How can I make my walls attractive? 8 rules for beautiful walls

These exquisite ways to make walls attractive, from artwork to fabric to mural masterpieces, will transform and bring character to all your blank walls

How can I make my walls attractive
(Image credit: Barlow & Barlow / James Merrell / Francois Halard)

There are so many ways to make walls attractive; the walls in our home offer so many design possibilities, but it can be hard to know where to start. So, we have created a room-by-room, technique-by-technique guide to help you narrow down your options, for you to discover the latest wall decor ideas and interior design trends for these blank spaces. 

No matter your decorating style, we've got the tricks that can give life to your walls and bring out your true personality. Keep reading to discover the best ways to make your walls attractive that are sure to add character, interest and intrigue to your home – we are looking way beyond wallpaper ideas and paint ideas.

How can I make my walls attractive?

Looking for beautiful and inspiring ways to make walls attractive? Those empty walls are filled with endless possibilities – and a few stylish wall decorations can make a house feel like a home. From accent wall ideas to whole room solutions, we bring you our favorite ways to dress a black wall. 

1. Make your wall multipurpose

Breakfast room with green painted fitted cabinets, colorful art and banquette seating

(Image credit: Barlow & Barlow)

Attractive walls should be just that – attractive but also useful and practical additions to the home.

Commissioning a bespoke piece of joinery can be transformative; to justify the investment be sure to create a hard-working design. This piece of floor-to-ceiling furniture for a breakfast bar room features a banquette seat and plenty of storage as one whole proposition. The joinery was designed by Teco Bespoke for interior design firm Barlow & Barlow. It’s been made with extra tall glass doors to give it a more contemporary, refined look. 

Key to the success is the colorful artwork by Aboriginal artist Bob Gibson, sourced through specialist dealer Jennifer Guerrini-Maraldi. ‘I’m a big fan of a banquette seat, especially if you can add storage ideas and artwork to make it pop,’ says creative director Lucy Barlow. 

2. Combine wallpaper and paneling 

Home office with grey paneling, floral wallpaper and wood desk

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

We all well know the transformative power of color and pattern, and wallpaper is sure to maintain the softness of a space. In a smaller room, a clever solution can be a combination of wallpaper and wall paneling; this is visually interesting and also ensures the room is not overpowered by a loud print. If your desk sits in the corner of a larger space, then paper can be used to define the work area. 

In terms of room color, choose calming hues to ground the scheme and encourage thoughtfulness. Blues bordering on grey are successful: color theories suggest these tones increase the ability to focus. Dark green (such as Studio Green by Farrow & Ball, used here) is another contender, as it’s meant to boost creativity. 

3. Hang a mural with drama

Modern entryway ideas with large wall mural

Hand-painted Redwoods panoramic wallpaper in original design colours on Brushed Gold gilded paper, de Gournay

(Image credit: Chris Andre)

Wall mural ideas are the design feature you need for your walls – bold and beautiful, it’s time to embrace them in our home. 

‘“Through” spaces like a stairwell provide great opportunities for doing something strong,’ says Jemma Cave, design director of de Gournay. ‘As you don’t have to be with it all day, you can do something more fun in this kind of space.’ A panoramic mural can not only transport you to another space (figuratively as well as literally!), but by choosing a nature-inspired design, the boundaries between indoors and out can become blurred, especially if the exterior as glimpsed from windows echoes the scene on the walls. This will have a restful, restorative, comforting effect.

Entryway with framed art

(Image credit: James Merrell)

One way to maximize the feeling of space in an entryway is to replace solid doors into the adjoining rooms with glazed or partially glazed alternatives – a tried-and-tested method to allow light to travel between the rooms. But there is another advantage to taking this route: making a feature of any pictures or paintings (or sculptures) that are placed in the entrance. This example makes the most of the glazing by creating a focus of art in the hall with the quartet of modern abstract paintings from Jenna Burlingham Fine Art which can be enjoyed whether the doors to the dining room are open or closed. 

5. Clad walls with mirrors

Bathroom with red vanity, wallpaper and mirror wall

(Image credit: VSP Interiors)

There are so many stylish and practical ways for making the most of reflective surface by decorating with mirrors

‘As well as making walls attractive, mirrors can enhance the illusion of height, depth and width in a room,’ explains Laura Marino, creative director of Studio L, London. Not only will a mirror make a room appear larger, it also reflects natural light to make it feel much brighter.

Here, a simple sheet of mirror, hung wall to wall above a vanity, is another practical solution for seeing your face as you get ready for the day, and a cost-effective one too. Elevate the design by mounting basin mixers or wall lights on to the surface of the mirror. ‘I love the look of mounting lights on mirror as it creates a pretty glimmer in the reflection at night,’ says Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors. ‘I always make sure that the lights are on dimmers so you can adjust them to any mood you like, for instance, to create a soft glow while you’re having a relaxing bath.’

You can also invest in antiqued mirrors for visual interest. 'Using antiqued mirror softens what can sometimes be a clinical feel in bathrooms,’ advises Dominic Schuster, head of Dominic Schuster specialist antiqued and gilded mirror studio. A large wall panel adds a decorative feature and Dominic recommends controlling the antiquing effect to just the perimeter.

6. Use paint effects to bring unique beautify 

Curve painted on grey wall

(Image credit: Dulux)

Creative paint effects can bring unique beauty to blank walls – and the more inventive they are, the better.

‘Painting a curve is soothing and satisfying to do and even more so to look at,’ says Dulux creative director Marianne Shillingford. Any color combinations would work but these complementary shades of grey – Dulux’s Heritage Light French Grey and Heritage Country Sky – are especially serene. It isn’t difficult; as with all good paintwork, preparation is key. 

Marianne suggests: ‘To create the curve, you can either use chalk tied to the end of a piece of string or chalk along a length of bendy plastic electrical conduit. Once the background color is dry, thin down the paint slightly to make it easier to get a crisp edge and use a good quality two-inch acrylic decorator’s brush to fill in the shape.

If you’re looking to experiment with paint tricks and paint ideas to make walls attractive, the choice of color is as important as the finished effect.

7. Decorate above kitchen cabinets

Decorating above kitchen cabinets with art

(Image credit: Jessica Summer)

Decorating above kitchen cabinets is a wonderful way to fill the space with an attractive feature, rather than just letting it gather dust. 

Bring a little interest and intrigue to your kitchen by exploring kitchen art ideas and decorating with art above cabinets and on shelving. There are so many beautiful ways to decorate kitchen shelving that will inject modernity, textural interest and decorative style to your kitchen. 

Here, interior designer Jessica Summer sets the scene with artwork in earthy tones. While the kitchen is not often high on the list of rooms when decorating with art in the home, choosing artistic designs for this space can be a fun and creative way to transform the look of the room.

8. Introduce decorative wallpaper 

Bathroom with floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Francois Halard)

Bathrooms are no long just utilitarian – designers are embracing decorative wall details to add interest. ‘Ceilings are a great way of adding another layer of interest and making a space feel cozier. All too often they are an afterthought but we make sure to consider their potential,’ confides interior designer Nicola Harding. 

The wall and ceiling here are adorned in Schumacher’s Indian Arbre fabric, inspired by patterns in traditional palampore bed covers and based on a Twenties document in its archives. Using fabric this way transforms a space into a dreamy retreat that feels rooted in history.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.