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Adding Pizzazz To Your Walls

How do you spruce up a drab white wall, especially if you have a lot of family pictures to display? Robb Whittlef, a style expert from Home & Garden Television (HGTV), visits Friday's The Early Show to show some new and affordable ways to arrange, decorate and accent walls.

Send A Message

Great for country and artsy homes, this wall décor communicates a thoughtful message in a unique way. For example, frame five letters of different proportions that spell out the word "DREAM." Depending on the mood of the homeowner, the words in the frames change.

Here is how Whittlef created this look:

  • Use a 4-foot-long cocoa brown floating shelf from West Elm (1.866.WESTELM).
  • Paint the upper portion of the wall in bold red stripes.
  • Keep the space around the frames clean, so as not to distract from or confuse the message. The frames used are from Pottery Barn, but you can use a group of eclectic frames.
  • The personalized message art is created using overscaled photocopies of letters (different fonts) which can be produced at a local Kinkos or on a home computer. The price is about $100 or less, depending on the phrase and framing required.

Big And Bold
Whittlef is showing paper from London-based Cole & Son, a sample of the latest trend in wallpaper: big, bold, a piece of itself. The pattern he is showing is called "rajupur" and is just one of the company's oversized images. Customers can choose from patterns from yellow-and-blue geometric designs, to bright green paisleys or palm leaves.

Cole & Son have been manufacturers of hand-printed wallpapers since 1875 and still make hand-blocked and flocked wallpaper. The company successfully reinvents classic wallpaper designs for a contemporary and a traditional audience. Victoria Beckham and designers Stella McCartney and Paul Smith are frequent customers. It is available at and the Lee Jofa store.

A collection of brown and pink fleur-de-lis stencil designs is one of the more crafty and creative ideas in the display. The stencils provided by Stencil Planet (1-877-836-2457) can be purchased in a variety of sizes and styles and of course, homeowners can customize color and display.

For this look, Whittlef makes three generic canvases (24" x 24") and stencils 18" fleur-de-lis on two of them, using house paint. Just cover the canvas and, when dry, peel off the letter. This design can be applied directly to a wall. Stencil Planet also offers letters, so homeowners can paint a special message directly onto walls or canvases.

Photo Display 101
If you wonder how to display your photos without cluttering the wall, Whittlef suggests turning color photos into black/white, which can be produced at most photo shops.

The following are his suggestions:

Use a collection of Pottery Barn frames in a variety of styles and sizes. Create a symmetrical outline using tape and then arranging frames within that space.

Use identical frames and mats to mount photos using "laser level." Arrange frames in a symmetrical pattern keeping frames equidistant from the next one.

Highlight one image by placing it in the center of the wall. The frame is 5' long and 20" wide. The image, which is about 12" x 12", is matted high in the frame with a lot of excess matting to bottom. The result is an asymetrical look that draws the eye directly to the framed image.

Support Fine Art On A Budget
This is a collection of art from reSee Gallery in Minneapolis. A true conversation piece, artist Jay Nuhring is known for his Re-Appropriated work. For this sample Whittleff uses a collection of pieces made from recycled billboard paper - paper that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Nuhring says he studies the paper "looking for compositions, beauty and order (things not typically attributed to billboards)." The paper is then glued to a rigid substrate and mounted to a plywood frame and finally framed with galvanized metal (all "off the shelf" materials found in hardware stores).

Prices range from $225 - $500 (up to a 45" x 60" image). The three featured on the show are 24"x24" and cost $225 each.

Availability: Artwork online is available for shipping now. Allow 3 weeks (including shipping time) for commission pieces. Viewers can inquire about specific colors and sizes. For more information, go to

Sticker Collection For Adults
These stickers, though not "scratch 'n' sniff", are still very appealing to adult senses. This wall features wall decals from 'What is Blik?' So what is Blik? Very affordable, self-adhesive and removable wall décor, perfect for an apartment or dorm room.

Whittlef uses the company's cocoa brown ovals arranged on a wall painted light blue. It is accented by contemporary furniture.

Designs range from geometric shapes (lug knots, dots, squares) to more or less conventional designs (paisleys, space invaders, birds, cars, clouds). See (1-866-262-blik). Plan to spend between $24 - $60 per pack. The ovals used cost $35 for 12 decals (4 ea 16" and 8 ea 7").

Another take on photograph display. Here, Whittlef uses a single image done in black and white using the photo processing machines found in convenience stores. The image has been blown up and then made into 48 regular sized images - all are just pieces of the larger image- price varies but under $100.

This is the latest in paint-by-number's technology. Future Memories offers consumers the ability to paint a portrait of anyone they wish. Just send a photo - preferably of one or two people - and the company sends you a paint-by-numbers kit using your image.

Portraits come in one size: 11" x 14". Price is $73.00. Contact: or 1-800-660-0566.

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