5 Tips to Enhance the Style & Function of a Tiny Wall

Many of us have them. Tiny walls, that is. Whether a few inches wide or a few feet wide or an awkward height, or all of the above, small walls definitely pose a decorating challenge. Do we ignore and leave them alone to make them essentially disappear? Do we highlight them with something bold and splashy to make them seem intentional and important? Although there are actually more options than one might think to make a tiny wall have stylistic purpose, here are some ways you can use a small and/or awkward wall space to your advantage:


Add a simple piece of furniture. In this case, a narrow table with a well-edited vignette adds a lot to the otherwise “wasted” half-wall under this staircase. In general, keeping the furniture proportionate to the wall itself will maximize the entire impact of the space; the wall will neither appear too small nor the furniture too wimpy if both are matched in scale.


Add functional storage. If your tiny wall is tucked away between two more “important” architectural elements (in this case, the door and shower), consider making it not a wall at all but rather a functional space that can house any number of useful and/or beautiful items. In this case, shelves and drawers were built into the space that otherwise would have been a useless 12” wall. Drawers will house unsightly but necessary items, while shelves will display items to carry out the décor scheme.


Add a column and/or protruding half-wall. In the wall of just a few inches next to the front door, a decorative column with attached half-wall serves a number of useful purposes: (1) it’s a chance to prominently showcase beautiful mouldings at several key visual levels, (2) it provides a small space to temporarily set down items while shoes are being removed or put back on, (3) it serves as a gentle but firm division between the entry and the living area. This is an excellent intentional use of wall space that would otherwise be wasted.


Turn it into a mini workspace. Although this small wall is set back into a nook (which makes for an easy and fairly obvious transition from wall to workspace), the idea holds true for any meter-wide wall. As long as there’s enough room behind the chair to be appropriate and safe for a walkway, this is an excellent use of a small wall space. Notice how items on the table are kept simple and sparse, so as to not overwhelm the small area and draw attention unfavorably to its size.


Incorporate one, and one only, large-scale piece and let it shine. This idea, although it may feel counterintuitive, can work successfully because the narrow wall serves to frame out the larger, bolder piece…which, coincidentally, may then seem larger and bolder than normal because of the smaller wall. Here, a chunky hammered metal round mirror atop subtly shimmering wallpaper, is a wonderful choice of being impressively large-scale without being clownish.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.



Published by in How To, Tips, and Advice, on February 10th, 2013

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