How to Make Your Lonely Walls Happy

What do you do when your dining room looks forlorn and empty, and it’s making you crazy -depressed?


No, I’m not suggesting that you pour yourself a stiff drink.  Put down the bottle and pick up the hammer!  I spent yesterday hanging art and plates in my client’s dining room, and it made such a difference.  This is where we started:

Dining Room Before


Grouping plates in a pattern and hanging them on the wall is a great way to display dishes that don’t get a lot of use and have been languishing in the cabinets.



I love layering green on green on green.  Two gorgeous green lamps on either end of the sideboard and these green dishes look lovely on the yellow-green walls.  

green dining room



The sextet of vintage engravings found the perfect home between the lamps and above the “bar.”  A large tray corrals all the bottles.  Is it just me, or does this look kinda Mad Men?



The opposite wall was a perfect place to group and display my client’s collection of state plates, collected to represent her family’s travels.

State Plate Collection



Now my client’s dining room is fresh and updated, ready for entertaining.

Dining Room After



Maybe it’s time to rethink what’s hanging on your walls.  Just take everything down and try moving things around or grouping your art or plates in a new way.


If you need a fresh perspective on how to display your beloved collections in a whole new way or need help with choosing color for your home, contact The Decorologist to schedule your consultation today!

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  1. Dorene

    FYI, I follow by email, and it seems that your “read article” button is broken. Love what you do!

    • Kristie Barnett

      yikes, thanks for letting me know! i’ll try to see what’s wrong.

  2. Lee

    Ha! We spent yesterday hanging plates in my kitchen! I will have to send you a picture, I think you’d be proud. 🙂

  3. Elissa

    Great post! It’s always nice to see how the addition of well-placed accessories and wall art can change a room. I think people tend to think that freshening up a space always involves big expense. Not so!

    I love to clear out our rooms and put everything in the living room floor and use it as my “bazaar”. It helps me keep from running out and spending money every little time I feel a need for change (and lets me be creative in coming up with new purposes for ordinary items).

    • Kristie Barnett

      It can be hard to see past what is in your room, so it’s a great idea to clear it all out and do what you are suggesting. Think of it as “free shopping!”

  4. Paula Van Hoogen

    Kristie, The vignettes you created are so visually appealing to me—similar to mosaics–I’m drawn to detail. It’s interesting to consider which rooms need more detail and which ones are best left clean and simple. Probably the hustle/bustle spaces need simplicity and obviously, a dining room, where you are seated and having conversation, benefits from interesting detail to let our eyes wander to.
    You have made this one feel like a fine restaurant!

  5. Terry Murphy

    I read your website faithfully. My favorite articles are when you incorporate existing pieces of furniture and decorative items from a home to redesign a room. Not many of us can afford to decorate a room from scratch — “soup to nuts.” That is why you are my go-to designer for making what I already own enhance a living space. One note: I am getting tired of so many articles on the web about “staging.” Please give us more articles on “decorating,” so that we can all stay put and enjoy our homes and neighborhoods for years to come.

    Thanks again, Kristie, for sharing your great ideas!

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thanks, Terry! I love working with what people already have and love – that’s what makes a house a home 🙂 I will probably still be writing articles about “staging” though, as that is a big part of what I do everyday. I have found that so many of the principles that I apply in staging can also help homeowners live better in the places they are living (and continuing to live). In fact, occasionally I have a staging client who decides to stay in their home after I “stage” it because it’s more livable than it was before. Several people lately have told me it’s a “love it or list it” situation – either I help them see their home in a whole new light, or they are going to sell it.

      • Lee

        I have often wondered if that has happened. Sometimes I feel sorry for the people who have to live in the “before” pictures and wish that they could have known how lovely their house was and been able to live in the “after” pictures! You have helped me to look at my own house and try to figure out if our rooms are “before” or “after” !

  6. jeannie casey

    I love my happy pretty comfortable home. thank you kristie for doing your magic hanging my plate collections. this room looks like a million bucks. It feels like a vacation home. I am so glad those old animal prints from Yellowstone National Park look so great in a collection hung together. This year we will be dining in there.

    • Kristie Barnett

      Thank you, Jeanie. It makes me happy knowing I was able to help you create a space you will WANT to use and spend time in 🙂

  7. Kelley

    Definitely looks much better!

  8. Melissa

    Love the vignettes! Also love how the clock and the curio cabinet look next to the buffet. The lamps, too, have more presence than the tall skinny lamps in the “before” pic. Looks great!!


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