Unusual wall border ideas

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Whether a wall is tiled, painted or papered, borders add a finished touch to wall treatments. On the other hand, plain mouldings and off-the-rack wallpaper borders can turn even the most artfully rendered wall into a boring cliché.

Finding the right border to complement your walls may seem daunting under those circumstances, but it can actually be an entertaining exploration in textures, colours and unusual juxtapositions, requiring outside-the-box creativity.

Off-the-Shelf Standout

Give a ho-hum commercial border some pizazz using solid-core black foam board sheets and a few basic craft supplies. Attach a commercial border to your walls according to the instructions, but take the remainders to your craft table. Selectively cut out portions of the border you wish to emphasise --- butterflies or flowers, for example --- and paste them to the foam board. When the glue is dry, carefully cut the figures out with a sharp craft knife and glue them directly onto the border over their flat counterparts, making them stand out from the background in a wonderful 3D effect. Seal everything with a clear polymer coating or acrylic spray.

Take Note

Give your home office a decorative border that could also save valuable research time. Buy a block of sticky note pads in bright colours. Get out the permanent markers and jot down memos of all the office-related things you have a hard time remembering: the spelling of an awkward word, a punctuation rule you never get right and so on. Fill the pad with as many items as you can think of, and then simply stick them "higgledy-piggledy" over the top of the walls to make a useful, yet colourful border. Leave them as-is so you can change them periodically, or seal for them for permanence.

Flower Power

Use foam board as a base, cutting it to the width and length required for your border. Glue dried or artificial flowers and/or foliage directly to the foam board. This works best if the flowers cover the breadth of the surface thickly but do not stand much above the surface --- no more than an inch is ideal. Stick the stems of flower heads into the foam board and secure them using dots of glue on the ends. When you are satisfied with your arrangements, spray everything flat white with spray paint and let it dry. Attach the lightweight flower border with wallpaper adhesive.


For a simple, yet elegant border in a sunroom or conservatory, cut sections of bamboo to approximately 6-inch lengths and glue them side by side around the top of the walls. This looks especially nice when combined with a matching wainscot of bamboo on the lower wall and bamboo or rattan furnishings. Use irregular lengths for an informal look, or cut them exactly the same size and place longer sections horizontally above and below for a more finished appearance.

Tantalising Toys

Make your toddler's room appealing with cheap plastic toys and yard sale bargains. Fasten trucks, balls, game pieces, blocks and other hard toys to sections of hardboard or ¼-inch plywood with small screws or powerful adhesive. Leave in the toy's individual colours, or paint them one colour overall for a sculptural look. Mount the boards to the wall with screws into the wall studs for a sturdy, fun border your child will love.