How to Decorate a Brick Wall

brick wall in kitchen

Kristen Elizabeth Design

Lucky enough to have an exposed brick wall in your home? Designers greatly appreciate this architectural feature. "Brick walls are a timeless touch and are an easy way to make a space feel cozy," Amy Leferink, of Interior Impressions, says. "We love to work with existing brick walls, as well as add new brick accents with backsplashes or accent walls."

If you love the look of your brick wall but are unsure as to the best way to decorate it to ensure that it shines, you will want to keep reading for some useful expert tips regarding color choices and materials, hanging art, and maintaining a wall's character and personality intact throughout the design process.

Be Mindful of Color Choices and Materials

You do not want to overpower the brick wall in any way, explains Kristen Fiore of Kristen Elizabeth Design. "Brick walls are an earthy, original build, industrial vibe," she says. "The red in the brick provides warmth to a space, even though you are working with a highly textured, almost stone-like material." Fiore follows a specific formula when decorating near a brick wall. "I like to contrast red, original brick with lighter colors, mixing in ceramics that pop against the wall," she explains. "Collections that are white or pale in color work are a natural combination. Integrating metal is a great way to keep that industrial feeling."

mirror against brick wall

Kimberly Graydon

Follow These Tips for Hanging Art

You may wish to hang art against your brick wall, and this means being thoughtful about colors once again. "Black and white photographs in a gallery style are a classic and chic display," Fiore comments. "I love adding a large piece of painted art in colors that avoid red/oranges and brown tones and highlight yellows; blues and greens will take the focus off the brick and onto the wall." And designers also love the look of wall shelves mounted to or pushed up against a brick wall; these can be excellent for displaying art, too. "Don’t be afraid to combine wall shelves with hanging art, a leaning mirror, and a floor plant," Noelle Isbell, of Noelle Interiors, suggests. "Shelves are also a great solution, and offer a secure foundation for you to layer both artwork and accessories."  

It can also be enjoyable to play with texture. "A great way to decorate a brick wall is by adding a different type of texture such as an oversized canvas piece of art," Megan Unger, of Megan Robertsons Designs, shares. "Another idea is doing a collage of framed art in a variety of sizes. Keep in mind, a brick wall is an art piece itself, so sometimes, less is more."

That said, if you're not looking to hang anything or are unable to do so, there are other solutions that do not involve a drill or hammer. "I always prefer not to drill into masonry, so a favorite option of mine is a tall plant or grouping of greenery in front," Noel Gatts, of beam & bloom, says. "Unexpected functional pieces, like a dress form, or maybe a guitar stand or coat tree can instantly turn into art against a beautiful brick. An oversized leaning mirror gives an old-world chic vibe, or try a tall bus sign for a more industrial feel!" Skip the tapestries and quilts, though. "Things like textile art or other wall-hangings aren't going to be as successful because they generally need a smooth, even backdrop to be fully appreciated," Bethany Adams, of Bethany Adams Interiors, explains. And, as alluded to earlier, there is no need to go overboard. "Less is more," says Samantha Struck of StruckSured Interiors. "Exposed brick is a visually captivating texture in itself: Keep the number of additional materials and decorative objects to a minimum. Often one statement piece is enough to highlight the wall and the object itself."

brick wall with mirror

Heather Bien

Keep Character Intact

Brick walls are meant to appear a bit storied, whether they're actually dated and historic or just were installed to appear original in a home. "When decorating an exposed brick wall, we want it to feel like an added piece of charm and not take away from the character of the brick," Leferink comments. Of course, do not be afraid to mix and match decor styles using your wall as a backdrop. "In our Urban Hideaway project, we incorporated a brick wall as the backdrop to a wet bar in this home's lower level," the designer says of the room shown here. "Black painted cabinetry with natural oak interiors on either side of the brick wall, and rift-sawn white oak wood floating shelves on the brick creates a juxtaposition of a modern, but also industrial and rustic feel." It's the best of both worlds.

brick wall bar area

Mackenzie Merrill Photography for Interior Impressions