How to Decorate a Bare Wall in the Bedroom

Artwork isn't your only option.

Interior of luxury bedroom in house or hotel with lamp. Interior bedroom concept.
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A big, blank wall can be an intimidating decorating dilemma. You know the wall needs something, but you’re not sure of what. In a typical bedroom, the closet occupies one wall, another wall has the dresser running down its length, and a third has the head of the bed -- with or without a headboard – pushed up against it. At least one of those three walls likely has a window as well. The wall facing the foot of your bed is likeliest to be the problem, but whichever is your blank wall, you’ve probably spent considerable time wondering what to do with it.

Sometimes, the answer is simple – don’t do anything at all. Not every wall needs adornment, particularly if your bedroom is tiny, or minimalist in style. In those cases, a blank wall creates a feeling of space and simplicity. But if the empty wall in your bedroom is a negative, not an asset, don’t worry. You always have the obvious solution – fill up the space with a single large piece of artwork, or a gallery of smaller pieces. Or, if you’re looking for alternatives to artwork, consider one of the following four ideas.

Break it Up with Furniture

Although any room in the house can suffer from this, bedrooms are particularly prone to having furniture that’s all on a horizontal plane. The main piece of furniture – the bed – is low and wide, and frequently, the dresser, nightstands and any other incidental furnishings are not much taller. This leaves the bedroom unbalanced – all of the decorating weight is close to the floor, with empty walls stretching up to the ceiling.

In this case, you can balance your bedroom and break up your blank wall by introducing a tall piece of furniture to the space. Maybe you have an upright bookcase that will work in your bedroom, or an armoire or tall chest of drawers. Often, once you have some variety in the height of your furniture, the bare-wall problem is solved.

If not, it’s generally easy to fill in the space that remains by hanging a framed picture, free-hanging shelf or mirror on the wall.

Try a Mural

In many bedrooms, there isn’t enough floor space to add another piece of furniture, particularly if the empty wall in question is at the foot of the bed. If that’s your situation, one idea for your big, blank wall is a mural. Don’t think that murals are only for children’s bedrooms, or that a mural has to be a complex scene or design. A mural might be as simple as a flowering branch stretching across the wall, or two or three birds in flight. You can paint a mural (or pay someone to paint it for you), or use stencils if you don’t trust your freehand artistic abilities. Or skip the paint altogether – you’ll have to if you are a renter – and instead use wall decals or a self-adhesive, full-size mural to decorate the space. You don’t even have to create a recognizable scene if you don’t want to – turn your bare wall into a blast of color and contrast by using Washi tape to lay out stripes, crisscrosses, chevrons or whatever geometric shape pleases you the most.

Fabric Hangings

Take a tip from castles of old and fill your empty wall space with hanging fabric.

While traditional tapestries aren’t as popular these days as they once were, you have other cloth options that work beautifully in the bedroom.

One of the best ways to fill empty wall space in the bedroom is with a quilt. There are design options for every decorating style from country to contemporary, and quilts have enough weight to hang well on the wall. Lightweight area rugs are another good choice. You can even hang a vintage tablecloth or any length of pretty fabric, but stretch these over a large piece of cardboard or particleboard first, because thin cotton fabrics don’t have enough weight to hang properly on their own.

Show Off a Collection

Many collections are well suited for wall display. Your big, blank wall is the perfect spot to show off a great collection of:

  • Antique hand mirrors
  • Hats
  • Antique or ornate picture frames – they don’t need to have anything in them
  • China plates
  • Masks
  • Architectural trim
  • Small woven bowls
  • Wooden birdhouses or other buildings

Simply use nails, hooks or clamps to fasten your collection into place on the wall.