Decorating brick walls without drilling is possible. Here are some ideas to create a unique and personal look.
Our home decor affects our self-esteem, mood, and productivity. How you decorate your home not only reflects your personality and style but shows who you are as a person and what you value. When something doesn’t look right, it throws everything else in the room off-kilter, especially in rooms with exposed brick walls. Bare brick walls are stunning when done right, but they can look cold and industrial. Many people want to soften their appearance by hanging their favorite paintings, art, photos, and other wall decor. But hanging stuff on brick walls is tricky, whether it's a faux brick wall or a real brick wall. Can you do it without drilling?
Here are some potential issues you might face when drilling into brick:
- Drilling holes into brick walls can compromise the integrity of the wall.
- Hanging stuff from holes in brick can lead to cracking.
- Poor drilling techniques or using the wrong equipment can break the brickwork.
- Electrical wires, plumbing, or gas pipes could run through the other side of the wall you're drilling.
Fortunately, this article will show you some alternative ways to hang stuff on your exposed brick wall without drilling as well as eight inspiring design ideas you can use to decorate your brick wall to compliment your style and use them to their fullest potential. Here’s everything you need to know about how to decorate a brick wall without drilling.
Drilling into brick can be an intimidating, dangerous, and complicated process, so many people choose either an adhesive, brick hangers, or brick clips to hang items on their brick walls. None of these methods is 100% perfect, but they’ll usually do the trick if the item being hung is lightweight.
The important thing to know about using an adhesive to hang items on your brick wall is that the effectiveness likely depends on how it responds to the surface condition of the bricks. Brick walls with rough jagged exteriors or a super-smooth surface will be tough to get anything to stick to it.
For the best results, we recommend using industrial adhesives. Using a watered-down adhesive does more harm than good because they usually seep into the pores and grooves of the brick. When hardened, it can cause cracking. Here are a few of the more popular adhesive types that people have found to be relatively good at sticking to brick:
- Gorilla Max Strength Clear Construction Adhesive
- Loctite PL Premium Polyurethane Construction Adhesive
- Loctite PL 500 Landscape Construction Adhesive
Using Command strips to hang items on brick is possible, but only when used for very light items. To successfully apply the strips to brick walls, you might need to add a dab of hot glue to the back of the strip. Command strips may not be your best option, though, since the manufacturer does not recommend using them on brick.
Many folks have found success using VELCRO brand extreme strength fasteners. These products have a durable, UV-resistant adhesive that adheres to rough surfaces like concrete and brick, and you can use them indoors or outdoors without drilling, nails, screws, or epoxy. While VELCRO with a strong adhesive backing can work well on brick, in time, they lose strength and can struggle to stay attached. With this in mind, avoid hanging heavier objects or valuable items that break easily.
Brick Hangers, Brick Clips, and Brick Clamps
Brick hangers work well because they have prongs that fit into the mortar line of a brick wall, and most will hold heavier items up to 25 pounds. The only issue with brick hangers is that they need to be embedded deep enough in the mortar for the prongs to fit. If not secured super deep, they won’t stay in place.
Photos courtesy of Lee Valley
Brick clips are another brilliant method for hanging stuff on a brick wall. They clip over the face of the brick with the top lip resting on the top ledge and the bottom clipping underneath the brick at the mortar line. They can hold around 25 pounds.
You can also use brick clamps on brick walls with recessed mortar lines. Their support hooks can hold picture frame wires vertically or horizontally and can support up to 30 pounds. They operate similarly to brick hangers and clips but with an added stainless steel screw to secure the clamp.
Note that many people refer to brick clips, brick hangers, and brick clamps as if they’re the same thing. This is true to a degree, but as you can see, there are subtle differences between them, so make sure you know which type you need before buying.
Now that you know how to properly hang a decoration on a brick wall without using a drill, we can turn our focus to decorating.
Battery-operated LED Christmas lights or patio lights are a splendid choice for decorating a beautiful brick wall. You can use these lights to create a border, lines, or zig-zag pattern or enhance the look of picture frames, mirrors, and clocks. What makes this idea so simple is that you can hang these lovely lights without worrying about hiding cords.
You can highlight the color of your exposed brick wall by placing potted plants in front of the wall, hanging plants from the ceiling, or creating a vertical garden to soften the wall's appearance.
3. Open-back Shelving
Open-back shelving is a popular decorating choice for brick walls because you can place pictures, plants, books, antiques, or any lightweight items you want to display on it. You can switch the shelves up whenever you want to as well.
Lean a tall skinny mirror against a rustic brick wall or hang one using brick clips, hangers, or clamps. Mirrors help reflect light around the area, brightening the room and creating a more open atmosphere. To make the most of it, hang your mirror on the wall opposite a window to reflect warm light and brighten the room.
5. Pictures, Posters & Art
On brick walls, you can arrange paintings and photographs in a variety of ways without creating holes in the masonry. By expressing your style in this way, you can transform a home or business to reflect your taste and style.
The only thing you need to keep posters up on a brick wall is Scotch tape, making decorating your brick accent wall with posters of musicians, sports teams, or whatever else a breeze.
6. Wood Furniture and Accents
Placing wooden furniture and decorations in front of brick walls gives the room an inviting look. We recommend choosing a furniture piece like a table, dresser, or desk made of hardwood and with a color that contrasts with the color of your brick walls to make both the wall and the furniture stand out.
7. The Shine
You can kill two birds with one stone by applying a brick sealer or glaze product. You can usually buy these in either a satin finish for a low-gloss shine or a gloss finish for total sheen. As an added bonus, these products also drastically limit the amount of dust your bricks catch.
You can do many cool things to a brick wall with paint, such as distressing the wall or whitewashing it. Besides giving the wall a completely different appearance, it also gives the room a different feel. Before applying paint, remember that brick soaks it up, so you're likely to need more than usual to completely cover it. Also keep in mind that it will be impossible to get the original brick color back once you paint it. Here's a quick guide on how to go about painting bricks.
Instructions for painting bricks
- Prepare the area by scrubbing the bricks with a nylon brush to loosen the mortar, dirt, and dust on the wall.
- Wash the bricks with warm water and a few drops of liquid soap.
- Wait at least 12 hours for the bricks to dry.
- Fill the cracks with putty or sealant.
- Apply the primer to the surface of the bricks and allow it to dry before proceeding.
- Apply water-based acrylic paint with a roller and brush.
- Let the paint dry completely.
- Apply a second coat of paint.
Brick is a lovely feature to have in your home, and hopefully, we gave you enough ideas and information to decorate your brick wall to fit your tastes. Try not to go overboard with your decorating, and always remember that modifying your brick wall is a great way to improve your home, but only if it’s done well.