What Should I Put on my Living Room Walls? 5 Easy Updates Designers Choose for Better Decorated Spaces

If you're looking to bring your living room walls to life, here are five easy additions to make your house feel like a home

A living room with wall tapestry
(Image credit: Jonathan Hokklo. Design: Jessica Gersten Interiors)

If you're feeling a bit fed up with your living room decor and are looking for some inspiration, there is no time like the present to switch up the space. But when faced with blank living room walls and with little inspiration, it can feel a little bit daunting. So where to begin?

The living room wall is an important canvas where you can get creative and showcase your personality, so use this precious space to express yourself. Your walls are also surfaces you can use to your advantage to create a mood too. From lighting to statement art, these are our favorite decorative ideas to bring your living room walls to life.

1. Use the space to showcase your favorite works of art

A living room fireplace with undersized wall art and candles

(Image credit: Madeline Harper. Design: Emily Lauren Interiors)

If you're lumbered with the task of updating your living room wall decor, your first consideration should be adding beautifully framed art to the space. This helps break up the monolith of wall in front of you, and can be a fantastic tool to bring the room's color palette together in a harmonious way. Living room art also provides a focal point and a talking point, and going big and bold with your artwork is a great way to put your stamp on the room's aesthetic.

'Art can play a crucial role in enhancing the aesthetics and ambiance of a living room,' says interior designer, Nina Magon

'Artwork serves as a captivating focal point, drawing the eye and creating visual interest in the living room. A well-chosen piece of art can set the tone for the entire space and become a conversation starter.'

Artwork can also introduce different textures and dimensions to the living room. Consider pieces with varied materials, such as canvas, metal, or wood, to add tactile interest and break up the flat surfaces in the room. 

Going for a big frame is one way to use art on the walls of your living room, but I'm also loving the trend for this minimalist art trend which flips the idea on its head. Instead of a large, dominating frame, minimalists are using the wall space to display a small piece of art, framed and hung a little off-center. The result feels stylish and perfect for a minimaluxe aesthetic. In this example by Emily Lauren Interiors, the art on this chimney breast is balanced with the candlesticks and foliage on the left of the mantelpiece.

2. Try tapestry to add texture

A living room with wall tapestry

(Image credit: Jonathan Hokklo. Design: Jessica Gersten Interiors)

Tapestries might have connotations of stately homes, designers are bringing them back into the home and they're becoming a wall art trend to watch as we enter 2024. 'While the gallery wall has been a staple in home design for years (and will always have its fair share of loyal devotees), next year, many shoppers are eager to embrace more creative and unexpected art displays,' says Etsy’s trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson. 'Shoppers are showing that there is more than one way to make an impact with art, thinking outside the frame altogether with large-scale tapestries.'

Going big with a rich and beautifully embroidered tapestry adds texture and coziness, something we're all craving in our living rooms, not to mention the fact that it also helps keep warmth in - which could be useful over the winter period. 

3. Add interest with mirrors

A living room with mirrored walls

(Image credit: Kristina LoMonaco)

Bring your living room to life with a well-placed living room mirror. Placed over the chimney breast in this living room, it helps to create a focal point, all the while bouncing the light around the space. A mirror is also a great small living room solution for this reason, helping to create the optical illusion of surplus space.

'The inclusion of a reflective medium, in this case, a bold mirror, not only enhance the illusion of space but also reflect natural light, making the room brighter and more cheerful,' says New York-based designer Kristina LoMonaco, who designed this space with large-scale mirrors on the wall.

There are a whole host of designs to pick from when it comes to your living room mirror too. Go vintage with an antique look to add to the room, or bring a bit of color and intrigue to the space with something more modern and colored glass. An eye-catching frame might be all you need, or think outside the box with geometric shapes.

4. Sconces

A living room with wall lights

(Image credit: Nick Glimenakis. Design: The Brownstone Boys)

Living room lighting is hugely important when it comes to the space, and if you are looking to bring a decorative detail to your wall, sconces or wall lights are the perfect addition. 'There’s no better way to create emphasis in interior design than a custom statement lighting piece as a focal point in a living room,' says Scott Richler, CEO of New York-based lighting company Gabriel Scott. 'Whether it be a sculptural chandelier or a series of cascading pendant lights, beautiful lighting is the decoration any home needs to make it feel warm, inviting and luxurious.'

When it comes to design, there is a spectrum of choice out there. From high end sconces that demand rewiring, to more simple lighting solutions. Rewiring might not be the easiest update, but I recently bought this pair of wireless Amazon wall sconce lights that have an easy stick-on function and are battery charged - meaning no dangling wire to ruin the aesthetic, and they bring a beautiful golden, warming glow to the wall, highlighting the paintwork in my living room.

5. Use books as decor with a bespoke fitted bookshelf

A living room with bookshelves that stretch to the ceiling

(Image credit: Benjamin Benschneider. Design: DeForest Architects PLLC. Interiors. NB Design Group)

Lastly, one way to make the most of a spare wall that needs a bit of a personality boost is to add living room shelving with bespoke bookshelves that stretch up to the ceiling. As well as a convenient place to store all your books, they make for a decorative addition. 'Bookshelves can do so many things besides provide a place for books,' says John DeForest of Seattle-based DeForest Architects. 'In this house for a family of true book lovers, they add scale, warmth, and detail to the front hall and living room beyond.'

'In place of the original heavy plastered wall, we designed them to be open and double-sided to strike the right balance between openness, connection, and definition between the two spaces. And I love how the owner populated the shelves with more than books!

'The simple geometry (and the owner's design eye) brings order and cohesion to a variety of books, a stack of wood boxes, a collection of vases, a favorite piece of sculpture.'

3 buys to add interest to your blank living room walls

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.