Help! What to put on big blank wall in kitchen?

McChrisSeptember 2, 2014

We just bought our first house and have completely re-done our kitchen on a budget. I'm proud to say this transformation was completed for approximately $1000 (ignore the painter's tape, didn't take it down yet for the pic).

We have a big blank wall on the one side of our kitchen (really the only place in the kitchen to hang anything) and I'm at a loss as to what to put there.

I was thinking maybe shelves (like open shelving to have more storage and display some things) or maybe a grouping of art? I want to bring some color into the space - our living room is neutral with a pop of blue/green - maybe bringing in some greens and blues into the kitchen by the things I put on the shelves or by artwork.

Does anyone have a creative idea for the blank wall?

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Wow, I love what you've done, I think open shelves would be great, can you use more counter space? I'm thinking one of those wood counters from Ikea or Lumber Liquidators set on some sort of something might be nice. Some type of Bakers rack might be nice too. This one's kind of expensive, but as clever as you are, I'm sure you could make a substitute. Or check out the ones on Amazon, some give a work surface.

Here is a link that might be useful: Baker's Racks

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 3:17PM
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Quite a transformation! Creative and budget friendly.

Do I see a fold-down island counter on the side towards the blank wall? Will you put stools there? If so, you don't have a lot of space in that aisle. I like the idea of art work. Open shelves would have to be very shallow there as it looks like a main thoroughfare through your house. If you have kids, it would be a fabulous place to display their artwork. You could build something like we did in our DR on the left. (Please overlook the party prepping mess and taped up mock cardboard mantles.)

I found the general idea on Pinterest from a blogger who made something similar to hang small paper art. You can change the display very easily for holidays, special occasions, etc.

If the island has seating or not, that wall won't really be a food workspace given how far it is from the water and the fact that the aisle would be too tight.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 3:30PM
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Thank you for your responses! I'm pretty proud of it considering most of the transformation was from simple paint!

Yes, we will be extending the island and placing stools there once I find ones I like. We did envision that aisle to be the main walkway through the house, which is why we placed the island like that, so I agree that I need something that doesn't stick out too far.

We don't have kids yet but hopefully soon and I love that display idea! I'll definitely keep that in mind in the next couple of years!

I'm going to definitely check Pinterest for DIY artwork ideas - or maybe even blow up a few pics that are more artistic (rather than family photos). Trying to figure out a budget-friendly solution!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 3:44PM
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Nice transformation, so far. Wow. But no advice to offer.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 6:40PM
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Wow, your kitchen looks great! As for an inexpensive splash of color, you could staple snazzy fabric over a canvas or a grouping of canvasses. Narrow shelves would look great, but I'd worry about things getting knocked off.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:06PM
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Wall decals?

Those leaves come in nearly any color.

This one is only $13.99! (18" x 40")

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:40PM
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Fabulous kitchen upgrade. You clearly worked hard. As much as I would like shelves, I think art will work better in the narrow space. Kitchens see a lot of action.

Something personal to you would be lovely. For a recent powder room reno in which I was using brass fixtures, The dh and I chose a selection of personal travel photos with a theme (old stone ruins) then cropped them and turned them into sepia shots to give them that gold, aged look. I bought $5 white mats at Michael's and spray painted some old frames with antique brass spray paint. They really do look like art prints. You could do the same, if you have scenery or nature shots that mean something to you. Black and white rather than sepia might suit your house better.

Another long-shot option is wallpaper to give the wall some interest. Despite its being out of style, I like traditional wallpaper and still have a good bit in my house, but grass cloth is still hot, I think? It has a nice, organic vibe. I have seen walls done in reclaimed barn wood, depending where you live and how the rest of your house is decorated. I had a friend once who decorated a whole kitchen wall in a selection of antique washboards. Hung them like artwork, mixed with a few reproduction adverts for dry goods. Morton Salt! Gold Metal Flour! A bit corny, but for her it worked. I once saw homemade shadow boxes filled with old, rusty kitchen gadgets. Okay, I'm rambling. But you have done an amazing facelift, and I'm sure you'll think of something creative to finish it.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:31PM
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Remember how you went granite shopping and fell in love with that slab but it was just too much going on for countertops?

Have the stone yard epoxy a full length metal french cleat across the top back and mount the other half of the cleat to your wall studs. Screw blocking to the studs at the bottom the same thickness as the cleats so your perimeter reveal will be equal. Have the stone yard deliver the slab onto the wall; just drop in on the leveled cleat.

It will be spectacular.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:46PM
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My kitchen is alot smaller than yours, but I have a blank wall like you do. I also have a big wooden island, so no room for shelves.
I found big posters at Walmart with recipes on them.
One for bread, and one for Strawberry Cheesecake.
They are colorful too, really cute.
Just an idea, I am sure you could find something simliar online.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:51PM
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This console is too deep but if you could find a very narrow console, you could do some narrow shelving above.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 11:52PM
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Wallpaper the inside of a narrow (depth) shelving unit.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 11:54PM
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More ideas for narrow shelving. I'd probably want a narrow depth console underneath shelves, rather than just hanging on the upper section of the wall. These shelves are probably too deep. You wouldn't need much depth to display some pretty bowls, glassware, etc.

This post was edited by romy718 on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 0:01

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 11:57PM
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This sideboard is 15" in depth.

This post was edited by romy718 on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 1:11

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 12:09AM
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the kitchen looks great!

I think you do need to keep it mostly open along that wall. possibly a very shallow but tall cabinet (check used furniture shops) to put between the floor register and the light switch. with doors on the bottom you could use it for canned goods. If it's open on the top part you could use it for cookbooks.
you'd still have the space behind the island for a large message area and art work. you could make a msg board using blackboard paint and maybe some magnetic paint? keep the msgs held by magnets there instead of all over the fridge. A spot to hold a notepad and pens and chalk... put up a calendar and you're set!

be sure to post pics of what you end up with.

many, many yrs ago I found an old barrister's bkcase that's maybe 10 - 12" deep. something like that might be found for the lower part...

also, I always wire things like that to the wall studs. Got in the habit while living in CA and keep it up here. Safety - for me, my dog and anyone visiting.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 1:43AM
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What I meant to convey in my earlier post is that you can use the idea of the boards for artwork to hold any kind of art or papers! Not just kid stuff. How about some sayings that are special to you and your partner. Or postcards from special places you've visited, bible verses, poetry printed on artsy paper, etc. Lots of choices, and you could change it out for holidays, etc.

That aisle looks like it will be very narrow with stools placed so I'd be hesitant about shelves right behind the island. Maybe the placement desertsteph suggested might work.

I love the wallpaper idea! There are crazy cool patterns out now. I'm dying to find just the right one to go on a focal point wall in my entryway.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 4:01AM
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Something like this would be fun!

A board and batten treatment would be perfect for that space, with artwork/message center type stuff above. And a pretty color on the wall above. I used Centsational Girl's tutorials and it turned out great. Could also do planking on the wall -- I'm loving horizontal planking now. Either on the whole wall or just partway up, with a similar height shelf as the board & batten.

For storage, you could do a cubby between the wall studs. I've seen them with glass jars of food, or for phone chargers, etc. Here it says they used Ikea CD racks.

For artwork, I love maps. Especially when the maps have meaning to our family. So many ideas floating around in the blogosphere on how to incorporate them. Also, for a kitchen- recipes.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 6:46AM
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A photo collage like this one:

or a tile collage like this one:

can be great ways to introduce pattern amd color.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 6:55AM
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eelizabethday posted something similar above of what we are doing with the blank wall in our kitchen. Like yours, ours is in a travel lane behind the counter stools.

We are doing a paneled wall (that mirrors the panels on our island) that goes 2/3 up the wall & painted to match our cabs & island. The top portion will be painted the wall color of the kitchen & I 'll switch out seasonal art prints on the top section.

Etsy is a great place to find unique, affordable, colorful prints.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 8:18AM
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Thank you to all of you who replied! Such great ideas!

I am leaning more toward art than shelving now, just thinking long-term. We have a little nephew who will be over quite a bit and is 6 mo. old but soon will be running back and forth through that kitchen, and hope to get a dog in the spring and then start a family, so there will be so much traffic along that wall I don't want to chance it.

I'd like to pick something that really speaks to me as far as art goes, so I'm willing to hold off on a permanent piece (or several) until I find something I love - so for now, temporarily, I'm going to create my own! I found instructions on putting quotes on canvas that I liked so I'm going to do that with lyrics from our first dance song (Honey Bee, by Blake Shelton). I'll be sure to post pics, I'm tackling that tonight!

Oh, and about the wallpaper - there was wallpaper on that wall before, and luckily it was very easy to remove. However, I don't want to repeat that experience after just having removed it - but it's a great idea if you love wallpaper! (see pic for reference of the "before"!

Thanks again for all the suggestions, I'm new to these forums and everyone has such amazing ideas! I'm sure I'll be posting a lot more in the months to come as we go from moving in and unpacking to decorating!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 9:55AM
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How wide is the aisle between the island and the blank wall? I am guessing five feet.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 10:19AM
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We are going to put that drop leaf up and have stools underneath (once we get stools) more permanently, so when that is up probably 3-4 feet or so.

This post was edited by McChris on Wed, Sep 3, 14 at 10:25

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 10:24AM
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I know how you feel about wallpaper. I had a horrible time pulling it off my powder room walls. Mine was two layers (no primer of course) the bottom one of which had a background color the exact same color as the drywall paper beneath - I still have anxiety dreams about it. Thank God I can skim-coat.

That said, my first response to your query would have been wallpaper. You need some color and pattern there I think. As paper is out and you've had great experience with paint, would you consider stencils? They cost almost nothing, are fairly easy to use, free you to choose your exact colors to match adjacent spaces, and they give the look of paper without the associated removal trauma.

Oh, and should you want to use shelves or a bakers rack, locate them between the floor register and light switch. They won't impede traffic if they aren't opposite the island. Good luck and congrats on the metamorphosis!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 12:07PM
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I stenciled in the backsplash area of my kitchen, and love it. This winter I'll be painting my family room, and I'm thinking about stenciling a whole wall.

It was a lot easier than I expected!

Here is a link that might be useful: Stencils

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Great transformation!

for color....

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 12:39PM
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child friendly

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 12:40PM
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