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Who’s afraid of a tall wall?

By Allen Norwood
Allen Norwood
Allen Norwood writes on Home design, do-it-yourself and real estate for The Charlotte Observer. His column appears each Saturday.

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If you have a towering vertical wall in your great room that stares at you blankly because you just can’t come up with a way to choose art for it, here’s an idea: Pretend that it’s not so tall. Use your imagination to whittle it to a more manageable size.

And, whatever you do, don’t choose a paint color until the rest of the room comes together.

Those are tips from local interior design blogger Emily Clark, who recently shared the same advice with Lowe’s shoppers at the store on Iverson Way in South End.

Before the event, which also included blogger and author Myquillyn Smith, Clark said she anticipated questions about tall walls and wall color. Those are common themes on her blog, emilyaclark.com. Afterward she said that, indeed, she got the same questions in the store.

Online and in person, she said, homeowners often seek reassurance and encouragement. If you need either, maybe this will help:

“Those oversize walls look awesome when you’re buying the house,” she said. “It’s another story when you move in.”

When you actually have to cope with them, they can be less awesome and more intimidating. Clark suggests not driving yourself crazy searching for an appealing way to fill a wall that’s up to two stories tall.

Instead, imagine a horizontal line across the wall at about normal ceiling height, say 9 or 10 feet. “Then, decorate below that.... It looks better if you hang everything below that line.”

Choose a larger piece of art or, just as you would on any other dominant wall, group smaller pieces in pleasing array. Use smaller pieces in similar frames, or with similar themes or colors. Arrange them on the floor before hanging.

You don’t have to spend a fortune, either. Buy a book of botanical prints. Clip your favorites. “For the cost of a $30 book, you have a wall full of art,” she said. Poke around flea markets to find a used book.

Choose the paint color last, Clark said, not first. It’s a mistake she helps with often. A homeowner decides she wants a green room, so she chooses a favorite green. Then, as she selects furniture and accessories, she constantly has to work around the wall color.

Even today’s popular neutrals can be a problem, Clark said. All milk chocolates are not the same: Some have more yellow, others might have more green or some other undertone.

You might not know you have the wrong chocolate until you unroll that rug you fell in love with at the rug shop.

Special to the Observer: homeinfo@charter.net
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