Decorating Ideas

8 Ways to Add Impact Above Your Sofa

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Be it a spacious living room, a formal sitting area, or a cozy den, chances are it’s anchored with a comfy sofa along one wall, leaving a lot of blank space to fill above (and behind) the seat. That empty space is the perfect opportunity to make a bold, gorgeous visual statement. We’ve rounded up some captivating, inspiring ideas sure to add major impact.

Photo by Tony Vu; interior by Jeffery Bilhuber

Photo by Tony Vu; interior by Jeffery Bilhuber

1. Play Up Sculptural Accents

If your seating area features upholstery in a lively mix of colors, go for an equally eye-catching arrangement on the wall above the sofa for a balanced effect. Rather than lots of colorful artwork, though, emphasize shape with a symmetrical display of small sculptural pieces that draw the eye up. The result is playful and a bit unexpected but also helps frame the sofa and ties the space together.

Photo by Nicole LaMotte; studio of Justina Blakeney

Photo by Nicole LaMotte; studio of Justina Blakeney

2. Create an Inspiring Focal Point

A surefire way to make a statement above your sofa is with an oversize mirror as the centerpiece. It will add instant character, help bounce light around, and open up the room to feel more airy. From there, get creative with the space surrounding the mirror and flaunt your personal style. One idea? Try adding your favorite images and tear sheets from magazines for an unconventional version of an inspiration board.

Photo by Simon Upton; interior by Alex Papachristidis

Photo by Simon Upton; interior by Alex Papachristidis

3. Group Art with a Theme

If you have an expansive wall to fill, consider a grouping of artworks with one theme, such as portraits, landscapes, or nude drawings. Narrow your focus to art in sets or a series, which will ensure that the works are similar but just varied enough, and hang them in a grid above the sofa. Unlike a gallery wall, a thematically curated art display yields a clean-lined look with a cohesive visual story.

Photo by Alexander James / The Interior Archive

Photo by Alexander James / The Interior Archive

4. Hang a Gorgeous Textile

When it comes to classic, sophisticated decorating tricks, a gorgeous large-scale textile never fails to impress. For a lavish approach, look to tapestries woven with floral borders and bucolic sceneries. Or go with a global pattern for a colorful boho take that’s equally captivating.

Photo by Erica George Dines; interior by Jackye Lanham

Photo by Erica George Dines; interior by Jackye Lanham

5. Create a Display of Plates

Beautiful china can find a perfect—and perfectly elegant—home above your sofa. After all, it’s a decorator move that has stood the test of time. Opt for a set of dishes with fanciful details, gorgeous colors, or lovely painted imagery. To create the illusion of higher ceilings, try arranging them above the sofa starting at eye level and working upward.

Photo by Manuel Rodriguez; interior by Heather Clawson

Photo by Manuel Rodriguez; interior by Heather Clawson

6. Mix Multiple Small Paintings

If you live in a small space, a large framed artwork above your sofa can come off as more imposing than impressive—and it can make your room feel cramped. The solve? Rethink the gallery wall with smaller paintings. This has the added advantage of enabling you to easily change artworks whenever you want. Just be sure to leave lots of breathing room between the pieces so that the effect is curated rather than cluttered.

Photo by Tim Street­-Porter; home of Ellen Pompeo

Photo by Tim Street­-Porter; home of Ellen Pompeo

7. Fan Out a Folding Screen

For a statement piece that instantly punches up your living space with color, pattern, and height, set up a chic folding screen behind your seating. Whether it’s a traditional screen with chinoiserie details or one with a graphic motif, it’s a piece certain to add beyond-amazing allure.

Photo by Lesley Unruh; interior by Alex Papachristidis

Photo by Lesley Unruh; interior by Alex Papachristidis

8. Go Big with Wallpaper

If you’re a maximalist, an elaborate wallpaper will provide just the major opulence you want. Treat the space above your sofa as a blank canvas for a transporting mural. Although the treatment is lavish on its own, you don’t have to shy away from adding finishing touches; sconces, pedestals, or sculptures can make for elegant juxtapositions.

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