Jamie’s Tall Wall Dilemma

Remember how I told you the words “I’ve got a room that could use a little lovin” are like the opposite of kryptonite to me? Well, John and Sherry over at Young House Love blogged about one of their reader’s design dilemmas last week, and then titled the post: “Ideas Anyone?”.

Young House Love Design Dilemma

So, of course, I couldn’t resist playing around with the photo (Jamie)  submitted to them! Here it is:

Young House Love Reader Dilemma

Jamie’s letter read:

We have this huge blank wall that has an awkward vent & our doorbell in weird spots, along with 2 doorways and an off-center vault in the ceiling! Fun, fun. I can’t really put any furniture on the wall, so I’m trying to figure out how to decorate it so that is kid/pet-friendly and not too spendy. You can see in the photos we have warmish gray walls, medium-toned wood floors, and lots of black & white accents. Thanks in advance! 


Ok. What if Jamie and her hubby removed the little half-round table (that’s currently sitting on the left side of the sofa) and brought in a long, slender console table up against the wall in question:

Young House Love | Jamie Design Dilemma

Maybe one that only has two legs so that it doesn’t stick out into the room very far…kind of like this:

Two Legs Console Table


And then to help break up the massive expanse of drywall on that wall, what if they panelled or planked it with wood, and then repainted it the same color as the rest of the room again. Then, to help disguise the vent (and visually break up the wall even more) what if they laid one long plank horizontally from one side of the room to the other? They could cut out a hole for the vent cover, and even paint it the same color as the rest of the wall…kind of like this:

YHL wall idea 1

I also suggested using some rustic beams (they could be real or faux) along the wall where it meets the ceiling because I like the way it ties together with the tone of the floor. And I forgot to do it in my mock up, but the doorbell could get painted the same color as the wall, too.

Idea #2 involves installing a wood-planked ceiling…

YHL wall idea 2

(Why not, right?) 😀

…and idea #3 is similar to idea #1 except instead of a warm gray-painted horizontal plank, I added a long rustic wood plank:

YHL wall idea 3

Again, they could cut a hole for the vent and paint it a similar brown color so that it *sort of* disappears, and they could paint the doorbell the same color as the wall, too.

As for the art and accessories below the horizontal plank- I just quickly popped a variety of things in there, but the sky’s the limit when it comes to they could do there. For me, this challenge was more about trying to figure out a way to “bring down” the lower part of the wall to a more human scale so that it would be easier to decorate however they want. Hence, the horizontal plank! :-)

Anywho, those are just the first few things that sprang to mind when I was playing around with Jamie’s pic. If you’d like to throw out some suggestions for her to read/see, head on over to John and Sherry’s post to join in on the fun!

PS- Interested in learning how to create inspiration photos like the ones in this post? Click here: Room Makeover class. :-)

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  1. annie says

    This gives me some ideas…..I have REALLY tall wall that goes up to our 2nd story’s eaves. It is completely blank and looks so boring. Thanks for the tips!

  2. gourmet goddess says

    As always Layla, you have put forward some wonderful ideas. I love wood plank on the wall, it warms up the hole room and makes it very cosy. The idea of painting the vent and door bell ringer the same colour as the wall is the only way to “hide” them and i think the wood plank is more forgiving and they will become “lost” when you decorate , as you have indicated,… otherwise as the wall is painted now they are obvious and your eye is drawn to them everytime.

    keep on inspiring us…


  3. says

    I am so in love with that dual personality console table you posted. Where can I fit one in my house is the new question of my life, haha!

  4. Lauryn says

    Can I just say these are great?!? It’s definitely a tough design dilemma, but you rocked it. LOVE it!!

  5. Sue says

    Gosh, you’re goooood!!! Not only are all three options beautiful, but the spaces look cosy and are personalized to boot :)

  6. says

    You nailed it! I would have recommended exactly what you did: installing wood to the walls and painting it and the vent and doorbell cover to be the same color as the walls, so that they blend in. They will still be able to see them, of course, but your eyes are not drawn to them if they are painted the exact same color. I’ve used this “trick” a few places in my house, and it really does work.

  7. Molly says

    A friend’s house has a similar wall and has a Shaker-style shelf from the previous owners. It’s placement is the same as the wood plank – but instead of a flat plank, there’s a ledge on the top and peg hooks. My friends change it seasonally with decorations, family photos, etc. personally – I like the design aesthetic of JUST a plank. But there’s something to be said for the functionality of the Shaker style shelf.

  8. Megan W. says

    You my dear, are nothing short of ….”where does she come up with this stuff?”…..to,…. “If I could just peak inside her creative brain for like one minute”! I actually saw this post on John and Sherry’s blog….but you just take it to the level of cozy all the time!

    So what does a girl have to do to get your input on a small bathroom that just has a budget for color change and no destruction? We have been married for 17 years and three kids later still on a super tight budget. :(

    Megan W.

  9. says

    The horizontal beam is genius! Looks awesome. Wish I had some tall ceilings that needed dealing with, mine are all short! :)

  10. says

    Wow! I LOVE this set up! I didn’t even think about a thin table there but that would look so cute and I like the idea of a gallery wall with shelves!

  11. Kate says

    I actually saw this at Young House Love last week and wondered to myself what you would do:) I love your cozy style and I think this would be perfect! You are very talented!

  12. Karen says

    Wow, Layla! You are amazing and I am learning a lot from you. I did think of a console table there but that’s as far as I got. You really knocked it out of the park. I want that room!

  13. Stacie says

    I love the feature wall but the color is a bit dark for me. With that vaulted ceiling… it would be nice to be light and bright. It would really make the awesome wood floor pop. My two cents…

  14. says

    As soon as I saw her big blank wall I thought about putting a series of ledges on it. That would allow her to cover more of the wall vertically without getting a giant piece of artwork. I love your idea for the long wood panel with the camouflaged vent. And the beams along the edge of the ceiling really tie it in.

  15. Kate C says

    I have the same wall on either end of my living room, and we’re having the same issues. Unfortunately, our furniture can not face the same direction as her’s does, which presents more of an issue. But I have longed for some way to bring molding into this room, and your mock ups of rustic beams look great! Could you point me in the direction of a how to or something that might give more explanation on how that look is achieved?

  16. Kathy Benca says

    I LOVE your idea! I really need some help with my bathroom vanity area…maybe I should submit it to either you or Sheri! 😉

  17. says

    I saw that post and offered some similar suggestions re: the little table and picture ledge but you knocked it out of the park with the horizontal beam idea. Absolutely brilliant and makes it look so much better!

  18. Lauren says

    Awesome ideas! Definitely accomplishes what Jamie wanted I think! I hope she sees this.

  19. says

    Straight to the comments after seeing your idea. Perfecto!!! I think number one is great and I think it is better to keep the plank in the same hue as the walls. It visually breaks up the wall (great idea!) but doesn’t stand out too much like with the rustic wood. The rustic wood would be fine if they love, but although I LOVE alot of planking, the ceiling is too much for me with that wall. NOW….when you spoke of the long, narrow table and then showed I believe the PB one–I thought of the WM one which we bought to fill a long space and be a little tight with our money. I tried MMS milk paint for the first time, antique waxed it, and still have to add handles. But a great deal, especially if on sale. Check it out: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/everett+foyer+table.do?from=Search&cx=0
    and all furniture is 25% off right now–hop on this one Jamie!! Paint and knobs will make it to YOUR liking! It has great lines, yes? Love your plank idea above the doors and accross the wall. This definately fixes the space Layla! Now make sure Jamie gets all our ideas/suggestions please :) Can you tell I get a little excited too?

  20. Toria Davis says

    I love what you did with this room!!! I also saw this post on Young House Love and tried to figure out ways in which to make the room seem less vast. The wood planks on the wall add interest while also making the wall a part of the room. And who could resist adding the wood beams :)

  21. Marisa Franca says

    I think your ideas are great!! Wish you could come to our house and look at our bedroom. It is almost impossible to arrange furniture because of so many windows. The windows are off center and we can’t place the furniture. It looks like everything is crammed together on one side. I haven’t had the ambition to decorate because I’m stymied what to do :-(

  22. Robyn says

    My first thought was paint the wall white to make the weird ceilingline and bits on the wall appear less obvious, then decorate as in your last picture.

  23. Julia G. says

    Layla – your ideas for Jamie’s wall will work on my tall wall! Thanks for the inspirations.

  24. says

    Love it!! I’ve been browsing real estate a lot lately, and have seen several similar walls that need your help! 😉 I’m excited about the room makeover class!! I’ll have to convince the hubby that I need to take it! :) I tried my hand at it this week while shopping for a new living room rug, but I have SOOO much to learn!

  25. Carol says

    Hi Layla. Love what you’ve done. Did you try the planks horizontally? Just thought it might play down the wall height. Whatever you choose will look fabulous.

  26. Kris says

    I like numbers one and three. Since I live in an older house with low ceilings, I love the lofty look of a vaulted ceiling, and the beams are just the right touch to make the scale more intimate without being too heavy.

    I LOVE that you are using real homes with real design dilemmas and showing (affordable!) solutions. Keep ’em coming!

  27. Tiff says

    That PB Tivoli console table is at the top of my wish list for a very similar wall that I have. Gratifying to know I’m on the same track as the pros!!

  28. Brooke says

    Where oh where do we find old beams? Layla, would you tell us what kind of new wood you would use, how thick etc? I have the same wall.

    My mother lives in a house built with all old posts and beams from barns in northern WI but I can’t steal her beams. :) Her barn is 30 years old.

  29. Steve says

    These look great. My home has a very similar wall except the peak is centered instead of being to one side. I have the sofa along that wall, and solved the problem fairly well with a pair of watercolors over the sofa, which measure about 4 1/2 high. They fill the space pretty well.

    I wish I could afford to put wood on the ceiling like you did in the second example, that would look really cool in my home!

  30. Maaike says

    I LOVE option number 3!!! Layla, I am so impressed with your design skills – I looked at that wall and was just stymied. :)

  31. says

    I saw this over at YHL last week and was a little stumped. I had a hard time envisioning anything. I love your ideas!! Especially, number 2.

  32. Maryjane says

    Wow. You’re amazing! …All I can say is pick my presto please! I definitely have a room that needs some loving – and I’m trying to love it as I try to figure out what to do with it.

    I have no idea how to arrange my living room (never had a corner fireplace, patio doors, and angles all in one room before! Plus I need space for the kitty tree and I can’t cover up the baseboard heaters). The added challenge is its an apartment, but I’m allowed to paint. The bonus is I’m starting fresh so the furniture can be whatever I want – I want to pick pieces that could be used in future spaces.

    I wish I was your neighbour so I could say “I’m not even going to disguise it; I have a room that needs some loving Layla, please help!”

    But this is so awesome. I’m sure Jamie will be SO grateful that you looked at this photo. Layla, you are so talented.

    :) Maryjane