Wall alcoves are a whimsical architectural detail in many homes and offer the decorator a unique chance to show off his decorating skills. They act as a natural "frame" in the wall, so it's important to choose just the right accessory or piece of art for the space. The right piece can vary, depending on the style of the home or of the room in which the alcove is located.
If the alcove is located in a foyer, the decoration is usually formal. Often, a light is placed high in the alcove, and used to illuminate an expensive piece of art, such as a nice painting or sculpture. Sometimes an elaborate floral display is used to decorate a foyer wall alcove.
Wall alcoves that are not found in foyers, but rather in other areas of the house, are usually decorated in a more informal manner. Plants, family photos, or knick-knacks are commonly placed in these types of alcoves. Sometimes, a mirror is fit exactly into the alcove. This is a good option if the alcove is opposite a window, as the mirror will reflect the light from the window back into the room, creating a much brighter space.
Sometimes a wall alcove will be painted in order to make it stand out more from the rest of the wall. The effect can be subtle or dramatic, depending on the paint colours chosen and technique used. For talented painters, a trompe l'oeil can be a marvellous way to really make a wall alcove become an artistic statement in a home. Trompe l'oeil, or literally, "trick the eye", is a way of painting that fools the viewer into thinking he is seeing a three-dimensional image. Trompe l'oeil paintings often feature such subjects as windows or doorways.
Other ways to creatively decorate a wall alcove include hanging a layered display of empty frames, installing shelves in the alcove and displaying a cherished collection on the shelves, such as bud vases, installing a notice board and using the alcove as a message centre, or painting it with chalkboard paint and letting it be a place where the children can create original art.
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