The space above the couch is a substantial piece of decor "real estate," but hanging something there need not break the budget. What is hung there should complement the room, tie elements together and make a statement of your design expertise. Choosing what to hang above the couch is important, but the size of the item, or collection of items, is of equal importance. Understanding a few design guidelines will help you make the right choice.
The wall area above the sofa is a rectangular shape. The design principle at work here is that the shape of the item, or collection of items, in this space should also be rectangular. The rectangle starts 12 inches above the sofa back and is usually 3- to 4-feet high. The width is usually a minimum of two-thirds of, and not greater than, the width of the sofa. Items hung on the wall should be contained within this imaginary rectangle and should be placed no more than 4 inches apart. In this area of design, less is not more. Leaving the space blank is better than placing too small, or too few, items in the rectangle. A sofa is a fairly large piece of furniture, and the decoration above it should be substantial.
Look Around the House
Look around your house for items to fill the rectangle. The most effective collections have a common theme. For example, collect framed pictures of family members, and hang them in the rectangle. The frames do not have to match; the items will be a collection because of the common thread of family. You'll need to purchase picture hanging supplies.
Create Architectural Interest
Outline the imaginary rectangle with wood trim or moulding, and wallpaper inside the rectangle only. Wallpaper stores often sell single rolls of discontinued paper at below cost. Create original art within the rectangle by painting or drawing directly on the wall. Items to purchase are wood moulding and wallpaper.
Lots of Shelves
Hang several shelves of different lengths within the imaginary rectangle, and decorate the shelves with favoured treasures. Paint the shelves and brackets the wall colour to allow the displayed items to be the focus, not the shelves. If all the treasures have a common theme, such as tea cups, pencil cases or items that have your favourite blue in their design, the items will become a collection. You'll want to purchase primed wood planks and brackets.
Purchase a piece of tapestry fabric, and hang it by an expandable curtain rod to mimic an expensive tapestry wall hanging. Upholstery fabric has the design woven crosswise, and remnants of 2 yards or fewer are often sold at substantial savings. Purchase some fabric and an expandable curtain rod.