The possibilities for your walls are endless. Perhaps you’re a fan of minimalism with beautifully smooth, clean white walls you’ve left unadorned as you don’t want to spoil their purity. Or perhaps you’ve gone the other way and have crazily patterned wallpaper on every inch of every room? If you want to make your home more beautiful 7 Alternatives to Artwork For Your Walls.
Most people are somewhere in between and, if you’re anything like us, you’d love amazing artwork in your homes but amazing artwork costs big bucks. Also, everyone has paintings on their walls and you don’t want to be like everyone else. You want something different that suits not only your taste but your personality too.
Taking these things into consideration and also taking into consideration that everything can be called ‘art’ (which is probably what Damien Hirst thought the first time he cut a cow in half and immersed it in formaldehyde), here are ten alternatives to artwork for your walls.
Before we begin, please bear in mind your living circumstances. You might already own your own home, in which case you can bang nails into your walls with wild abandon but if you’re currently renting and wondering if you’ll ever be able to buy your first home, you’ll need to check with your landlord what you can and can’t do to their property.
Alternatives to artwork for your walls
1. Wall mount a bicycle
What? A bicycle. Yes, we’re suggesting you hang a bicycle on your wall as art. No, we haven’t gone mad. If you’ve got a gorgeous bike – and most bikes are gorgeous, let’s face it – why hide it in the shed or garage?
And if you haven’t got a shed or garage, wall mounting a bicycle makes even more sense as it saves space by preventing you from cluttering up your hallway, lounge, or dining room (or even your bedroom if you’re really short on space).
As an added bonus, if you’re going to hang up your bike on the wall for everyone to see, you’re more likely to keep it clean, which will add years to your bike’s life.
How? We’re not suggesting you stick a huge unsightly rack on your wall (although if that floats your boat then go for it). A couple of sturdy wooden pegs will do the job just fine.
2. Huge floor lamp
What? A floor lamp. Yes, this isn’t technically something to put on the wall (okay, so it’s not even a technicality) but bear with it. A huge floor lamp will cover most of the wall so in our book it counts as wall art.
You may say, ‘But my room is too small for a huge lamp that takes up an entire wall,’ but doesn’t fret – floor lamps may be big but they come in all manner of shapes and sizes. If you get one with a thin stem that arcs over the area to be lit, it’ll only have a small footprint and won’t take up much space at all while still drawing attention to it.
How? Put it on the floor and plug it in. Art doesn’t get any simpler than this.
3. Hang a mirror
What? A mirror. Mirrors are a fabulous alternative to a painting and not only because paintings are rubbish for checking your make-up before you leave the house. A mirror reflects the light and can make a small room look brighter, bigger, and airier.
Mirrors come in all shapes, sizes, and designs. You could even be creative and cover a whole wall in mirrors. How good would that look?
How? Depending on the size and weight of your mirror, you might get away with using Command Strips (sticky strips for hanging stuff without using nails that come away from the wall without damaging it) but unless you want to risk your mirror falling off the wall and bringing you seven years’ bad luck, you’ll probably be better off hanging it properly with screws and picture wire.
4. Wall planters
What? Wall planters to put plants in. Plants are a great addition to any home. Not just because they look good but because they’re a healthy housemate, breathing oxygen into your home. If you’re not so green-fingered, there are plenty of easy-to-maintain/difficult-to-kill houseplants, such as succulents and, as you watch them grow, you’ll feel an immense feeling of achievement. If you really are the type who forgets to water plants or overwaters them or just don’t want the responsibility of having to care for a living thing, fake plants are a great alternative to natural plants. They can look just as good as the real thing and won’t hold it against you if you go on holiday without asking the neighbors to pop round to water them.
How? There are countless ways to display your plants on a wall. You can put them in fishbowls on shelves, hang them from the ceiling in macrame holders or put a shower or curtain rail and hooks along the wall to display your plants.
5. Animal heads
What? Decorative animal heads. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you go out and shoot a deer or something (we’re all animal-lovers here) or even take a visit to your local taxidermy shop. (Do you even have a local taxidermy shop?)
There are some fabulous fake animal heads out there and the best ones won’t even make you feel squeamish. You can get brightly colored embroidered animal heads, squishy knitted heads, or some trendy geometric metal ones.
Whether your taste in animal heads is traditional, modern, or abstract, a cruelty-free animal head will bring a smile to you and your guests’ faces. Plus, if you live on your own, it’ll give you someone to talk to and, if you’ve always wanted pets but either weren’t allowed to because of restrictions in your lease, you’re allergic to animal fur or pets are too high-maintenance for you, an animal head is an undemanding pet who won’t wake you up in the early hours demanding to be fed.
How? Again, depending on the size and the weight of your chosen animal head, you might get away with Command Strips but if you buy an animal head from a shop, it’ll probably come with wall fittings supplied, which you should use.
What? A letterboard for messages, quotes, or reminders. A letter board is a fun and functional piece of art. You can use it to display how you’re feeling that day, put up a motivational quote or simply leave a message on it for your partner/housemate to get some milk on their way home from work. The letters are changed easily, so you can change them to your heart’s content as often as you like.
How? You can either hang a letterboard on the wall or prop it against the wall on a shelf or on top of a cabinet, so you can move it around the house to switch up the changes.
What? Shelves. You may be thinking, ‘Shelves aren’t art – they’re just shelves.’ And yes, shelves are just shelves and shelves are a wonderful thing. Shelves are probably the most useful thing you can have in a house but these days they’re not just functional – they come in all kinds of designs. From a simple but elegant white floating shelf to a wall full of chunky reclaimed oak shelves supported by upcycled scaffolding poles, shelves certainly can be a work of art.
How? You won’t get away with using Command Strips for shelves. Not if you want to use your shelves, anyway. Most shelves will come with the necessary fittings, which will range from hidden fixings for floating shelves, to screws and brackets for more sturdy shelves.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to liven up your walls that don’t involve paintings. These are just a few ideas but the only restriction is your imagination – if it can go on a wall, it can be art!