6 Ways to Fake Architectural Character in a Generic Room

published Sep 25, 2019
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If you’re lucky enough to live in a space with exposed brick walls, wooden beams, a gorgeous fireplace, exposed ductwork, or loads of built-in shelving (or a combination of the above), we envy you! But if you’re like most of us and your place is more plain Jane, don’t give up hope—there are plenty of ways to fake architectural character in more basic spaces. And honestly, no one will be able to tell that your upgrade was actually just a DIY!

Credit: Mackenzie Horan

Hang a beadboard trim

Blogger Mackenzie Horan is currently in the process of renovating a historic home in her native Darien, Connecticut, and she recently shared photos of the beadboard walls she added to her nursery. Paired with blue and white wallpaper, the beadboard looks extremely elegant, and you never would guess that the walls were a normal solid white beforehand! As Horan notes, “It really looks like the beadboard was original to the house.”

Credit: Marlene Fao

Or install wall panels

Marlene Fao of My Mindful Home posted about the process of creating wall panels in her living room, outlining the entire process on her blog. While it involves many detailed steps and is for more advanced DIY-ers, the end result is stunning and timeless. Just make sure to carve aside plenty of time—and patience!

Credit: Amy

Make your own built-ins

Wishing your living room had gorgeous built-ins? You can IKEA hack them using the ever-popular BILLY bookcases! Amy of Eleven Magnolia Lane completely zhuzhed up her space using these classic shelves, molding boards, and lots of elbow grease.

Credit: Laura Metzler

Opt for a faux fireplace

What do you do when you’re longing for a swoon-worthy fireplace? If your interior designer Shannon Claire Smith, you turn to Craigslist. “I wanted to create a focal point for the room that didn’t take up a ton of square footage in a small space,” she explains. “In keeping with the character and style of the historic building, I began searching for a vintage mantel for the wall. It acts as the perfect balance to the TV, makes the ceilings feel taller, and adds a beautiful texture and character to the room.” And would you believe this gorgeous find cost Shannon just $50?

Credit: Jenna Sue

Install your own wooden beams

Wooden beams are often difficult to come by, but they’re easy enough to install on your own if you’re loving the look. Jenna Sue of Jenna Sue Design Co. totally upgraded her home using lumber, wood stain, and beam straps, and we can’t get enough of the now rustic kitchen.

Don’t forget about molding

You’ll be amazed at how Nancy Christopher’s house transformed with the addition of crown molding, which she added herself. As Nancy notes, don’t forget to caulk.