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5 Trendy Ideas to Spruce up Your Wall Decor


Imagine walking into a home with no wall decor and blank, white surfaces from top to bottom. Inspiring? Not so much. Full of opportunity? Oh yeah. 

Sprucing up your walls alone can turn a ho-hum room into sexy and moody, clean and sophisticated, warm and eclectic, and everything in between. That’s the fun part—you get to choose. As for the “how,” that’s where we come in.

Today, we’re sharing 5 trendy ideas (with staying power) for creating spaces that relax, restore and refuel you in body and mind.

1. Choose Tile for Texture, Depth, Pattern or Brightness

There are endless options for tiles, including a variety of styles, shapes, colors, materials, and of course, the layout you choose. This makes tile a secret weapon in versatility. Here’s who to play up different looks and feels with tile:

Texture: Zellige tile, tile with tumbled edges, or even small-scale tiles (like the penny tiles below) can create fascinating texture on your walls. This is perfect for bathrooms, kitchens, or even behind a built-in wet bar.


From our Beach House project. Photographer: David Duncan Livingston

Depth: With tile, you can create depth through its color and composition. Again, Zellige tiles are great for this, as the variegated hues can make a wall feel further away. The same is true for darker tile. When placed strategically, it can also make a room appear deeper, larger, and cozier.

Pattern: You can also create a strong statement with patterned tiles. This can be achieved with the pattern itself (if it has a print or design on its face) and with the layout you select, like herringbone, basketweave, vertical, and more.

Brightness: Tile is also a great way to bring added brightness into a room. Wall tiles with a glossy finish, especially those that are near a window, will reflect light throughout the space. Brilliant, right?

2. Wallpaper: Not Your Grandmother’s Wall Decor

When you think of “wallpaper,” what comes to mind? Grandma’s floral kitchen from the ‘80s? The cartoon-theme of a daycare? Fortunately, these are no longer the only options. These days, wallpaper has skyrocketed in popularity and in possibility, and we are here for it. 

Anything Goes: Wallpaper has the transformative power to lead a design in any direction you choose, with modern-day prints in luxurious patterns, updated florals, and even natural texture (like the grasscloth wallpaper in the home office below). Want a luxurious living room, creative home office, cozy family room, or playful (but not juvenile) child’s bedroom? There’s a wallpaper for that.


From our Beach House project. Photographer: David Duncan Livingston

Where to Put It: Add it to walls, the ceiling (yup), the backs of bookshelves, or even inside closets for a delightful surprise each time you grab fresh towels.

Pro Tip: Match the pattern size to the size of the room. For example, a smaller room calls for a smaller pattern, and a larger space requires a larger pattern. 


Wallpaper lets you get creative with any wall in the home.

3. Millwork is Wall Decor Magic

The term “millwork” covers any wood detailing that is applied to your walls or the 5th wall, your ceiling. This includes wainscotting, paneling, coffered ceilings, and even built-ins could be called millwork. If you ask me, they all create MAGIC on your walls..

Character: Millwork makes your home feel custom and full of character, especially in more traditional or transitional style homes, like San Francisco’s many Victorians and Tudors. However, even a more modern home can enjoy simple millwork in moderation.  

Illusion: Millwork also plays a role in tricking the eye into seeing spaces as larger than they really are, by using either vertical or horizontal lines. In the Nantucket beach home below, we used millwork to create a welcoming entryway in this Cape Cod style home and used vertical orientation to visually raise the ceiling. Yes and yes.


From our Beach House project. Photographer: David Duncan Livingston

4. Select Art that Sets the Mood

Selecting art for your home isn’t about what friends or neighbors think you should choose…it’s personal. By adding art you love to look at, you set a mood. It can feel calm and soothing, create movement and energy, or invite reflection and conversation. We love it, and we’ve talked about it before, so go here for more about how to pick art and when you should choose it.

Pro Tip: Take as much time as you need to find the perfect art piece. If you settle on something that’s just okay, you may regret it later. Below is our design from the San Francisco 2018 Showcase. The art in this room, while not “fine art,” brings out big textures and complements the other pieces in the room. Can you imagine this space without them?


5. Use Lighting as Versatile Wall Decor

You might not think lighting has anything to do with your wall decor…but ohhh, it does. Lighting is the jewelry of an outfit; it completes the space, makes it shine, and there is more than one way to achieve the look.

Sconces: Sconces are installed directly in walls, adding elegance and intrigue to the space, not to mention lighting the features below them (like shelves or a built-in). The style of the sconce itself will also play a role in how the room looks and feels. Get creative!

Sculptural Lighting: A unique way to use lighting to impact your walls is to install a sculptural light fixture that casts artful shadows onto the walls, like the example below.

Art Lights: While much smaller, adding “art lights” over paintings or photographs helps bring the art into the room, making them a more present feature in the space, especially as the other lights dim and the wine is poured.

Check out more lighting tips and tricks here.


From our Castro Street Project

Trendy or Timeless Wall Decor?

Although these are all ideas for trendy wall decor, if you know us, you know we’re practical, too. We want to make sure these statement features will stand the test of time. That’s why we like to steer our clients towards features they love, despite trends. 

So ignore the fact that these are popular and let your intuition guide you. Which do you love? Do you need help narrowing it down and making a plan? We’ve got you. Book a discovery call with us, and let’s see if we’re right for your project.




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