
  1. Baskets in Various Shapes—If you love the natural, earthy look of handwoven baskets—especially decorative African styles like sweetgrass baskets, coil baskets and bowl baskets—then you might want to consider creating a basket gallery wall. We know that hanging these rustic containers on the wall seems a little bit old-school, but when they are clustered together in a carefully-placed sequence, they actually bring an eclectic, modern feel.
  1. Shelves with Special Trinkets—Never underestimate the power of some good shelving! If you have some interesting knickknacks or display books, then adding some shelves in unique shapes and configurations can really bring something different to your walls. Just make sure that you take a neat, calculated approach with your shelves, as you don’t want them to look messy or tossed together. Think of your shelves as showcases, featuring only your most display-worthy items!

  1. Grown-Up Tapestries or Textiles—When you think of tapestries, your mind probably automatically goes to fabric stapled into the wall á la your college dorm room. Thankfully, there are plenty of adult versions of the college tapestry, like elaborately woven kilim rugs, handmade macramé hangings and beautifully crafted quilts that tell a special or sentimental story. Wall textiles can bring in some warmth and texture in the bedroom or living room.
  1. Old and Reclaimed Windows—The next time you see a stack of old, abandoned windows at the antique store, think of how they could be styled on the wall to add some intrigue to your space. Especially ideal in vintage, restoration and farmhouse décor styles, antique windows and shutters add to the rustic feel of a space. With a good wipe-down and a fresh coat of paint, you’ll find that these windows bring something new and exciting to your room!


If you still haven’t found something that works for your vision, think about hanging 3D objects that have some sentimental value or add to your décor but might not be intended to hang on a wall. We’ve seen people mount everything from a tennis racket to a sailboat’s tiller for a cool, one-of-a-kind feel

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