Few things kill a creative person’s spirit more than the inability to paint or decorate boring white walls. Instead of a quick trip to the paint store, the average military spouse is stuck inside their apartment or installation housing desperately scanning Pinterest for innovative, temporary wall treatments or magical shelves that won’t make giant holes in the wall.
And with every scroll of the page, the off-white walls that never seem to complement your choice of furniture continue to close in.
There are enough regulations we are forced to adhere to in the military community, and feeling suffocated in a stuffy, dingy house without color or creativity just isn’t fair. So skip the endless Pinterest scrolling and check out these creative, cost-effective ways to decorate white walls without breaking regulations or sinking your security deposit.
Give the room you share the most love some love itself. The living space entertains, makes memories, and inspires conversation. Show off your family’s memories with a gallery wall. This can be implemented in a variety of ways allowing your creative juices to flow in the design of the photo frames, sizes, and colors.
Choose a classic 3×3 square design with nine identical photo frames and make a symmetrical statement for your living room. If you want to take a softer approach, mix it up with an understated design that spreads out different size frames across the length of the wall. Or, literally mix and match by peppering in framed quotes, artwork, or clocks among the photos to show off your artistic style.
Trade unsightly outlets for cozy comfort by utilizing a large vintage bucket. You can go for an industrial look with an iron one, or choose the farmhouse feel with a wooden bucket and stuff it full with blankets fresh for the picking.
Pick up a cheap wooden ladder at a thrift shop – or make one yourself with a few pallets – and paint or distress it to your style and accentuate the right or left side of the wall. By pushing it to the side, you allow the asymmetry of the room to make a bold decorating statement. Feel free to drape blankets along the rungs, string up lights, or hang Polaroids from twine wrapped around the ladder.
Match practicality with some easy wall-sprucing by pushing a storage bench up against the wall as a centerpiece. A rustic bench complete with a seat cushion and accent pillows draws the eye away from the bleak wall, adds extra seating to your next party, and also houses bins for extra storage. Use the stylish bench to stow toys, games, and other items you don’t want scattered on the floor.
Shadow Box Cabinet
If you already have enough seating, consider a shadow box cabinet or entertainment center to place as the centerpiece along your wall. Place books, movies, games, or photo albums inside, and decorate the shelf top with a few items to make the piece of furniture pop. Adding a tall vase with greenery (fake or real) on top will also help spruce up the boring wall.
Birth Time Clocks
Personalize a hallway with separate clocks set to the time of each child’s birth. Similar to the gallery wall, these clocks can all be identical or set your creativity free with finding all different styles. To fill up the most hall space, hang a photo of each child with their respective clock.
Feature tall, potted plants in dark room corners to add pops of color that crawl up the uninspiring walls. If you can afford to make tiny holes in the wall, hang up macramé holders with succulents sitting lazily inside for a bohemian look. Or if you love the idea of succulent planters indoors, but don’t want to make more holes in the wall, arrange some wooden palettes together for a backdrop that you can drill holes into and hang the planters from while it leans against the wall.
Let your kids get in on the decorating action by making splatter or drip paint canvas art to hang in their rooms. Get a cheap canvas at a craft store, get some paint, and go to town! You can fill balloons with the paint and drop them on the canvas, get a marble covered in paint and let it roll around the canvas, or you can even tape some crayons to the top of the canvas and apply heat and let the color drip down the piece. Then hang up the masterpiece in your child’s bedroom and add a real touch of color to those drab walls.
Express your witty and inspirational self by upgrading your boring mantle with a letterboard. These felt boards come in all sizes and colors, and the opportunities for quotes, jokes or funny lines are endless. This board will surely grab your guests’ attention and even ignite conversation. If you don’t have a mantle, or it’s already styled to your satisfaction, consider hanging the letterboard as a part of your gallery wall or on top of the cabinet.
Let your walls do the talking by using an oversized, wooden script to adorn your spaces. Words like “gather” are great for kitchens or living room spaces, while “love,” “laugh,” or other short phrases can complement your bedroom. These light, easy-to-hang decorations are a simple way to fill up white space on your walls and reflect a cozy warmth to anyone who walks through your doors. If you or your spouse are handy around a saw, get some wood and make simple shelves in the shape of mountains that look like a million bucks against a plain white wall.
As you can see, the opportunities are endless, so let loose your creativity and get to sprucing up those white walls in a way that would make Joanna Gaines jealous.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Four Wallpaper Options That Aren’t Wallpaper
Photo credits: Renee Dolan Photography