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Wall Decor Ideas - What to Put on Your Apartment Walls

Options for Making Your Place Your Own

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Wall decor is central to any apartment-decorating effort, and it's a large part of what makes your apartment look and feel like it's yours. Once you've got some good wall decor ideas, you're just a step away from making your place that much more attractive and welcoming.

More so than furniture, the items you choose for your walls, as well as their placement and arrangement, are unique to you and help you personalize your rental. For example, once you get a bedroom set delivered, your bedroom will probably become one of many with that same set. But once you finish decorating your walls, your apartment becomes unmistakably yours.

You have several options to consider when it comes to wall decor ideas for your apartment:

1. Nothing

Frames on wall with present on table
Jeremy Samuelson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

It might seem strange to start this list with "nothing." But this is to make an important point upfront: sometimes, adding nothing to a particular part of a wall is the best solution.

With so many attractive options for wall decor out there, you may be tempted to choose what you think would be the best items to place on a particular part of your wall all the time.

But it's always worthwhile to consider the total room decor when focusing on one spot. You may realize that the room has enough wall decor already or that adding wall decor to a certain part of your wall would unnecessarily clutter up that space.

2. Paintings and Other Flat Artwork

Wall painting
© Digital Vision / Getty Images

Flat artwork, such as paintings, is what often first comes to mind when reading the words "wall decor," and for good reason. Flat artwork is available in so many varieties that it suits just about every style.

From framed black-and-white prints to colorful textured canvases, flat artwork can enliven your walls.

Most apartments have at least some examples of flat artwork in their wall decor.

3. Family Photos and Other Personal Items

Wall photos
© Digital Vision / Getty Images

You might have tons of images on your computer or smartphone, but displaying your best photos on the walls of your apartment means keeping friends and family close.

Photos on the wall serve as a happy reminder of your favorite people, fun vacations, and more.

A photo often becomes part of an apartment's wall decor when framed and hung. Or, a framed photo can be displayed on a shelf, as discussed below.

Aside from photos, you may choose to display family heirlooms, religious items, or other pieces that have sentimental value or unique meaning to you, such as an old license plate or a college banner.

4. Mirrors, Clocks and Other Functional Items

Wall clock
© Kim Heisler / SXC

Certain items that we like to hang on our walls may be decorative but are also quite functional.

Perhaps the two best examples of this are mirrors and clocks.

Mirrors help you know you're looking good before you leave your apartment, and they can also serve to make an apartment look and feel bigger.

Rather than pull the smartphone out of your pocket, a quick glance at a clock on a wall can tell you if you're running on time.

Other examples of functional wall decor include decorative coat racks, bulletin boards, wall-mounted televisions, and accent lighting.

5. Diplomas, Awards, and Other Signs of Achievement

Wall diplomas
© Thinkstock Images / Getty Images

If you've got a home office in your apartment, displaying a diploma, certificate, or evidence of some professional achievement is a no-brainer.

Aside from a home office, you may wish to show off your educational credentials by hanging your framed diploma on the wall.

If you've got kids, you can display evidence of your child's achievements proudly on your apartment walls (in addition to your fridge).

6. Tapestries and Other Textile Art

Tapestry
© Yellow Dog Productions / Getty Images

Printed on painted on heavy cloth and often hung by a decorative rod, tapestries add a touch of class to any apartment.

Tapestries are harder to come by than other types of wall hangings, and so they're often not even considered by many apartment dwellers.

But a well-placed tapestry can add warmth and variety to an apartment's decor.

7. Shelving and Sconces

Shelving
© ULTRA F / Getty Images

You can add shelving to your apartment walls on your own or with the help of a friend. Use shelves to store and display a range of items, from books and CDs to candles and knick-knacks.

Shelves come in a variety of styles to match your apartment decor. Plus, if you hang multiple shelves on your walls, you can simply line them up vertically, or you can place them in different ways to add some creativity to their arrangement.

When buying shelving, be sure to measure the wall area to determine how long a shelf you works best. Also, don't overlook the width, which determines how much space you have between the wall and the edge of the shelf to store items. If you intend to include some books or larger items on your shelves, opt for a wider shelf, such as eight inches, or a corner shelf.

Sconces can add a nice touch to your decor by providing a small ledge for a light or votive. You may also use sconces to house a small plant or other decorative item.

8. Curios and Other Display Cases

Wall cabinet
© Jupiterimages / Getty Images

Hanging curio cabinets, also known as just curios, on your apartment wall can be the perfect way to show off a collection of small, precious items while keeping them protected.

You can, of course, use display cases to showcase anything you like. Swarovski crystals, Fabergé eggs, trinket boxes, porcelain figurines, and similar keepsakes are ideal candidates for curio cabinets.

If you're an avid sports fan, you can display autographed baseballs, caps, and jerseys in specialty display cases that you can find online or at a sports memorabilia store.

9. Sculptures and Other 3-D Artwork

3-D Wall Art
© Southern Stock / Getty Images

A three-dimensional work of art on your wall can attract compliments and easily serve as the focal point of a room.

Shadowboxes, metallic designs, embossed tiles, and more can be interesting in themselves while also adding variety to your wall decor.

Sculptures and other three-dimensional works of art that are suitable for your wall can be found online as well as mixed in with paintings and other flat artwork at stores that carry home decor.

10. Wallpaper, Borders, and Appliques

Border
© Grant Faint / Getty Images

Putting up wallpaper can bring patterns and add multiple colors to your wall that a typical paint job can't accomplish.

Borders, which are like wallpaper but on a smaller scale, can add a nice touch to a kitchen or bring cheer and a theme to a nursery.

Appliques are images or letters that you stick onto your wall and can easily take off, if you wish. You can buy an applique of your child's favorite superhero or use a service to convert a family photo into an applique for your wall.

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