As one of the more multifunctional rooms in a home, your living room is one of the few areas where you have free rein to do whatever you like to it! Other than a must-have corner sofa, the walls, displays and lighting options are pretty much up for grabs depending on your taste and aesthetic.
Below, our interior design experts have put together a 24 point list of over the sofa wall decor ideas. So strap in, grab a cuppa and let’s begin!
1. Find the biggest piece of artwork you can
One of the most common ways to decorate the ‘dead space’ above your sofa is with a single, large-scale piece of artwork. Choose one attention-grabbing piece and mount it above the sofa to take up as much of the wall space as you like.
The great thing about using a single piece of framed art is that it completely sets the mood and colour scheme of the room, while adding texture and a focal point to the main wall.
2. Style symmetrical frames
Instead of just the one show stopping piece filling up the wall, try creating a sense of symmetry and balance with two or three smaller pieces hung up together. For extra contemporary design points, hang two or three frames vertically rather than horizontally.
Ideally, artwork should be hung at eye level and at least 5” above the top of the sofa. The ideal ratio is to cover ⅔ of the width of the sofa when hanging multiple pieces, to maintain balance.
3. Dig out your family photos
Whether you’ve got professional posed photos, wedding memories or pics from a disposable camera, adding pictures of family and friends to your wall gives your living room a more homely and welcoming feel.
These can be arranged in lots of different ways to suit your style. Frames with mounts (as in, the ones that add extra white space between the picture itself and the frame) are a great way to keep mixed pictures looking consistent while brightening up the room. Or, try creating a gallery wall by hanging multiple frames with a mixture of frame widths, sizes and horizontal/vertical orientations.
4. Window dressing
While having a window above the sofa isn’t technically decorating, there is lots you can do with it to ‘zhoosh’ this area up. Adding vases, artificial plants, framed photos and momentos to the windowsill can give you a ‘free shelf’, saving crucial wall space for smaller living rooms. This technique also works beautifully for homes with bay windows. Consider your blinds and curtains too - how will these look when open and shut behind your sofa?
Your choice of sofa can also have an effect on the level of light that passes from the window. Choose a sofa that’s on legs to allow in more of the natural light to your space. Take a peek for more ideas on putting your sofa in front of the window.
5. Flourishing foliage
From potted money trees to indoor vines, there’s no denying that greenery is a must-have for contemporary living spaces. Neat succulents such as cacti can sit nicely on a shelf above the sofa, or trailing house plants such as peace lilies can add a touch of natural beauty - with the bonus of air-purifying effects!
One note on this: if you incorporate plants and foliage into your home, please check first their toxicity levels when it comes to children, cats, dogs and other family pets. Some plants, although pretty, are more suitable for homes with adults only residing. Also, be sure to pick a plant with sunlight requirements that align with the placement in your home to save any horticulture heartaches!
6. Mirror, mirror on the wall...
It’s one of the most well-known interior design titbits that mirrors create the illusion of space. If your sofa is on the opposite wall to the entrance of your living room, a large horizontal mirror above it will not only make the room appear bigger, but will also help to reflect the lighting - making it look lighter and brighter.
However, horizontal rectangle mirrors aren’t your only option. Circular mirrors and arch-style mirrors are great options too. Or, mix and match multiple mirror shapes, sizes and frames to create your own unique look.
7. All things light and beautiful
When thinking about lighting a space, there are three core types of light to consider: ambient, task and accent. Ambient lighting is almost always generated by ceiling lights, overhead lights or natural lighting sources. But, when it comes to wall decor, task lighting and accent lighting comes into play.
So, when decorating the wall above the sofa, think about what you’ll be doing there. Task lighting is often brighter and usually lights one particular area of the room for a task such as reading, drawing or writing. Accent lighting helps to highlight something in the room, such as a piece of art or a certain feature; this generally takes the form of wall-mounted lights and sconces.
8. Play with panelling
Originating in the late 15th century, panelling has made a return to contemporary interior design. Panelling comes in a range of designs and colours, and can be used in almost any room of the house.
Large grids and rectangles are en vogue right now and can create height in a room when placed from floor to ceiling. It can also be applied to any division of the wall from 1/8th to 3/4 of it - giving you the leeway to add a feature to an otherwise blank wall, and cover up unsightly features at the same time.
9. Think of your theme
If your living space has a theme or particular colour palette, why not go one step further with the wall fixtures?
Nautical-themed rooms could incorporate driftwood, surfboards or a captain’s wheel in this space, while a muted pastel family room might be more suited to a large, neutral-coloured macrame piece. Those with a rustic or countryside lodge feel could add mounted fabric deer onto an accent wall of exposed brickwork.
10. Neon glow up
While fluorescents and neons might sound scary for a living room, they’re an ideal way to turn the space from day use to night use. Of course, they can be used at all times of the day, but dimming your lights of an evening and switching on the neon can transform the atmosphere of the room in moments.
Perfect the vintage feel with 50s neon signs, or opt for a more modern look by using a motivational quote piece. Alternatively, you can commission your own custom neon piece where you can define what it says and its colour scheme, to add a personal touch to your wall decor.
11. Fire, fire!
Bear with us on this one. We absolutely acknowledge that fireplaces are traditionally on the floor...
But, more and more living room designs are now incorporating electric fireplaces wall-mounted above the sofa. It adds a warm and comforting feel to the room while simulating all the charm of a cosy night by the fire.
12. Floating shelves
One of the more flexible ways of decorating above the sofa is by using floating shelves. In recent years, they’ve evolved from single shelves to hexagons, circles and squares, helping you house any souvenirs, ornaments, pictures or plants worth showcasing.
Pair your shelves with some wall-mounted accent lighting such as sconces, pictures lights or downlights to maximise their impact and visibility on the wall.
13. Don’t look up!
If you’re short on storage space, an overhead storage unit or exposed shelving can give you a simple place to either hide away or display the bits you don’t need.
Choose a unit with doors to store any mess away, or pick an open design to display your bits and pieces. Units are also available with a combination of doors and no doors, as well as integrated LED accent lights to show off your finer pieces.
14. Mix and match
Don’t be afraid to mix and match your wall decor! While we don’t suggest combining a busy wallpaper with lots of bits nailed to the wall, plenty of living rooms now display a mixed, yet cohesive, design.
Mixing and matching usually takes the form of a gallery wall. This could include using combinations of pictures and mirrors, utilising frames with different shapes, designs and styles, or mixing shelving and ornaments with wall-mounted vases or pots.
15. Faithful fairy lights
Not unlike neon lights, fairy lights are a cost-effective and flexible way of softly lighting your living room.
There are a few different ways to use them. You can add short strings of battery-operated fairy lights to your cabinets or shelves, create a string lights wall or even combine with an empty frame to create a cosy and comforting piece of soft lit artwork.
16. On yer bike
Popularised by smaller homes and properties lacking storage space, wall-mounted bikes have become a common feature in homes over the last couple of years.
Whether you use your own outdoor bike or a vintage bike for show is your call, but they often add the wow factor to any room in the house. They can be mounted horizontally or vertically above the sofa, and paired with accent lighting to create a piece that really stands out.
17. Why not wallpaper?
Instead of adding things to the wall, you can go back to basics and decorate the wall with wallpaper! Luckily, DIY’ing your wallpaper application is now easier than ever before with plenty of easy adhesive options available.
To complement your sofa, you can use wallpaper one of three ways on this wall. The first way is to wallpaper the entirety of the wall. The second way is to split the wall, covering the bottom half (behind the sofa) with attention-grabbing patterned wallpaper, and painting or wallpapering something more muted above this. The third option is to split the wall the other way, leaving the neutral pattern behind the sofa and the patterned piece above it.
18. Pin up children’s drawings
If you have toddlers or children in your life in any capacity, the chances are they’ve drawn you some pictures in their time! While previously reserved for the kitchen fridge, drawings can be tastefully presented on the walls of your living room to create a family feel.
One option to explore is hanging up a large frame with some wire or parcel string attached behind it, teamed with small wooden pegs or clips. You and/or your children or family members can change which pictures are hanging as you deem fit, or as new pictures are created. This is one way to make your lounge feel like a welcoming and comfortable space for the children who live in or visit your home.
19. Tick, tick, tick
Another go-to if you want a single piece on the wall above your sofa is to add an oversized clock. Whether you prefer traditional roman numerals, animals, icons or just the simple 12-hour display, there are plenty to choose from.
Contemporary homes may choose geometric shapes or backlit pieces, while vintage themes may be better suited to antiques with exposed moving cogs or pendulums.
20. Showcase your reading collection
A bookcase or small book display adds a grown-up feel to a living room. Use wall-mounted book shelves, a single shelf or adapt a small DVD-sized storage unit to house your favourite books.
If your living room has a white or neutral theme, consider organising your books by colour scheme to combine functional storage with a bright focal point for the space.
21. Light up the room
LED lights are swiftly becoming a staple of millennial and Gen Z bedrooms and living spaces. And, with remote controls, apps and a range of colour options and patterns, we can see why.
When thinking about the living room, LEDs can be used to frame a sofa with the glow reflected on the floor below and the wall behind and above. Alternatively, line the ceiling with LED strips and downlights to help you set the atmosphere in an instant. If that’s the route you go down, leave the space above the sofa light and plain(ish) to maximise the vibe when they’re in use.
22. Accentuate your accent wall
Say ‘Au Revoir’ to painting your four walls the same shade. An accent wall is a flexible way to add depth, interest and to reinforce the colour palette of your living room. Accent walls tend to work best behind softer sofa colours, unless you’re creating a contrast!
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that an accent colour has to mean one wall one colour and the other three one other. Accent walls can be made up of designs such as stripes and geometric shapes, or can even be made up of tiles, exposed brick or wooden panels.
23. Search for suspended lighting
If you have a sizable coffee table in front of your sofa or close by, one option to consider is low suspended lighting over it. This could take the form of pendant lighting, asymmetrical exposed bulbs, a lighting-cum-art piece or even a low chandelier - just watch your head!
Depending on where the main viewpoint is in your room, it might be worth considering keeping the wall behind the sofa plain to let the lighting speak for itself by serving as the focal point.
24. Freshen up with fresco
From the Italian Renaissance to your living room, fresco painting (painting directly on to the wall) can quickly become the pièce de résistance of your home. Pair with a neutral fabric sofa and cushions to really pack a punch.
For those with bigger pockets, you can hire a muralist to paint and draw on your wall, and work with them to make a design bespoke to you and your living space.
Obviously, the main caveat with this is if you move you won’t be able to take it with you if you decide to move house. For the Michaelangelo look - he’s notoriously difficult to hire these days - you can buy some Renaissance-inspired wallpaper to bridge the gap.
Now you’ve reviewed our 24 ideas to decorate above the sofa, you should be inspired to take action and transform the wall behind your living room furniture! Whatever you do, remember to take the size, shape and colour of your sofa into account when planning for the best possible outcome.
Explore our range of modern, contemporary sofas including our Model 01, Model 02 and our sectional Model 03 to find out more. Our range of Model 04 sofa beds is also available and ideal for smaller spaces.