8 ways to wow-factor walls

From wallpaper to grafitti, panelling to paint effects it's really not hard to make a statement with your walls

We may all be surrounded by four walls but that doesn't mean they have to be planes of plain white space, completely devoid of personality. If you think of your walls as blank canvases where you can be as creative as a fine artist, then you'll be half way to unlocking their hidden potential. Here are eight of Livingetc's favourite ways to give walls the kind of ‘treatment' that ensures they punch way above their weight.

An outdoor wall with graffitti mural design

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Wreford)

1. Go grafitti
An outdoor wall offers a great canvas for a bold artwork - either do your own, or get the kids to go wild with a few spray cans. Choose a design that combines edgy urban attitude with some leafy shapes and glorious colour to lift a simple seating area out of the ordinary.

Striped yellow wall with table and chair

(Image credit: TBC)

2. Bold-painted stripes
Create a sun-soaked, upbeat space with geometric bands in bright yellow. Offsetting the stripes creates an op-art version of glinting rays, while gradually widening them opens the room up at head height. Use masking tape to delineate your pattern, then a fine artist's brush for the edges.

room with wallpaper frieze

(Image credit: TBC)

3. Have fun with a frieze
Decorative friezes were big with the Victorians but Livingetc says it's high time they had a revival! Revitalise the look with a photographic image - such as Eadweard Muybridge's evocative time-lapse shots, available as a wallpaper from the Royal Photographic Society Collection at Surface View. The unexpected print and depth of the pattern combined with the dark grey walls give the scheme its ultra-modern edge.

room with brick wall grey open shelve and kitchen chimney

(Image credit: TBC)

4. Go back to basics
There's something unpretentious, honest and effortlessly chic about a bare brick wall. The older and more battered the better the story they tell. Rather than say ‘we haven't quite decided what to do' or worse, ‘Our budget forgot to take plastering into account' - the message a bare brick wall delivers is pretty clear and it's all to do with having a sense of heritage and not being ashamed of who you are.

room with bulb lamp and painted brick wall

(Image credit: TBC)

5. Painted bricks
If your brick wall is new, or lacking in character, this is an affordable and very easy way to bring it back to life. Prep well, apply a thick coat and remember to finish off with a light sealer and hey presto, you've given your old wall a whole new lease of life. Pelt by Farrow & Ball is a good match for this moody purple shade.

room with Illustration gallery wall

(Image credit: TBC)

6. Create a gallery
If you have a passion (for fashion illustration, say) then a gallery of grouped images can make a really striking alternative to one huge piece of statement art. The trick to getting it right is to make sure they have something in common, either stylistically, thematically, or tonally (think black and white family photos). Here, the mixture of formats and frames doesn't really matter as the common theme pulls the whole look together. The Tiffany blue wall also adds modern edge. Gentle Sky by Little Greene is a good match.

room with map wallpaper

(Image credit: TBC)

7. Map it out
This is one wall we'd love to sit and stare at. What a great way to give a teenager a wall that looks great while being educational at the same time? Double style whammy. For great map wallpaper, check out Stanford's World Map Wallpaper kit.

room with herb living wall

(Image credit: TBC)

8. Create a living wall
What could be more appropriate for a
garden than a wall that's actually growing? Install Gardenwell Modular
Planters by Viteo at Encompass, and then plant with selected herbs which will provide flavour as well as splashes of leafy green - an evolving artwork!

For more great Livingetc ideas, click here

Thea Babington-Stitt
Managing Editor

Thea Babington-Stitt is the Managing Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for around 10 years.

She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.