The Art of Illusion: Optical Illusions for your Walls

Decorating your home with optical illusions is one of the best ways to give your home a sense of depth and perspective.
The Art of Illusion: Optical Illusions for your Walls

Last update: 17 December, 2019

In the Baroque era, designers would decorate walls with illusionistic images. By this, of course, we mean optical illusions or trompe l’oeil. In the past, they would paint these images directly onto fresh plaster. Today, however, there are other ways to incorporate them into your home.

In simple terms, optical illusions are designed to trick your eyes. You have to look carefully to really understand what’s going on. This is a really innovative way to decorate your home.

You can use optical illusions pretty much anywhere, but it is becoming more and more common to find them in bedrooms. This is because bedrooms are generally the most personal rooms in the house, giving you the freedom to decorate however you want.

What are optical illusions?

The optical illusions used in interior decor usually feature countryside scenes or idyllic landscapes. These 3D images are painted or stuck onto the walls. The main aim is to try to deceive the eye and make the room seem far larger than it really is.

3D garden path door decoration.

Modern optical illusions are usually sold in a format similar vinyl decals or wallpaper, in that adhesive is used to attach them to the walls. As you apply them, you have to be very careful not to create creases or air bubbles.

Use optical illusions to transform your home into a place of creativity and originality.

Realistic optical illusions

Realistic optical illusions are one of the most popular options on the market at the moment. While the theme can vary greatly from one design to another, these stunning illusions are all designed to trick your brain into thinking the room is more spacious than it really is. Here are some examples of realistic illusions:

  • One of the most common themes is a beach or coastal scene. These are great for giving your home a sense of peace and tranquillity.
  • Waterfalls and forests are another popular option, and a great way to bring a small slice of paradise into your home. 
  • It’s also common to find photographs of famous cities, such as New York, London or Paris. You’ll also see pictures of charming streets, some well-known, others not.
  • Famous monuments and landmarks can also be a good choice. The most popular include the Eiffel Tower, Westminster, the Pyramids of Egypt or the Kukulkan Feathered Serpent.
Coastal scene.

Bring fantastic places into your home

Another popular option when it comes to decorating with optical illusions is to use fantastic and surreal images. There are so many different designs to choose from, but some of the most common include:

  • Paradise: these images are completely out of this world, with extraordinary colors and impossible landscapes. You can almost imagine them being home to fairy tale creatures and magical plants.
  • Universe: these depict stars, planets, meteorites and more, giving you your own personal view of the night sky.
  • Religious: for the more religious among you, you can even find optical illusions depicting scenes from the Bible. They are often found in seminaries and other religious places.
  • Abstract spaces: strictly speaking, these have no real content. They might simply feature floating spheres or mind-boggling illusions.
Open field optical illusions.

The search for perspective

The main aim of these optical illusions is to fool your brain into thinking that the image before you is real. Your brain will attempt to make sense of what is happening on the wall in front of you.

The illusion of perspective is what makes these optical illusions work so well, as they give the image a deceptively realistic sense of depth. Some people choose to buy more traditional optical illusions for their walls, while others prefer those featuring a window, complete with a spectacular view of a famous landmark or landscape. Either of these options will be perfect for your home.

Where to buy?

Lake view.

You can usually find the best range of optical illusion decorations online. There are a number of different websites which, as well as offering great prices, also have a huge variety of different designs to choose from. Some may even have the option of creating your optical illusion from a photograph of your choice.

Take the time to shop around online for the best offers. It’ll be worth it if you can decorate your bedroom, living room or children’s room with these original and creative decorations.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • AA.VV.: Diseño de interiores en la restauración, Vértice, 2008.