Good Questions: Help! Bare wall solutions?

Good Questions: Help! Bare wall solutions?

Janel Laban
Aug 17, 2006

We got a email from "Mrs. Lee": Hi! I'm a newlywed, newlymoved, and totally confused about decorating! I've been reading this site daily and trying desperately to have some of everyone's design skills rub off on me.

Here is my question. I am completely clueless about what to put on the walls of my living room and dining room. Please excuse the bareness. These are both a work in progress.

I was thinking of putting in some of those wall-mount ledges/shelves. I'm clueless about art..especially affordable art. The walls look so lonely and bare. Help!!

Mrs. Lee

Nice job on the furniture - the rooms are off to a good start! Our first thought: in the photo you sent us, everything in the living room is lined up along the wall - we would suggest moving the slipper chair out and away from the wall to create a conversation area with the sofa.

For the walls, here are some quick ideas based on your requests (wall-mount ledges/shelves, affordable art):

A caution: we think those wall ledges can be tough to work with, floating out there on an expanse of wall. They sometimes end up making the whole set up more lonely and bare looking than before.

That said, a room project from Jon at Happy Mundane shows a nice solution for using them (left): He situated the ledge very low on the wall, hung artwork off-center above it and created a composition with, in his case, tall candleholders.

The ledge/shelf functions more like furniture used in this way, relating to the height of the sofas and coffee table. It feels more grounded.

The walls were also defined with painted color blocked areas (right); Jon used a pale lavender. We love this idea as a way to bring color and a feeling of architectural detail to large expanses of white walls. We can see something like this working on the shorter, angled wall where the slipper chair is now.

For the dining room, we think multiples of affordable art, hung gallery-style, might do the trick to personalize the space.

Because of your newly-married status, we thought you might like to look into something like a photo-printed canvas (left).

You must have some great shots from the wedding, perhaps a few of them (all the same size, fairly large, printed in b&w) hung at the same height going down both facing walls would warm up the space yet keep the modern feel of the room. The example, from a post on Shelteriffic, was $89. (16x20) from Canvas on

Ok, we kicked it off. Now we'd like everyone to jump in and brainstorm some good wall decor design ideas for "Mrs. Lee"...

(Thanks! Happy Mundane and Shelteriffic)

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