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9 Hassle-Free Ways to Liven Up Walls
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9 Hassle-Free Ways to Liven Up Walls

If you're tired of staring at your plain walls, but don't want to hassle with painting or wallpapering, there are many other ways to make them inviting. Shop at flea markets, hunt around your own home or transform store-bought items to create unique wall decor. Be sure to use things that speak to you since you're the one that will see it every day. Start by creating one main focal point, says Courtney Lake, the creator of the home decor blog, Courtney Out Loud. "A focal point will draw the eye to it, giving the illusion that a space is larger than it is," Lake says.

Nothing changes the look of a blank wall more than artwork, according to Lake. Find prints of your favorite paintings or shop for an original piece from a local artist. Consider tapping into your creative side, and make your own wall art. If you collect fortune cookies, use them to make a special collage, or take all those seashells you picked from your beach vacation to build an original wind chime.

If you're on a tight budget, consider rooting through your kitchen to find interesting pieces. Many people are sitting on a treasure trove of beautiful wall hangings in their pantries in the form of plates and platters. You can easily hang your favorite special occasion china on a wall using a wire plate hanger. "When company comes, simply pull down the platter, and it's ready to go," Lake says. Using plates on your walls also has the added benefit of freeing up cabinet space, he adds.

Stickers and Wall Decals
Wall decals are specially-designed stickers for walls and are a great inexpensive and non-permanent way to liven a wall, Lake says. Stickers can be small or span the entire height of a wall and there are thousands of options to choose from. "I used them in my small half-bath and they provide big impact for pennies," Lake says.

Never underestimate the appeal of uniquely framed photographs. Pick frame colors and textures you like, and don't be afraid to mix and match designs. If you can't find the right frames, paint plain ones with bright colors or designs. Play with tones: If you have a favorite photograph, use photo editing software and print it in color, black and white and sepia. You can also make photo collages, photo mobiles, or place pictures in a shadow box that you can hang on a wall.

Your old license plates, the street signs that you've somehow acquired or old vintage signs are unique pieces for a blank wall. Signs are also perfect over a doorway, or as a complement to framed artwork. The top ledge of a framed piece is the perfect spot to rest a lightweight sign.

Take a page from Dr. Seuss and use what you'd normally have on the floor on your wall, Lake suggests. He loves using kilim rugs, a type of Persian tapestry-woven carpet, and hanging them over curtain rods to decorate a wall. "It's large in scale and big on impact," Lake says. There are many affordable rugs to choose from, and when you are tired of them on your wall, throw them on the floor.

Shelves or wall ledges are an attractive and useful way to decorate a wall. Many are easy to install and are sturdy enough to fill with books or heavy knick-knacks. When using shelving, take some time to sketch out how you want your final wall to appear, as you don't want it to look unbalanced. Remember to step back every so often as you are hanging to make sure everything is composed well.

Removable Wallpaper
Similar to wall stickers, removable adhesive wallpaper tiles are an inexpensive and non-permanent way to make a wall appear professionally finished. You can choose from hundreds of designs and they're ideal for small spaces or for those that don't want to be married to a specific print. "I'm currently obsessed with them," Lake says. "They are an interesting take on wallpaper." An added benefit is that installation mistakes are easily fixed by lifting and repositioning.

Reflective surfaces, such as mirrors, are ideal for walls because they catch the light and provide an illusion of depth, Lake says. Select one large mirror that you can lean against a wall or group an eclectic mix of mirrors in a pattern that you like. If the mirrors don't quite feel cohesive, consider painting the frames one unifying color.