Interesting wall treatments can turn an ordinary room into an extraordinary room. This can be accomplished with a simple coat of paint, application of wallcoverings, decorative faux treatments, custom wall decals or murals. The possibilities are endless!
A Brief History of Wall Treatments
Since early humans first began to draw images and markings on cave walls by crushing earth and other natural materials like vegetable and insect matter to produce colors, man has embellished his walls. The oldest known cave paintings are at the Chauvet Cave in France, claimed to be around 32,000 years old. They are engraved and painted using red ochre and black pigment and illustrate horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth or humans often hunting. The Egyptians were the first to truly appreciate the full impact of color by crushing minerals to detail their interiors on elements such as columns and wall frescos with extravagant hieroglyphic artwork. Later, Roman interiors were also highly decorated with bold images covering the majority of interior surfaces. The story of wallpaper itself began in ancient China, as the Chinese invented paper. They glued rice paper onto their walls as early as 200 BCE and adorned these rice paper panels with hand-painted birds, flowers, religious symbols and regional landscapes.
Paint Provides Highest Impact at Lowest Cost
Walls, ceilings and trim are obvious outlets for designers and homeowners to express color with the least expensive interior magic: paint. Today’s paint market is wider and more dynamic than ever. With alkyds quickly being replaced by latex based acrylics and many paints being reformulated for low VOC, health and environmental concerns, it makes for an often overwhelming array of choices for the consumer.
A few tips for choosing paint bases include:
- Buy the best paint you can afford. Go with top of the line products from proven companies such as Porter and Benjamin Moore for best results and a happy painter.
- Carefully consider sheen when specifying paint. The higher the gloss, the more durable the paint. Woodwork gets repainted the least often, so use a minimum of semi-gloss or full gloss products. I continue to recommend a classic sheen combination: Flat ceilings, Egg Shell walls and Semi-Gloss Trim.
- The best finished paint job always starts with the substrate condition and careful preparation of all surfaces. Correct primers must still be used in most cases.
- Leverage paint representatives and interior designers for expert recommendations.
A few tips for applying color in residential interiors include:
- Try tinted ceilings – it’s not all about white ceilings anymore, even in traditional environments.
- Create single accent walls in a bold or deep color to draw you in or anchor a wall in a space.
- Use darker colors in bedrooms to convey serenity, and keep baths light for function.
- In contemporary environments, consider painting walls, trim and ceilings in the same color for the cleanest backdrops.
Wallcoverings are Fresh Again
Wallcoverings (wallpaper) can be a very cost effective way to achieve a highly artistic look on your walls. They can be about adding texture and depth to a space. Even the most subtle texture or pattern can add warmth and visual interest that a simple coat of paint cannot achieve. They can make your room become the artwork.
Some people may be scared off by wallpaper, inundated with bygone ideas of tacky, plastic-looking floral patterns and badly-colored stripes, but some of the freshest trends in wallpapers can be a great component to decorating your home.
We all remember the wallpaper growing up that we loved to hate, but now there are endless patterns that can enhance an interior. Well chosen wallpaper can uplift, inspire and bring a sense of peace and tranquility, or vibrancy and excitement to a space.
There are many different types of papers to choose from to give your room a sense of design, including different patterns, textures, and coatings for durability. Papers can be embossed, flocked and can be produced from paper, vinyl, fabric, grass or burlap. There are companies who specialize in hand printing gorgeous wallpapers for a unique and custom look versus machine made versions you might see elsewhere. One unique possibility with wallpaper today is to have a personal photo or graphic image enlarged to oversized scale creating a custom and bold statement in your room.
For a wallpaper project to be successful, prepping the walls properly in crucial. Executing a great install with correct pattern flow matching is also key. Hiring a professional wallpaper installer is a minimal investment well worth the price unless you are very skilled in this trade.
Since wallpaper fell out of fashion in the late 1980’s, sourcing quality wallpaper at a local, well-booked dealer can be quite difficult in today’s market. A professional interior designer has access to the widest selection of material samples and can guide you through the daunting process of specifying and installing just the right wallcoverings for your home or office spaces.
There are also interesting companies who create custom large wall decals on specialized matte die-cut papers which easily adhere to walls but do not leave glue or residues when removed. These are very durable, pliable and cost effective options to decorate children’s rooms, game or media rooms – anywhere you want to modify or enhance the visuals in a space. Almost any image in any size is possible today.
Limitless Decorative Wall Treatments
There are endless and unique possibilities surrounding what some call “faux (false) finishes” for walls. What we think of in today’s decorative wall finishes actually originated in Mesopotamia with plaster and stucco finishes over 5,000 years ago.
Some popular decorative treatments today can actually be applied to walls, ceilings, floors, mouldings, cabinets or even furniture. They include wood graining, marbling, trompe l’oeil, glazing, stippling, strié, color washes, ragging, distressing, stenciling, and plaster finishes.
When wallpaper became unfashionable in the last 20 years, many homeowners took it upon themselves to learn faux finishing techniques. Learning to execute simple wall finishes can be a very inexpensive option to creating bold decorative statements in your home.
If you choose to hire a professional decorative wall finish contractor, you should look for someone with a strong portfolio of finish samples that resemble what you are looking for in your spaces. They should always be willing to create a unique and final sample board for you to see exactly what your finish will look like prior to the application.
Local artisans who create these finishes state current trends include metallic finishes with subtle textures, evidence that homeowners are enjoying reflective elements to add excitement and glamour to their rooms.
Murals Can Make the Room
Murals take home decoration to a new level and not only do they help completely transform the look of the room, they are relatively inexpensive when compared to any major home alteration that you would undertake.
Private mural art commissions can be requested for dining rooms, bathrooms, living rooms or, as is often the case children’s bedrooms. A child’s room can be transformed into the “fantasy world” of a race track or a favorite animated character in a scene, encouraging imaginative play and an awareness of art.
Many people like to express their individuality by commissioning an artist to paint a mural in their home. This is not an activity exclusively for owners of large houses. A mural artist is only limited by the fee and therefore the time and detail work spent on the painting. A simple mural can be added to the smallest of walls. The personal interaction between the client and muralist is often a unique experience for the individual not typically involved in the arts and can be very enjoyable.
Wall treatments in today’s decorative market are really only limited by budget and imagination, as the possibilities truly are endless.
Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at www.jeffsheatsdesigns.com to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!