How to Decorate that Sliver of Wall and other Small Wall Design Ideas

Art really sets a home apart and showcases the owner’s personality and style. A neutral sofa, while super functional, can only say so much about you, but the colors, themes, and styles of art and wall decor you choose for your space give it a personal touch. Art transform a room into special havens for you and your family. Petite and unexpected places offer the perfect opportunity for small wall design ideas, so we’re sharing our favorite ways to hang art on a sliver of wall.

1. Add a Sconce and a Petite Painting

Turn a small wall into a stylish moment by pairing a quirky wall sconce with a painting. We designed our Edwin Hand Wall Sconce after seeing an antique in a boutique hotel, and we love the way it echos the antique feel of this small painting. The sconce also casts a beautiful glow on the art, setting the mood and creating a focal point.


2. Prop Up Some Plants

Hang a couple of wall brackets and rotate your favorite house plants, sculptures, or vases seasonally to inject fresh color and personality into a hardworking room like a mudroom. 

Keep Reading: How to Add a Decorative Wall Bracket into Your Room

3. Add a Small Shelf

One of our favorite small wall design ideas is to take a narrow wall and make it useful by adding small shelves. Display your favorite trinkets, store art supplies in a home office, or elevate jewelry in a bedroom.

4. Hang Family Photos in an Unexpected Way

Looking for foolproof small wall ideas? Take your favorite family photos and hang them in an unconventional frame. Our Brass & Acrylic Wall Easels take your family portraits up a notch by placing them between acrylic sheets and mounting them with chic brass hardware. We love how the absence of a frame emphasizes the subject matter.

Mix art styles and frames together on a wall like we've done in this secretary space of a living room

5. Mix Frames of Small Wall Design Ideas

Don’t get hung up on perfectly coordinating every finish amongst your wall decor. In fact, we prefer wall design ideas to have a little variety in each frame. Take the little art arrangement above. We used three traditional landscape pieces, each in different frames. Two hang together on the wall, and a third is displayed in a Gallery Easel on the secretary.

Keep Reading: Hanging Wall Art – The Complete Guide 


6. Add a Graphic Wall Sculpture

Wall decor doesn’t have to mean art. Add a sculpture or other small wall design ideas to your wall to create a focal point. The overlapping squares in our Square Link Wall D├ęcor contrast the oversized round Thomas Mirror, balancing one another out. Plus, the vibrant brass finish of the sculpture pops against a black wall.

Keep Reading: 10 Ways to Fill a Blank Wall 

A pair of gold flowers hung next to a large secretary cabinet from Ballard Designs

7. Two is Better than One

When you’re choosing the size of your art pieces, apply the same rules to small wall design ideas that you would for other spaces. In our Hanging Wall Art Guide, we suggest choosing art that is 50-75% the size of the piece of furniture it hangs over. The same rule applies to any art you’re hanging on a narrow wall. Your art pieces should fill about 50-75% of the wall, so consider adding more than one piece. Here, we chose a matching pair to tuck into a sliver of wall next to a secretary.

 8. Don’t Forget Drapery

While it’s not considered wall decor exactly, drapery panels often serve the same purpose. We recommend hanging drapery hardware at least 6-8 inches out from the edge of your window moulding. This allows you to pull your drapery panel back from the window to let in as much light as possible, plus the panel will fill any blank wall space you have next to your window.

Art and demilune table in entryway from Ballard Designs

9. Tables and Small Wall Design Ideas

Just about any small sliver of wall can become useful if you add a small table and some art. Choose a demilune table in a tight space. The lack of corners will make it easy to navigate around, and it won’t feel as heavy visually. Top the table with a pair of art prints to create a pretty, functional moment in an otherwise unused space.

Looking for more color inspiration? Check out these posts below: 

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    May 28, 2021

    Do my lamps have to match? Can they be different shapes, finishes? And do the shades have to be the same color and shape?
    Thank you

    • Reply

      Abbey Nolte

      June 10, 2021

      Hi Debbie,
      It’s ok if they don’t always match. You can mix and match different shapes and finishes, just try to keep them the same height as each other so they have the same visual impact. You don’t want one to take away from the other.
      Hope that helps,

  2. Reply


    May 29, 2020

    Would love to get the paint colors that are in the Alana fabric!