Let’s face it – art in its traditional sense just doesn’t speak to everyone. I’ve seen this firsthand while exploring museums, traveling, and studying Art History where I 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. I helped one my friends move houses over a year ago, 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 to buy.”  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). 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 perfectly 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? Here’s some unique ideas for wall art that isn’t ‘art’, yet make for beautiful and personal displays regardless. I hope they inspire you to color outside the lines a bit in your own home decor, and fill your walls with things that really matter to you.

image by kate zimmerman

image by tessa neustadt

Your hat collection.

Read more tips for decking out the perfect hat gallery wall here.

image via lonny

Musical instruments.

image via the home polish

Old skateboards.

Surf boards, cheeseboards… any boards!

image via toast

Beautiful dinner plates.

We love this modern glossy look, but a grouping of vintage plates would be just as wow-worthy.

image via west elm

Plants, plants, plants!

They’ll increase energy and productivity levels, too.

image via urban outfitters

Textiles and tapestries.

image via sfgirlbay

Old mirrors.

Hello, beautiful!

image via designs by filia

Dip-dyed string hangings or macramé.

We’re saving this DIY for a rainy day.

image via milas hem

Old window panes.

If the panes don’t do it for you solo, try creating a collage with all your favorite photos in the frames.

image via lonny

Woven basket bowls.


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Comments (9)
  1. 1
    BeingIsabella June 15, 2018 at 11:33 am

    One thing I love about art is that it can be something different to everyone and can be whatever you want. I much enjoy these forms of wall art more than your classic paintings or photographs. I think they are unique and reflect your personal style and the aesthetic of your home. A few personal favorites which you mentioned are mirrors, tapestries, and plants. I think it’s so refreshing and reflects lots of oxygen and light. I’ve never seen dinner dishes but I quite like it!


  2. 2
    Eva June 15, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Hat art is easily the best! But I’m always keen on as many plants as I can fit into a place.

    Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

  3. 3
    Homes & Weddings June 20, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Wowsers. Some of these were quite unexpected! That window pane one, interesting indeed.

  4. 4
    Arif B. November 1, 2019 at 12:04 am

    Ah! Love these ideas. I am a big fan of putting plants on the walls. Mirrors work well too! Especially they make the space seem bigger than it really is. That window pane idea was pretty unexpected though. 🙁

    Arif from https://agoodlyhome.com

  5. 5
    Chris Pederson February 24, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    I like the idea of using old window frames for your favorite photos. I don’t have any laying around my house though. Looks like I need to find a service online that has them and can fill them with my photos for me.

  6. 6
    Christine Bourne March 6, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    does anyone know where the plates are from?