It is quite long (9 feet!) and, as you can imagine, takes up a lot of visual space. Unlike any other wall in our home, it does not anchor a room in any way. It simply separates the staircase leading to the basement. It is also located in a part of the home transitioning guests from the front foyer to the great room.
Over the next five years, it drove me a little ‘batty’ at times as it’s been the most challenging design dilemma to solve in my home. During this time, my husband often caught me staring at the wall, transfixed by it, as I tried to figure out just what I could do with it. I’d spent several hours imagining all the possibilities, and came up short. Scouring the internet was not helpful either. Whenever I googled what others did with their half walls, suggestions involved either painting the wall – which only highlighted the problem (!) – or putting a piece of furniture against it – which did not work in this transitional space. Others recommended placing decorative objects on top, which only posed a safety hazard for us. I had visions of my husband or me being clocked on the head with a ceramic vase!
At one time, I did try placing a narrow bookcase and then a buffet against it, but in both cases they appeared random and out of place, not to mention that they took away from the airy, open transition into our great room.
After these failed efforts, I decided that the best option was simply to decorate the wall. This would address two issues. First, it would provide visual interest to a very long, blank space. Second, the transition from foyer to great room would remain open and in keeping with the open-concept layout of the home.
So, what was my inspiration? After leafing through a home style magazine, I came across a photograph of inexpensive cubbies being used to store mail and keys. At this point, it just clicked for me. Cubbies are incredibly versatile, so why not use them in a series to create a wall display? And that’s just what I did.
The following tutorial shows you how I created my DIY cubby wall display:
Phase 1: Hanging the cubbies.
- 10 cubbies (in 3 different sizes)
- Screws + plastic screw anchors
- Screw driver
- Rubber mallet
Step #1: Determine a design
I purchased four packs of cubbies; each came with 3 cubbies and cost $10 per package. I decided to hang each threesome together, at different heights. I then wanted that pattern to repeat for the next threesome, and then the next threesome along the wall. This meant that I would have 3 groupings of 3 cubbies to span the length of the wall. I left some space at the end to add one more cubby. This way I ended up with the largest cubby on the far left of the wall and also on the far right, thus anchoring the installation.
Step #2: Measure, measure, measure
Measuring the spacing of the cubbies was the next step. In order to do this, I traced each cubby onto paper, cut each piece and hung it on the wall. (Below, you can see 3 groupings of 3 cubbies, plus one on the far right. Some of the paper was starting to unfold, but you get the idea).
Step #3: Number each cubby
Next, I numbered each cubby in the exact order in which they would be hung. The reason for this is that each cubby’s holes on the back side – where the screws would hold the cubby up once hung – were not placed at the exact same height from the top of the cubby. In fact, some holes were a little higher, others a little lower – these were inexpensive cubbies, so it was to be expected.
I measured the placement of the screws on the wall based on each cubby’s peculiar placement of holes.
That being said, with a long wall of cubbies placed at various heights, if any cubbies were off by a few millimetres here and there, it would not have an impact on the overall look of the display.
Step #4 Time to drill holes in the wall!
I had my husband drill holes in the wall, after which I inserted the plastic screw anchors into each hole:
Taking the rubber mallet, I hammered each anchor into the wall, and then screwed each screw into the plastic anchors, ensuring that I left a bit hanging out (about a quarter of an inch) so that the wall cubbies could be hung.
Step #5 Hang each cubby in the order you had predetermined earlier.
Now it was time to hang the cubbies into place.
Now…wait several months 😉 before coming up with an artful way of displaying objects. With a cubby wall display like this, the sky’s the limit – which, in part, explains why it took me a while. The design I finally came up with allows me to change out items while playing with colour, all at a very low cost.
What I decided to do was to use colourful craft paper inserts glued on cardboard. With craft paper inserted into the cubbies, I can change out the colour whenever the mood (or season or holiday) strikes.
To create your own inserts, follow along with these simple instructions.
Trace paper to fit the interior of each cubby.
Cut along the traced outlines created on your craft paper.
In order to make the craft paper inserts sturdy and solid, use cardboard backing. Just trace the cardboard to fit each cubby as you did the craft paper, like so…
…and then glue the craft paper to each cardboard cut-out:
Now you are ready to insert your panels into each cubby.
And voila! You have a cubby art wall installation lined with pretty craft paper ready to display treasured objects.
The objects I chose to display are neutral in tones of white and unfinished wood pieces found at my local craft store. All the white objects you see were simply glass bottles that I spray painted in a semi-gloss white.
To appreciate just how versatile this wall display can be, I created 4 different looks just by changing out the craft paper inserts:
Look #1: Pretty in Turquoise
Look #2: Sweet & Cheeful Yellow
Look #3: Pretty Pastels
This has quickly become one of my favourite looks of late.
Look #4: Au Naturale
For this look, all you have to do is remove the inserts for a beautiful, neutral wall display.
So there you have it! It took me a while to get here, but I finally resolved the problem I’d been having with my half wall. This DIY cubby wall display provides versatility without any colour commitment. I can change things out with the seasons simply by changing out the inserts or swapping out the objects. The possibilities are endless!
This is a great project if you are looking for a way to display those treasured objects you have been saving or simply to provide interest to a boring, blank wall. It’s also a nice alternative to framed photos or prints. Hope you give this one a try!
For more ideas for your walls, including cubbies, wall shelves and gallery wall ideas, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest!