9 Unique Aquarium Designs to Incorporate Into Your Home’s Architecture

9 Unique Aquarium Designs to Incorporate Into Your Home’s Architecture

Interior Design
Decoration and Design
By Dikran Seferian June 12, 2022

There’s nothing quite like a well-designed aquarium to give your living spaces a splash of exotic flair. It also goes without saying that the bigger the tank, the bigger the impact it will have on the interior. While you can have bulky units of furniture designed to house large aquariums, a more creative approach is to incorporate the tank design into your home’s architecture. An integrated aquarium design creates a sleeker aesthetic and is sure to draw the attention of guests. Moreover, the mesmerizing waterscape combined with the soothing motions of the fish adds a sense of calmness to the interior design. 

1. Living Room Wall Fish Tank

A built-in wall aquarium can do wonders in transforming your living room.

A built-in wall aquarium can do wonders in transforming your living room.

A unique way to add visual interest to a living room wall is with an integrated fish tank. The best part about an aquarium is that it almost always corresponds with the room’s interior design, more so if it is incorporated into the architecture. While reef tanks are a sight to behold, simpler aquascapes that depict freshwater ecosystems are generally more affordable, and can also be equally charming.

For a real treat, consider going for schooling fish such as cardinal tetras, harlequin rasboras, or zebra danios; you will be spending hours on end watching the fish as they harmoniously swim in groups. Let’s not forget to mention that a living room fish tank in the wall is also an excellent way to maximize natural light since it doubles as a reflective surface.

2. Headboard Fish Tank

A headboard aquarium in your bedroom will have you “sleeping with the fishes.”

A headboard aquarium in your bedroom will have you “sleeping with the fishes.”

Why opt for a headboard when you can have a huge aquarium above your bed instead? While a bedroom is not the best place for a fish tank according to Feng Shui, it’s hard to resist waking up to the sight of vibrantly colored fish gently swimming along a beautiful aquascape. And should you be having trouble falling asleep, just set your pillow on the opposite end of your bed and gaze at the aquatic spectacle; you’re sure to doze off in no time. The gentle glow from the built-in lighting even doubles as a night light for the bedroom.

For a headboard aquarium, it can be a good idea to create a soothing environment by choosing species of fish that are relatively calm and mellow in nature. Neon tetra, fancy guppies, threadfin rainbowfish, and marbled hatchet fish are excellent choices. 

3. Floor Aquarium

Installing a floor aquarium isn’t the easiest project but the results are worthwhile.

Installing a floor aquarium isn’t the easiest project but the results are worthwhile.

While hardwood, linoleum, stone, and ceramic flooring are certainly common, there’s one option that doesn’t normally cross the mind of a homeowner: a floor aquarium. This unconventional choice for aquarium integration is not the easiest project to undertake, but if done correctly, it is well worth the investment and the effort. However, it’s important to make sure that the flooring space that you’re converting into an aquarium is in an area with very little foot traffic; constant footsteps can stress the fish out. As with backyard fish ponds, common choices for floor aquariums are koi fish. But given the suitable environment, there are so many options to choose from.

4. Room Divider Aquarium

An integrated aquarium is a unique option for dividing spaces within an open concept interior.

An integrated aquarium is a unique option for dividing spaces within an open concept interior.

Open floor plans are a common choice in contemporary interior designs. Should you prefer to create a slight division between open spaces, however, a creative way to do so can be with an aquarium. A room divider fish tank also helps maintain the essence of open floor plans since you can basically see through them. Unlike an ordinary folding screen, for instance, this unique take on room dividers may even serve as a centerpiece by bringing a piece of aquatic nature into the home.

Heavily planted fish tank designs can certainly be fascinating to look at, and many aquarium hobbyists swear by them. To maintain the sense of openness in your living space, however, it’s a good idea to keep the aquascaping at a minimum in the case of room divider aquariums. 

5. Kitchen Wall Fish Tank

A kitchen wall fish tank might inspire the most colorful of dishes.

A kitchen wall fish tank might inspire the most colorful of dishes.

A brilliant way to add a splash of color to an otherwise monotone kitchen is with a vibrant fish tank on the wall. If a heavily planted aquarium is your cup of tea, this is the place for it. A Dutch garden-themed aquarium with a few discus fish, for instance, can be an excellent choice. Discus fish naturally come in a variety of colors including blue, yellow, red, orange, and mixed. As for Dutch garden aquarium designs, they typically feature lush greenery often with a red-colored plant serving as the focal point in the foreground.

A fish tank featuring this combination of fish and aquascaping can easily grab attention, more so when it’s practically part of the kitchen wall itself. In many cases, it can even complement the color and texture of the surrounding wall.

It is worth mentioning that while discus fish are incredibly beautiful, they tend to be somewhat high-maintenance. Consider going for hardier species such as platies, mollies, and dwarf gouramis if you’re new to this hobby.

6. Wall Aquarium Strips

Wall-to-wall aquariums are an excellent way to breathe life into your hallway.

Wall-to-wall aquariums are an excellent way to breathe life into your hallway.

A fish tank that runs throughout the entire length of an understated hallway can truly elevate the space. Although darker colors also work, a white neutral wall provides the ideal setting for a corridor fish tank — also known as a wall aquarium strip. The vibrant waterscape of the built-in fish tank allows it to stand out while its sleek design helps it blend in at the same time.

Aside from corridors, a wall-to-wall aquarium is also perfect for an open floor plan. It would practically adorn multiple spaces — such as a kitchen and a dining room — at the same time due to the open layout.

The substantial length of a corridor aquarium makes it a suitable habitat for fish that require a lot of space to dart around. An African biotope aquarium with cichlids and red-tail sharks, for instance, would be ideal in that regard. 

7. Bathroom Wall Aquarium

Make your porcelain throne time more interesting with a bathroom wall fish tank.

Make your porcelain throne time more interesting with a bathroom wall fish tank.

Wall aquariums are common choices for upgrading dining rooms, living rooms, kitchens, and other living spaces. One place where you don’t see them often, however, is the bathroom. Although it sounds rather unconventional, a bathroom wall aquarium can do wonders in adding visual interest to a mainly utilitarian space. And since bathrooms are normally smaller than other rooms, why not take the opportunity to go for a fish tank that spans the entirety of the wall? Simply imagine yourself relaxing in the bathtub while watching the fish as they swim freely around the massive aquarium.

Consider taking the design a step further by adding blue accent lights throughout the bathroom. Not only will this allow you to complement the colors and lighting in the fish tank, but also tie the whole space together. 

8. Stairway Fish Tank

A fish tank integrated into a stairway takes aquarium design to a new level.

A fish tank integrated into a stairway takes aquarium design to a new level.

An integrated aquarium can be just the addition that turns an ordinary flight of stairs into possibly the best feature in your home. Depending on the type of stairway you have, there’s a variety of ways you can incorporate a fish tank into the design. A winding stairway, for instance, can practically wrap around the aquarium in the center. Matching the aquarium trims with the steps of the stairway can make the whole integrated design appear more organic. Another idea involves integrating an aquarium into the cabinetry beneath a staircase — or replacing the entire storage space with a fish tank.

9. Built-in Cabinet Aquarium

Cabinet fish tanks not only add visual interest but are also very practical.

Cabinet fish tanks not only add visual interest but are also very practical.

Perhaps one of the most common places into which you can integrate an aquarium is cabinetry. Besides the sleek appearance, this kind of aquarium design allows you to conveniently hide the tank’s filters and pipework in the adjacent cabinets. This results in a layout that not only adds visual interest to the room but is practical as well.

A full-height utility cabinet by itself may seem somewhat drab. Incorporating a huge fish tank along the middle section can create an aesthetically appealing contrast. A vibrant and visually appealing aquarium tastefully complements not only the cabinets around it but also the nearby furniture.

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian