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We lean art against them and drill curtain rods into them, scuff them with chairs and sometimes ignore them completely. In many ways, walls are like the Rodney Dangerfield of the design world: They don’t get no respect. But not around here. When considered with care, these oft-overlooked features form the foundation of any decorating scheme and impart a finished look. They can also dramatically transform a space, lending historical reference or sleek sophistication, eye-catching architectural detail or functional soundproofing, depending on your preference and how you approach them. Here, we’ve rounded up ten inspiring treatments to help you think outside of the plain-white box and reinvent the walls that surround you. From fabric coverings and classic wood paneling to worldly plaster siding and striking paint effects, these ideas for your walls are just the thing to turn a lackluster interior into the polished space you’ve always dreamed of.
There’s no quicker way to reinvigorate a room than with paint, whether you choose a solid hue to coat all four surfaces, a vibrant color for an accent wall, or an interesting visual effect, such as stripes. Bonus: It’s also the easiest finish to apply-and change whenever the mood strikes.
While romantic florals and graphic shapes have made their way onto everything from bookcases and closets to ceilings and framed art, wallpaper reaches its full potential on, well, walls. To moderate the intensity of pattern in a room, consider the scale of the repeat and the color; more dramatic prints work better in smaller doses.
cloth, linen, silk-there’s something so sumptuous about fabric-covered walls. While they instantly add texture and a note of formality to any room, there’s a hidden benefit to decorating partitions with these materials: When paired with batting or padding, they help reduce ambient noise between rooms.
An elegant upgrade that also adds warmth, woodwork can skew contemporary or traditional depending on the size, staining, and spacing of the paneling.
In the words of master craftsman Stephen Fanuka, “Moldings make a huge difference.” You can add a chair rail in a dining room or crown molding in a living room to impart a more formal look. Or try applying panel molding on a flat door to give it traditional character.
Whether you’re considering polished Venetian or matte grooved, plaster can lend texture and dimension to any room. Its mottled appearance lends contrast and subtle variation, which draws the eye and breaks up the monotony of an expansive wall.
From landscapes and country scenes to delicate branches and trellises, murals and other decorative artworks can add personality and depth to a space. Such features also include eye-tricking treatments like trompe l’oeil and faux bois, as well as gold leaf.
The quickest way to make a room appear larger is to incorporate mirrors, which reflect light and create the illusion of additional space. A wall of mirrored panels, such as the antiqued examples shown above, also impart worldly patina and sleek sophistication.