How to Decorate a Large Wall

large wall with art

Cathie Hong Interiors

If you have a large, empty wall in your home, you may be at a bit of a loss when it comes to deciding how to style it. "Large walls in any space are an opportunity to tell a story or make a statement, so determine what message or mood you’d like to convey and let that guide your choices," Breegan Jane, who runs an eponymous design firm, says. "While there is no one right way to decorate a wall, remember that you want to maintain harmony in the space," she adds. "You don’t want a single wall in the space to feel heavy and the other visually deficient." Read on for tips on what to keep in mind when decorating a large wall in your own home to ensure that it shines.

large dining room wall with art

Mary Patton Design

Consider the Architecture Around It

This is an important first step when evaluating a large wall in your home, says Mindy O'Connor of Melinda Kelson O'Connor Architecture & Interiors. Per O'Connor, points to keep in mind include whether the wall will be viewed from a distance—and while seated or standing, whether there will be furniture resting against it, and if the wall contains doorways or openings.

If a wall can be viewed from other rooms and does not contain doorways or openings, O'Connor suggests outfitting it with art. "A collection in smaller frames, large-scale artwork, or three-dimensional hung objects all work," she says. "Just remember to leave appropriate negative space that allows the artwork or objects to breathe and be appreciated." If your wall does have openings, play with the trim. "A large wall with openings can offer chances to work the trim details into the larger wall decoration," O'Connor explains. "Use trims and door colors, wallpaper, or artwork on the walls to create a cohesive look with multiple elements that repeat."

In some cases, bookshelves or other furniture may line your large wall, but fear not, you can still get creative. "Consider special finishes like lacquering, plaster, bold paint colors, or wallpaper patterns that can even coordinate to the furniture when going all in," O'Connor advises. "Don't be afraid to take the special finishes to the wall edges and around the room, even encompassing trim as well when it makes sense."

Keep Scale and Light Top of Mind

Before you tackle your large, blank wall, you will want to keep scale and room design top of mind, says Caroline Lizarraga, a decorative artist who hand-paints and treats walls for homeowners and interior designers. It is also important to determine how much natural light a room receives. "For darker rooms, a high gloss, mirror lacquered finish reflects the natural light, making the spaces larger and brighter, especially in saturated color," Lizarraga notes. "Gold or silver leaf burnished to a nice, medium shine will also achieve some of that same brightening effect." If a wall is very tall and there are high ceilings present, Lizarraga will adjust her technique to complement this architectural feature. "A three-dimensional drip effect adds to the height and creates a living canvas to build the entire interior design plan," she explains.

If you choose to hang artwork on your wall, scale is also incredibly key. "I often see people falling into the trap of art that’s too small on a large wall," explains Stacey Martin of The Freshmaker. However, she offers an easy hack to ensure that the art you select is of the appropriate size. "One simple way to help make sure the scale is right is to divide [the wall] into thirds," Martin says. "A large art piece the width of either one-third or two-thirds of the wall is usually a good place to start."

wall with mural

Louis Duncan-He

Don't Neglect the Importance of Color

Desiree Washington of Designs By Des Interiors highlights the power of infusing color onto a large wall. "Utilizing color in a large room can really change the perception and change the mood of the room," she says. And the specific hues you select can help you achieve the vision you have in mind. "Brighter colors can bring life, create vibrancy, and enhance the energy of the room, while moodier tones can create a sense of grounding, relaxation, and slowing down one's pace," Washington adds.

large painted wall with art

Erin Williamson Design

Keep Flow in Mind

According to Washington, "A long wall is also a bridge to another room so I love using long walls to connect one space to another." Washington keeps this principle top of mind when going about the design process. "Whatever I am putting on the wall can help one room communicate and flow to another or vice versa; it can be designed to disrupt a flow of language," she says. A cohesive approach is essential. "Whatever you are adding to decorate the wall should be an extension of the goals in the neighboring rooms, so when one moves through the space, they immediately gravitate toward the room’s function and essence," she comments.