7 trends in wall treatments
Paints, papers, decals, and more can bring excitement to your rooms. Here are the freshest looks available.
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THERE’S A SAYING in the design world that every wall is a blank canvas. But if your walls have been looking just a little too, well, blank lately, take heart, because design showrooms are newly awash in rich colors, unexpected textures, and bold patterns that the average homeowner can appropriate. “I think people are trying to be a little more creative with their space and have a little more fun with it,” says Erin Davis, showroom manager at EcoModern Design in the Boston Design Center. “Playing with the wall surface creates a more dynamic space.” When there’s something unexpected on the walls or even — the latest vogue — on the ceiling, Davis adds, the room achieves a more layered look that draws the eye around.
Here, a few of the freshest ideas.
1. TRY A FASHIONABLE COLOR
For decades now, beiges have been the neutral of choice — they go with anything and, as a backdrop, allow furnishings to shine. And though these shades will still be around, they are no longer the blah light tans that some designers term “contractor’s beige” for their generic ubiquity in new construction. The trend is toward more natural shades like “bone sand” and sepia, according to New Jersey-based Pantone, whose color-matching system is used throughout the design industry.
But even more, beiges are being nudged out of the spotlight by shades of gray and the colors that complement them, from gray-blues to navies to “warmer, tropical, watery blues with a touch of green,” according to the Color Marketing Group in Alexandria, Virginia, which analyzes and predicts fashions in color. “This is not your grandmother’s baby blue,” says Betty Wheeler, an interior designer at Home Decor Group in Peabody. “It’s a stronger, bolder blue working off of a silvery gray or even a deep gray.”
Even black is making a surprise appearance, lending an air of old Hollywood to dining rooms, bedrooms, and hallways, particularly when paired with white woodwork and accessories. “Black is definitely a trend,” says Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams in Dallas. “People think it will close the room in, but it has the opposite effect.”
Metallics, too, are part of the luxe look. “To me, metallics come off as a classic,” says Davis, “though you obviously don’t want to have everything in the room metallic.”
2. CREATE AN ACCENT WALL
No matter what color family you choose, accent walls are making a strong comeback. “It’s a modern return to what people were doing in the ’70s,” Wheeler points out. “It was taboo for a while, a bad idea. Now it’s a good idea.”
Accent walls work best when the wall is the room’s natural focal point — there’s a fireplace on it, say, or the bed is placed against it. Just make sure your accent color works with rather than against the other colors in the room. “If you have three blue walls and one red one,” says Charles Spada, principal of Charles Spada Interiors of Boston, “it’s hellacious.” On the other hand, he says, a silver or gold foil wall in a contemporary setting — particularly when paired with something like a glazed chocolate throughout — “can really look spiffy.”
Another key is to make sure the room’s furnishings and accessories tie the two colors together. In a child’s room, for example, you might have three pale pink walls and a turquoise one behind the bed. “Just make sure the bedding has colors that coordinate the two,” says Wheeler.
Ceilings often provide the accent for today’s most up-to-date looks. A dark ceiling — a deep eggplant or magenta, perhaps — with neutral walls makes a dramatic statement, while the same hue as the walls but in a lighter shade can work especially well when white crown molding provides a visual separation.
3. EXPERIMENT WITH WALLPAPER
Because the wallpapers of yesteryear were hard to remove and often clashed with the clean lines of postmodernism, they fell out of favor decades ago. But wallpaper has returned in a significant way, minus those gingham checks and tiny flowers. “Prints are larger in general,” says Wheeler, “bigger, bolder, and more graphic.”
Jordan adds: “Large-scale designs are becoming very popular, and people are using them differently than you’d typically think of using wallpaper. They’re doing more feature walls, especially with the bigger designs. Or, rather than doing an entire wall, they may just do two strips in the center, with maybe a chest of drawers or credenza in front of it.” Even in powder rooms, Jordan says, where many people fear a large pattern might overwhelm, the new wallpapers can create an “interesting, dynamic” effect and add a sense of drama. Continued...