How to Make a Featureless Room Sing

An entire wall of windows can be just as tricky as no windows at all.
An entire wall of windows can be just as tricky as no windows at all.

Not all rooms are created equal. The lucky ones are graced with expansive windows, architectural details and interesting angles. They have fabulous terms to describe them like Arts and Crafts or Art Deco, Mission style or Neoclassic.

And then there are the less fortunate rooms. Plain boxes with plain white walls. The only word there is to describe them is featureless. Not very exciting, right? But have no fear! Your plain white box isn't doomed to a life of bland. With some creativity and a little elbow grease, you can take your featureless room and make it sing.


The thing about many featureless rooms is that they don't have a focal point. Meaning, they don't have a feature that commands your attention or makes you want to look around. Good examples of focal points include fireplaces, picture windows or an interesting piece of furniture, like a bookcase or a set of built-ins. A great place to start in your featureless room is to decide what you want your focal point to be. And the quickest and easiest way to do this is with paint.

Paint is a cheap and simple way to instantly transform a room. If the room is particularly small, light colors tend to make it feel more spacious. And conversely, if the room is overly large, darker colors help make it feel a little more cozy and intimate. Once you choose your color palette, you'll choose a wall that you want to highlight, and this will become the focal point of the room. If the room is rectangular, the best wall to use is the shortest one at the far end. This will help make the room feel less awkward. Then, choose a color that's two to three shades deeper than the color on the rest of the walls. If you're stuck for a color scheme, take a cue from your accessories, such as a rug or throw pillow. Just be sure not to choose a color that is too similar to your furnishings. You don't want to go from a plain white box to a plain beige box. You need to create enough contrast to make the room look interesting.



Tips for Making a Boring Room Interesting

Boring! Put some color in your life.
Boring! Put some color in your life.

There are so many things you can do to make a boring room look more interesting. Plain rooms crave shape and dimension, and it's easy to achieve them. If you feel like paint is all been there, done that, why not try a textured wallcovering? Wallpaper is back with a bang, and there are many great options, from natural weaves like grasscloth and bamboo to graphic florals and bold stripes. Wallpapering an entire room can add up, so if you want to minimize your splurge, opt to do your accent wall in wallpaper while painting the rest of the walls a complementary shade. If the thought of wallpaper still makes you shudder, opt for fabric on the walls instead.

Art is another way to liven up a room and add some dimension. You can either invest in one larger piece that becomes a focal point, or a series of smaller prints that work together in creating visual interest. Don't have a big budget for art? Find a yard of interesting fabric and stretch it over a frame -- voila! Instant art at the fraction of the price of a painting.


Woodwork is another way to liven up your room, especially if you want to add details specific to a particular architectural style. Wainscoting is a popular material, and most types can be installed by a DIYer with a saw and a drill who has solid skills. Beadboard is often found in Cottage and English country style homes, while recessed flat panels stay true to the Mission and Arts and Crafts periods. Molding comes in every possible size and style and can transform a room instantly. Crown molding adds an elegant touch to a blah room, and a chair rail makes a great transition from the lower half of a wall with wainscoting to an upper painted or papered wall.

Of course, no room would be complete without an effective lighting scheme. When executed properly, lighting adds drama and dimension to a room. By layering different kinds of lights and introducing varying degrees of light into a room, this helps to create visual interest. If you just have direct sources, like table and floor lamps, it can make a room feel a little shadowy and somber. But if you have an evenly lit room with no layers that create contrast, the room will just seem flat and drab. The key is to mix it up. Overhead lighting, combined with accent lights (such as table lamps or sconces), mixed in with some task lighting, will provide enough light sources to create a mood for any occasion. And of course, natural light is the best of all.


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Burns-Millyard, Kathy. "Home Decorating: Choosing The Right Lights for Your Look and Needs.", 2007.
  • Company Website:, 2010. http://www.newenglandclassic
  • "How To Get The Best Home Lighting.", October 6, 2008.
  • "How to Pick Accent Wall Colors.", 2010.
  • "Tips For Painting Accent Walls.", 2010.
  • Walsh, Michael. "Architectural Detail Can Add Dimension And Visual Appeal To A Featureless Room.", October 26, 1997.