What to Do With Enormous Blank Walls

Yesterday we shared with you all the progress we’ve made so far on the media room at the Big Brick House. First, Scott crafted the rustic live edge entertainment center for the TV, and between his folks and La-Z-Boy, we’ve got almost all the furniture we need. So we’re making progress!

Now let’s talk about where we still have some work to do.

The picture above shows one of the largest project areas we still have to address – the fireplace and the enormous blank wall above it. Seriously, that’s a lot of space just to leave sitting up there, staring at you. I definitely don’t think that you have to fill every single bit of space in the house, and blank walls are okay occasionally, but at the same time, I hate it when people have really tall rooms and all the decor is just at eye level. You don’t want people craning their necks to see your art, but at the same time, the top picture is taken from a straight-on view of the back wall of our media room, and it would be a hell of a shame to not use that space for something fun.

We’ve run through a few ideas, from large mirrors to old antique doors {both of which you can find on a budget}, all of which would be fun, but we’ve finally started to settle on a plan for this space.

First off, let’s talk about the fireplace.

Right now, it’s just awkward. It’s a fireplace insert that’s just sitting in a little built out box with a shelf on top of it that does nothing but collect dust. The previous owners had a large vase with those squiggly twigs that seem to be everywhere these days in them, but to me, that just says “dust collector.” And if you haven’t noticed, I like my decorating to mix form and function. That shelf has no function. Except to collect dust.

We’ve been creative with our other fireplace, installing shiplap and a mantel where there was just plain wall before, so we’re just going to get creative again. Although this will take more work.

Let’s imagine that the facade of the fireplace goes all the way up to the ceiling. We’ve helped our own imaginations do that by not painting where the fireplace will be, so you can see the outline in the picture above. So picture that going all the way up, and let’s cover it with stacked stone. We’ve talked about a number of different types of stone to go with, but we haven’t picked anything out yet. I’m inclined to go with something light, since the rest of the room is so bold and full of dark colors.

Let’s hang a chunky mantel on it while we’re at it. Something big and rustic that fits the lodge vibe of the room. And to soften it up a little, let’s put some nice decor on it.

Then lets turn our attention to the wall next to it. Right now, we’re picturing a tryptic made from one of the photos I’ve shot during our travels. I’d like to showcase something local to Virginia, naturally, but we’ve also got some fun photos from Denver, where we just may head after this trip.

Now bear with my rudimentary Photoshop skills here – Scott’s the expert on this stuff, but he’s still building his renderings of the ground floor and the kitchen – but this is what it would look like.

Option 1.

Okay, there’s the fireplace! Once we figure out how big the mantel should be, we’ll stick one on. Hooray for really easy Photoshop. Let’s pretend that the fireplace actually has a little dimension to it and isn’t just flat stacked stone, too. But you get the idea.

The first image I’ve been playing with is one from our trip out to Red Rocks while we were visiting Scott’s family in Denver. I love how the red and gold in the rock plays agains the furniture, but it still brings in a lot of blue sky and bright clouds.

Option 2.

Here’s the same idea, but I’m using something a little quieter, a little more soothing. Still plenty of color in this one, but it’s a sunset over the lake by Scott’s folks’ place in Denver, and it’s a beautifully tranquil scene that I’d love to kick back next to in the evening.

Option 3.

We have a number of different shots from different places in Virginia to play with, but for this option, I picked a photo from our recent hike at Great Falls National Park. It’s one of our favorite places to hike here, and it offers a lot of drama and detail. It doesn’t pull in as many of the room’s tones, but the imagery fits with a rustic retreat, it showcases Virginia, and the bright sunniness plays well against the room and brightens it up!

Other Ideas…

1: Country Door Shutters | 2: Brimfield + May Panels | 3: Ballard Designs Shutters

I used a light stone in my quick Photoshop job here, but we are also playing with the idea of using slate stacked stone. We’d pick out stone that has a lot of rusty hues mixed in with the grays, and we feel like that would go well with the room. My only fear is that it’ll be too dark.

So what do you guys think? What should we do with our big blank walls?


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  • Denise Blust Vermillion

    I think building up the stone is a brilliant idea, but I do think you need to go darker. A medium hue maybe? Even though it’s just a sketch, the light color blends into the wall and looks a bit awkward and, conversely, bulkier than I imagine the darker stone. Don’t dark colors recede?

    My first thought for pictures or wall hangings would be something from a Disney movie since you love Disney so much. Maybe not something obvious, more kind of a secret joke that only some people will get. I do like the tryptic but I’d probably go with a more “foresty” scene.

    So far so good!!

    • I’m also worried about the lighter stone making the room look too beige, when we’ve really tried to go bolder with the color to make it feel cozier. I’m going to try the sketch again with the slate stone we were looking at and see if that helps!

      I like the idea of including something with more forest and more greenery! Maybe something with some autumn tones in it. I really do want to include some bright blue sky just because I can see needing that in the winter months. I get depressed without sunlight! And I would love to have Scott digitally sneak some Disney elements into it!

      • Denise Blust Vermillion