BUILD CHARACTER WITH WHIMSICAL VINTAGE WALL ACCENTS
Your boring wall cure-all? Vintage wall accents. For those areas of the home where standard framed art feels less than thrilling, consider decking the walls in unexpected wall accents. From flags to decorative plates, there’s no shortage of options to enthrall your walls. Yet, knowing which wall accent ideas best suit your style (and home) can be a challenge. To help, we’ve cued up a wall accent idea starter kit. From large wall accents like flags to small wall accents like wall pockets, here are seven genius wall accent ideas to consider for any space.
You heard it here first: flags don’t have to have dorm room connotations. In fact, so long as they’re framed, there are few large wall accents that make quite the same impact as flags. Richly colored with billboard-sized graphics, flags add instant gravitas to a space. While there’s no denying the appeal of using an American flag for decor (pro idea: turn it on its short side to procure a bit of unexpected interest), don’t count them as the only option—and if you’re not into them, no problem. Nautical or sea flags can be fairly easily sourced and provide bold graphics and eye-catching color with none of the symbolic overtones usually associated with national or state flags.
Few things are as tricky as sourcing large wall art on a budget. Thankfully, vintage signs are large wall accents that can usually be sourced for less than custom, or even big box, art. Use vintage signs as wall accents for the dining room, kitchen, or entry. Their rustic nature can infuse a space with an instant casualness. Look for old signs touting farm-fresh goods if your style is farmhouse chic, or old cobbler or optometrist shop signs if your style is a bit more eclectic or industrial-inspired. Don’t rule out single letter signs, either. While they may not have the same presence as large wood wall signs when standing solo, they can be combined to stunning effect. Among the most ingenious ways to use them? Stacked vertically to spell a word in a hallway, kitchen, or kid’s bath.
Want more wall accent ideas for the dining room or kitchen? You can hardly ever go wrong with decorative wall plates. While most plates are too small to hold their own on a large wall, arranging several small plates in a collection can make a striking statement. If you’re wondering what kinds of plates are worthy of display, consider blue and white willow platters collected in different shapes and sizes, as well as majolica plates. Cabbage plates are a designer favorite and are ideal for anyone vying for a monochromatic look. For something a bit more playful, try trompe l'oeil plates or colorful oyster plates. More of a modernist? Fornasetti wall plates will lend your walls a whimsically modern touch.
Sculptural Wall Objects
While virtually any wall accent will add a dimension to a space, there’s something especially dynamic about sculptural wall objects. If the name “sculptural wall objects” eludes you, try visualizing the gold wall accents by maker C. Jere. Founded in California in 1964, C. Jere metal wall accents consist of everyday objects like bridges, owls, trees, and ships rendered in bronze or brass. Many other designers followed suit, with modern gold wall accents featuring similar subject matter, although many take a much stronger Brutalist stance. If you crave the dimension of sculptural wall accents, you prefer something less modern, you might consider horns or antlers mounted on black forest-style plaques or Neoclassical-style plaster medallions.
Like flags, maps pinned to a wall are a bit underwhelming. But when framed, maps become unexpectedly chic, large wall accents. Consider black and white maps if you’re looking for something that pairs easily with just about anything, or spring for something vividly colored if you’re looking to make a photographic-like statement. If a single map seems like too much of a flat expanse for your taste, consider slicing a single map into two, four, six, or more segments. Outfit each in identical frames and hang them in a grid-work pattern to add interest to an otherwise barren wall. The effect will be similar to a window, but with an added pictorial element.
Especially when hunting for wall accents for a bedroom, you often want something that skews softer than spiny or spindly. While we’ll never dismiss the beauty of a starburst C. Jere metal wall accent can lend to a bedroom, wall hangings like dream catchers, macrame, or other fiber wall art pieces can feel more apt for a room where sleeping and decompressing from the day occurs. If you’re looking for wall hangings, there’s no shortage of options, although macrame is likely one of the more common styles you'll come across. Macrame is a type of textile created by tying a material like string, cotton, twine, jute, or hemp into a complex series of knots. Macrame pieces can be small-scale or oversized. Hang a small macrame wall accent over a nightstand or other small case piece, or try a large macrame piece in place of a traditional headboard.
Wall pockets are small glass or ceramic vases equipped with flat backs that allow them to be hung on a wall. Popular during the Victorian era, these small wall accents were used to corral fresh flowers in the home—interesting to note is that some wall pockets were also designed to adorn the backseat of the world’s very first automobiles! Today, wall pockets take on new life when grouped as part of a larger gallery wall. Whether used to add dimension between standard framed art, or integrated into a collection of mounted majolica plates, wall pockets provide a sense of the unexpected. We also love the idea of integrating one into a corkboard or mood board—they’re an inspired place to stow scissors, pens, rulers, and the like.