Let’s face it, when it comes to refreshing our wall art, art in its traditional sense just doesn’t speak to everyone. I’ve seen this firsthand while exploring museums and through my many art-driven travels. I’ve overheard people whisper ‘that’s art?’ or ‘I don’t get it…’ to those next to them. Maybe the way we’ve historically been taught to classify and identify art as paintings, photography, sculptures, etc. excludes many from enjoying the benefits of having art in the home, in whatever form that art may be.

A year ago, I helped a friend move and was amazed when I recently went back to see beautiful furniture all throughout the space, but nothing on the walls. When I asked him why, he said, I hate the bare walls. But I don’t have any paintings, and I don’t like anything I’ve seen. His comment set me on a mission to find unique ideas for all the bare wall home dwellers out there, (who don’t actually want bare walls).

Featured image by Roland Bello.

Image of Gillian Segal’s Vancouver Craftsman remodel by Ema Peter.

Fact is, home decorating is an incredibly personal experience —there’s no need to buy paintings, prints, or photographs, simply because you feel like that’s what ‘should’ go on your walls.

So what should you hang on your walls instead? Today’s home philosophy is all about balance and creating a curated home that’s unique to you. It’s amazing how much more cozy and special a home can feel when it’s a direct reflection of the owner’s personality, interests, and travels.

One of the beauties of having a home is the freedom to decide what you want to live with and look at every day. What brings you joy? How can you incorporate more of that in your home? Below are seven unique ideas for wall art that isn’t ‘art’, yet make for beautiful and personal displays. I hope they inspire you to color outside the lines a bit in your own home décor and fill your walls with things that really matter to you.

7 Wall Art Ideas That’ll Infuse Your Walls With Creativity

Image of The Surf Rider by Kristen Kilpatrick

Hang Your Hat(s)

Hats have taken over our walls in recent years—and we’re totally here for the look. If you don’t yet have a collection of well-loved toppers to adorn your walls (and grab on your way out the door to the beach), now’s the time to start! Estate sales and thrift stores are great options for amassing a unique array of artful hats.

Image of Matt Titone’s surf shack remodel by Mark Seelen 

Let Your Hobbies Take Center Stage

Surfboards, skateboards, record art—anything goes! One of the (many) beautiful things about having a hobby is that oftentimes, sourcing your gear is half the fun. To create a truly personal vibe, surround yourself and deck out your home with all the things that bring you joy. Bonus: When you tell yourself you’d rather watch Netflix, seeing your hobby displayed front and center will make it hard to resist diving in.

Image of Greg and Christy Billock’s Los Angeles home by Virtually Here Studios

Swap in a Bowl

This trend has no signs of slowing down. A single woven bowl can create dynamic impact, or you can update a gallery wall with a trio or more of your favorite pieces. This idea lends a lovely artisan feel that’ll infuse your home with thoughtful vibes and intention.

Image of Kate Zimmerman Turpin’s Sunday house by Kate Zimmerman Turpin.

Make It Functional

Not sure where to put all of your kitchen equipment? If you love the look of your wood cutting boards and have a collection of nesting bowls you’d be remiss not to display, put it all where you can see it! Not only does this idea offer up a streamlined storage solution, but the visual cue will instill a little gratitude for all the beautiful, treasured objects in your life.

Image of Diana Ryu’s home office by Teal Thomsen

Try Textiles and Tapestries

Definitely art, but with a twist! (And no, when we say tapestries, we’re not talking about the ones that graced your college dorm walls back in the day.) We love the organic, minimalist warmth textiles give to a wall (and, in turn, your space as a whole). If you’re in need of a little calm and grounding energy, you can’t go wrong with this option.

Image of Gillian Segal’s Vancouver Craftsman remodel by Ema Peter

Opt for a High-impact Mirror

While of course a bathroom vanity should come equipped with a mirror, this option works anywhere you want to create the illusion of more space. What’s more, going the mirror route will dapple your space with plenty of natural light. Go for something fun and squiggly if you’re wanting to mirror (had to) Gen Z’s inclination for whimsy. Or, look for an option with an interesting and perhaps ornate frame. When form follows function, beautiful things can happen.

Make It Minimalist

Of course, negative space is an option too! While some homeowners and apartment dwellers leave their walls blank because they can’t find the art they’re looking for, others do so intentionally. Here, we love that the walls are left bare to balance out the many plants and decorative objects spread throughout the space. Remember: While art and its alternatives can be fun to play with, a minimalist look can always offer maximalist appeal.

This post was originally published on June 29, 2019 and has since been updated.





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