An oversized abstract painting offers a simple wall treatment with contemporary appeal.

Contemporary Wall Treatments for Living Rooms

by Mary Cockrill

Wake up your living room walls with a contemporary makeover that your kids will love. Contemporary wall treatments are available in a wide array of options, both permanently fixed, as well as easily removable, to suit your decorating budget and your family's preferences. Update all of your living room walls with an entirely new look, give your existing walls a modern flair or create an eye-popping contemporary accent wall -- it's your choice.


Grab a paintbrush and make your living room walls shout "contemporary style." Go with a modern, unassuming look by painting your walls a subtle shade of gray or taupe. Crank up the contemporary feel with a richly saturated gray or taupe hue. Steer clear of fashionable pristine white walls; they're not practical when you live with kids and pets. Shake up your living room with an edgy accent wall in a paint color that will make your jaw drop. Ask your kids to help you pick out a hot paint color -- electric orange, lime green, lipstick red, eggplant purple. Or, create an accent wall that shimmers with metallic silver, gold or copper paint.


Add a contemporary flair to your living room by covering one or more walls with a flashy wallpaper design. For example, adhere a two-toned gray wallpaper in a sleek chevron pattern to a single wall for intense graphic interest. Add textured wallpaper in bright fuchsia or key lime to produce a feature wall with a bright design punch against gray-toned walls. Generate a contemporary sparkle with foil wallpaper that imparts a modern metallic look. Limit yourself to embossed, foil or vinyl wallpapers that make it easy to wipe away smudges and fingerprints deposited by your little darlings.


Contemporary-inspired artwork offers an ideal wall treatment that adds instant pizzazz to ordinary living room walls. Hang an oversize abstract canvas painting on a bare wall to command your visual attention. Or adorn your walls with artsy metal sculptures and one-of-a-kind 3-D pieces of artwork. Create original abstract paintings with your kids by "throwing" an assortment of colorful paints from clean paintbrushes onto a blank canvas -- an ideal project for outdoors. If you're artistic, paint a contemporary-inspired mural on one of your living room walls, such as the Eiffel tower or a cityscape. Transform a standard fine-art print or personal photograph into a colossal wallpaper mural that brings contemporary flamboyance to your living room.

Other Ideas

Install decorative wall panels over plain drywall to add designer-savvy style to your living room. Brightly colored laminate wall panels add a contemporary wow factor to ho-hum walls. These modern panels are also available in a wide variety of embossed contemporary patterns, such as geometric images, numbers, swirls and lines, to add textural visual interest. Adhere mirror or stainless-steel tiles to a living room wall to make a small space appear more open and airy. An assortment of wood, fabric and leather panels provide additional wall treatment options.

About the Author

Mary Cockrill's education and certifications in interior design and home staging have allowed her to author numerous home-related articles. Cockrill has been a top design consultant for a renowned home store and is the owner of Starwood Home & Gifts, LLC, an interior design, decorating and home staging business. She holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education with a comprehensive major in office administration.

Photo Credits

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