Wall display ideas – how to turn a blank wall into something special... and even surprising

These simple wall display ideas will suit any and every space

There's nothing more pleasing to the eye than an artfully curated wall display. It's a decorating trick that we Brits have employed for centuries – just think of the majestic staircases of stately homes, winding their way up around walls groaning from the weight of numerous portraits. 

For more amazing decorating ideas for every space in your home, check out our all room ideas

You might therefore think that to truly pull the look off takes a forensic dedication and years of accumulating cherished art and portraits. But for the cunning householder, there are plenty of ways to create an instant, stylised wall display with minimal effort.

We've compiled the best ideas for achieving a smart and considered wall display...

1. Add interest with striking shelves

room with white wall yellow frame and potted plant

(Image credit: Future PLC /Jo Henderson)

Give bare walls a sense of purpose with the addition of stylish, striking shelving. Shelving above a kitchen counter, hallway console table or living room sideboard can help to add a decorative touch – and a sense of purpose. Especially when dressed with pottery pieces and and books in the accent colours to add interest. Kitchen shelves also provide the perfect elegant place to display houseplants.

2. Stack picture ledges to maximise impact

room with wall frame grey sofa cushions and white floor lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC /Tim Young)

Hanging a picture ledge allows you to display more than just frames. You can maximise what you choose to put on display, from wall art and postcards to decorative ornaments – the world is your oyster. Make even more of a visual impact but stacking two picture ledges, one on top of the other. Taking it even further with one small and not large to create a more eclectic look.

A picture ledge, rather than fixing things to walls also allows the freedom to switch things up. Simply swap frames in and out, when the mood takes you.

3. Hang a grouping of basket art

room with teacup saucer glass vase and white wall

(Image credit: Future PLC /Simon Whitmore)

If measuring up and perfectly spacing frames sounds like a faff, go freestyle with a group of woven platters that'll give a white wall natural texture and warmth. This selection comes from French Connection Home, Traidcraft and The Basket Room.

4. Stick to simple black frames for a wall display of photos

room with wall frames carpet flooring and black chair

(Image credit: Future PLC /Simon Whitmore)

When you're choosing your frames, make sure they are of a near-identical shade and style – although feel free to mix up the sizes. Fill them with colourful prints for an informal and eclectic gallery wall arrangement.

5. Turn your chopping boards into so much more

room with sky blue wall wood chopping board and wood chair

(Image credit: Future PLC /Simon Whitmore)

Instead of storing wooden chopping and serving boards away in a cupboard, hang them up in a group for a characterful kitchen display. They'll always be easy to grab when you need them, but do remember to give them a wipe before you hang them back up!

6. Combine wall display cabinets with prints on a theme

room with wooden bench potted plant and wall frames

(Image credit: Future PLC /Simon Whitmore)

Start by picking that theme – in this case beautiful botanicals. Use metal box shelves for displaying succulents and hang simple botanical photographs between them, so that they work together for fresh modern style.

In a bedroom, your theme could be shoes, handbags or hats.

Love this look? Best house plants – our top picks for low light, clean air, bathrooms and easy care

7. Arrange photos in a triangle

grey wall with white flower vase and white cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC /Dominic Blackmore)

Ina small space where you want to get a streamlined formal look, hang your photos or artwork in a tidy triangle. Here, a clock has also been integrated – if you want to do the same, find a design in colour ways that match the surrounding frames.

8. Rest your pictures on a ledge

room with wooden table wall frame storage shelf and beer bottles

(Image credit: Future PLC /Georgia Burns)

Photo shelves and ledges show no sign of waning in popularity and are widely available from many retailers. One advantage of them over nails in the walls is that pictures of different sizes can be easily switched in and out as your tastes or the seasons change. Overlap and stagger displays for added interest.

9. Mix prints

room with pink floor lamp round wooden table and glass flower vase

(Image credit: Future PLC /Simon Whitmore)

Choose identical frames, but alternate colour and black-and-white photos to give your wall a subtle tint.

10. Meet the ancestors

room with white chair cushion wall frame and wood storage

(Image credit: TBC)

Dedicate a wall display to portaits of the family and relatives in a tribute to your roots. Contemporary family photos and portraits from the past combine for a wall illustrating treasured memories.

11. Put your favourite music on display

If you haven't decided to jump on the vinyl revival band wagon you may still have a few old records knocking around. Why not display these as art? There are plenty of frames available for records enabling you to make a fabulous wall tribute to all your rock gods.

12. Who is the fairest? Fill your wall with mirrors

room with round mirror white vase and white wall

(Image credit: Future PLC /Colin Poole)

Take a leaf out of Louis XIV's book and create a mirror display wall. You'll increase the sense of light in your home and you'll never leave the house with lipstick on your teeth again. Combine frameless and ornate framed mirrors for added variety.

13. Raid the charity shops

wall with white wall wooden frame

(Image credit: Future PLC /Colin Poole)

Charity shops can be a fabulous – not to mention cheap – source of artwork and frames. Local flea markets are a treasure trove, too. Here the owner has wisely stuck to a floral theme so that her display has coherence (and doesn't end up resembling said charity shop!), but has experimented with different mediums, including needlepoint and oil painting.

room with staircase frames and wooden door

(Image credit: Future PLC /David Giles)

Sometimes overlooked, the staircase is ideal for wall displays heaving with variety - whether it's quirky prints or family portraits you've chosen to hang. Try anchoring a line up the stairs with larger frames and surrounding these with smaller pictures.

Amy Cutmore

Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.