Home Ownership

5 Cheap, Easy and Creative Ways to Deal with a Bad Wall

Is there an ugly wall or two in your home that you just can’t stand?

Cracks, stains, uneven textures or decades worth of old wallpaper can turn an ordinary wall into an eyesore. Fixing the imperfections isn’t always easy, and you may not have the time, energy or budget to handle it right away. (Or, you may still be renting, in which case you may not even have the option to do anything with the walls at all, let alone renovate.)

That doesn’t mean, however, that you’re stuck looking at an unsightly, imperfect mess of a wall for the duration. There are all kinds of creative approaches you can take to the situation that are budget-friendly and quick to do. Here are some options:

1. Create a Special Accent Wall

Typically, an accent wall is one wall in a room that’s painted a much bolder color than the rest to attract the onlooker’s eye and add visual interest to a room. It may seem like a bad idea to actually draw attention to a wall that’s got problems, but that’s only because a vibrant coat of paint isn’t where you stop.

You can turn your bad wall into a special feature of your home simply by hanging a collage of mirrors (which will also make the room look larger) or making the wall your designated art gallery for all your favorite prints or original pieces. That will put the focus on something other than the wall that’s just holding things up.

What if you don’t have a lot of art or a collection of mirrors sitting around? You still have options! Ornamental shelving can do wonders for a bad wall – especially if you happen to pack the shelves with plants, collections you happen to treasure or all the curiosities you’ve collected over your lifetime.

2. Break Out the Wainscotting

“Wainscotting” is a wall covering that only covers the bottom third of a wall, typically framed in with rail molding. It is an excellent way to hide damage to walls that may have accrued over the years from kids banging into them or chairs bumping up against them – which is why it’s often used in dining rooms. 

Wainscotting panels are usually easy to install and fairly inexpensive, but they add a quick touch of elegance to a room and literally make damaged lower walls vanish. Typically, the wainscotting is painted a different color from the top part of the walls, so it often helps create both depth and warmth in a room.

3. Consider Wood Paneling

If you were a kid in the 70s or 80s, you may shudder to even think that wood paneling would be a solution – but the days where every home had the same ugly faux wood covered with plastic film are long over. 

Today, wood paneling is typically made of real wood, and you have tons of styles to choose from. If you have a room with one or more very damaged walls and you don’t want to do a complete tear-out, wood paneling can come to your rescue.

4. Try Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper

Regular wallpaper is not cheap – and it’s definitely not easy to hang. However, you can now buy temporary wallpaper that’s ridiculously easy to both apply and remove. The adhesive on the back of the paper is already there, and it’s not very strong.

This kind of wallpaper has become a favorite among apartment dwellers and homeowners alike. For those in apartments, peel-and-stick wallpaper is something they can use to brighten up a dull room without damaging the walls and violating their lease. Homeowners favor it because it offers convenient solutions for ugly walls and a way to experiment with their overall decor without making a costly commitment.

5. Use Tapestries and Oversized Art Pieces

Is it just one wall that’s driving you crazy because of damage that cuts right through the center of the space? Well, why not just cover it up with something you enjoy seeing, instead?

Large art pieces are great for this kind of thing, and they can turn into a bold statement piece that even sets the tone for the rest of your decor. However, if that seems like it might be overwhelming, you can also go the tapestry route. A tapestry in an abstract or geometric pattern can not only hide a whole unsightly wall but add texture and warmth to a room that feels a little two-dimensional or cold.

6. Get a Little Creative with Curtains

Curtains don’t have to be strictly for windows, you know. If you have a wall that is just plain ugly or boring and you really can’t decide what to do with it, floor-length curtains can make an enviable backdrop for a bed, a reading chair, your yoga spot or something else. 

Using floor-length curtains also creates the illusion of height, which can make a room look bigger and grander. While a curtain may not be a permanent fix, it can give you some much needed psychological relief by hiding that bad wall until you’re ready to deal with it.

If you do own the property where you live, there’s no reason to let an ugly wall interfere with your enjoyment of your home. There are plenty of quality contractors, painters and other service providers in the area who would love your business. They can get your walls into shape with a minimum of trouble for you.