One-Wall Makeover Ideas

Burst of Color
Take a second look at your walls and find creative ways to add storage, function, and beauty, with these one-wall redos.

Annex a Wall as a Comfortable Nook

If you're remodeling a space and have a wall you're unsure about, ask your contractor if there are any opportunities to recess larger spots in order to build in elements such as shelves, drawers, and even a daybed. Here, beaded board provides visual relief, small recessed lights offer illumination, and cozy cushions invite relaxation.

Inset Decorative Shelves

A single wall can be used to create a cohesive look in a room, accenting moldings, colors, and other elements. Here, the classical curved shape of the shelves—inset into a niche in the wall—offer a lovely spot to display photos, books, and colorful accents that contrast with the textured, mostly neutral wallpaper.

Establish Separate Work Zones

A single wall—particularly when it's located in a heavy traffic area—can easily be divided into distinct zones to accomplish different goals. This one uses materials—beaded board—to distinguish the area with hooks (cleverly placed at two separate heights). Below the window, another shelving unit (also with beaded board on the back wall) offers a convenient spot for shoes and loose ends.

Incorporate a Bar Area

A narrow spot next to a table may not be big enough for a full-size console table. This clever arrangement demonstrates how to add beautiful storage that’s budget friendly as well as space smart. Two narrow shelves—suspended from the wall and supported by a single pair of legs—are just deep enough for a few wine bottles and a tray. Two rolling cabinets (cushioned for extra seating) supply moveable storage, too.

Take the guesswork out of hanging wall decor with these helpful tips for selecting and arranging artwork.

Watch: More Ideas for Decorating a Wall

Divide a Wall Horizontally

With storage needs accommodated elsewhere in this combination office/playroom, the homeowners were free to introduce a bit of practical play into their one-wall makeover. To delineate kid space from adult space, a center narrow shelf divides the two. Corkboard up top equals room for a calendar, design swatches, and more; a chalkboard and hooks below offer kid-friendly drawing space.

Remake Garage Storage

There’s no need to invest lots of money or even hours of time into remaking a single wall. In a mostly utilitarian space, such as a garage, a tall rectangle of pegboard is a practical, simple solution to storing things such as tools plus gardening, and party supplies. To increase flexibility in storage solutions, consider a rolling cart, which can be moved around as the need arises.

Turn a Hallway into a Mudroom

If you don’t have a dedicated spot in your home to stash the daily collection of coats, bags, shoes, and accessories, you’re probably suffering a storage headache. A deep hallway can provide help, with the addition of a bench, cubbyholes, doors, and drawers. Pretty woodwork helps tie it to the rest of the house.

Add Display and Seating Space to a Lost Nook

Most homes have that space—a small corner, an awkward between-room area—that doesn’t get as much use as it could or should. Focusing on remaking the wall is a good way to think about the practical and pretty uses for those spots. Here, narrow recessed shelves work well to display a restrained collection of photos and treasured items; below, a deep bench and built-in drawers add a restful, practical seating spot.

Create a Display Wall

Your wall may not be deep enough to offer any additional storage opportunities. Instead, turn it into a surface that’s an exuberant, rotating display of your family’s loves, passions, and interests. Here, a slim piece of steel, framed by wide trim work, dresses up a long wall in the kitchen.

Turn Between-Studs Space into Storage

Even the most space-strapped rooms have one-wall storage that they’re probably not using. Those spaces—while fairly shallow—are good spots for storing bottles, towels, or extra home supplies. Here, a bathroom wall maxes out on productivity, with matching storage spaces dressed up with pretty wood-and-glass doors.

Boost Storage with a Single Wall

Walls are sometimes just pass-through areas, but even the shallowest of spaces can be put to good use. Here, wine storage and a TV are the focus of a large wall in this expansive kitchen and eating area. The pretty painted woodwork dresses up the area around the wine bottles, and shelves and drawers offer hardworking, but decorative elements in the room. 

Create a Decorative and Hardworking Room Entry

Even on functional wall makeovers, the space adjacent to the ceiling is often ignored. This redo shows how to put that area to good use. To maintain visual continuity on a wall unit such as this, pick up on details—extra wide, white—from painted molding.

Combine Open and Closed Storage

A recessed niche once again proves a storage lifesaver in a hallway, as well as provides design-smart lessons on how to stash items out in the open. A double set of doors disguises linens, while color coordinated, labeled baskets keep often used items within easy view.

Integrate a Family Work Area

A large wall and an adjacent window offers a prime spot for a focal point desk for this busy family. While this version is a built-in, a stand-alone furniture piece works just as well. In place of art above the work surface, an oversize chalkboard, outlined with wood trim, is a great spot for messages, reminders, and calendar updates.

Stagger Shelving

Instead of placing them equidistant and evenly stacked, this homeowner chose lengths of unequal shelving placed at varying spots, one serving as a tabletop surface. To set off a wall space with dedicated use, consider using paint in a bright color—here, a chalkboard surface adds a bit of whimsy.

Solve Utilitarian Needs

A small laundry room offered these homeowners no space for a full-size ironing board. One narrow piece of wall provided a solution, with an add-on cabinet that has just enough space for a fold-out version. It's an idea that can be adapted to other working spaces, too, such as a crafts room (fold-out cutting table) or a kids room (fold-down desk). 

Break Up a Wall

Bookshelves along an entire wall may be too overwhelming of a view. Here, though, an oversize niche is a good spot for a comfortable love seat. In order to maximize storage, the bookshelves extend along the ceiling while baskets provide visual and textural relief.

Create a Focal Point with an Unusual Material

Some small wall areas have fairly simple purposes, such as a few shelves for storage or a countertop. But that doesn’t mean you have to leave elegance behind. Here, a lovely multicolor glass tile adds beauty and glamour to this kitchen niche.

Add Function and Beauty

A wall that’s tucked against a corner, with no windows and little opportunity for flexible use, nonetheless still presents a design opportunity. Here, this contemporary minded room had little space next to the fireplace for practical storage of wood and tools. The solution? A dark corner got an upgrade with shelves—painted to accent the mostly neutral color scheme—that offer expansive area at the bottom.

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