Adding Non-Art to Your Walls

Addressing the vertical planes of your home is much more than painting the walls – you will want to add visual interest by adorning them with unique pieces. While art is a go-to for most homeowners, adding non-art to your walls can truly heighten the overall design.

For the sake of this article, we are defining art as hand-created, two-dimensional images, usually framed in a square or rectangle. Some clients have a large collection of investment art and want to turn their home into a gallery. In this case, we play down all of the other elements in the room and let the art talk. However, most people have many different elements they want to include, which can provide too much visual information. Spreading the pieces around the space in a cohesive manner allows everything to be included without being overwhelming.

We often include non-art in our interior design schemes, usually in response to either our client wanting to feature one beautiful piece from their collection, or us finding the perfect artwork for their design. That special piece of art is placed in one location for impact, but then we have at least three more walls and the other bits of space on the same wall that need to be addressed without creating competition or redundancy. We certainly do not want to lessen the impact of the wow piece! So we add items that will not fight for attention and will complement the piece-de-resistance.

Options for Adding Non-Art to Your Walls:

Play with Framing:

Large matting and framing adds negative space to a wall, bringing visual interest to the overall space. For example, if you have a large stamp collection, consider hanging some of the special ones in a large mat and frame. We recently found some intaglios (small, round plaster cast with figures on them), which we framed up large to add impact to our client’s walls. Small items such as pressed leaves, tickets from concerts or travels, even your child’s handprint, can be used in this manner as well. You can create pattern by repeating a collection all framed in a similar way on the wall.

Pictures of leaves


Sculptural and Found Items:

Organic elements like metal or wood are excellent options for adding non-art to your walls. For example, our client raises horses, so we hung a lovely horse artwork in her lower level remodel. We wanted to add something rustic and interesting to complement the art. Antique metal ceiling tiles were the perfect solution, adding architectural interest and pattern to the walls without competing with the artwork.

Basement remodeling project


Found items – those things you run across that spoke to you for some reason and are now taking up space in your home – are perfect opportunities to add a unique look to your space. Have an interest in antique farm tools? Not sure what to do with your grandmother’s lovely antique plates? Holding onto a piece of gorgeous fabric for some occasion? Hang them on your walls! Small shelves are perfect to display china or pottery, and you can stretch that lovely fabric over a piece of canvas or have it matted and framed.

Non-Art Design



Mirrors offer another easy and beautiful opportunity to add different elements to your vertical space. In the space pictured below, we added a large mirror to a dining room wall and surrounded it with smaller art pieces. The reflective nature of the mirror brought smoothness to the highly textured grass cloth wall covering, while adding light and visual interest.

dining room design

In another design project, we lined a narrow wall with small mirrors framed in varying shapes to add some pop to an otherwise boring space. Mirrors are versatile – get creative!



Adding light fixtures to your walls does not have to always be about lighting your space. There are beautiful sconces available that will not only add ambiance with their light, but will also bring a sculptural element to a room. We often use sconces as another layer of wall design, placing them next to tall furniture, working them into wainscoting, or framing a window or art piece.

wall sconces


At Hoskins Interior Design, creating unique and interesting spaces is our goal. One of the ways we achieve this look is by bringing different elements together in a cohesive way without being redundant. We encourage our clients to be creative with their walls, to think outside the box about what belongs there. Non-art is also a fun way to bring their interests and personality into their space. For more advice on how to add visual interest to your interior design through non-art, send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986.




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