If walls could talk, what would they say?
Walls are the most important components of a room. They define your space and contain all the decorations that one may dream up.
Walls contribute much of the visual interest of a room; that is why it is so important to choose a successful decorative solution. Color, a wainscoting or a molding can help to expand the space, enhance the lighting or gain visual height.
First and foremost, plain walls are OK. Plainly painted walls are the best option if you want to create a light and energizing atmosphere. This gives prominence to the room's furniture and fabrics. Natural tones such as stone, sand and beige, also known as neutrals, are easy to combine with all types of wood and fabrics.
Choosing the best color is a matter of personal choice. Each color captures a different mood and creates different decorative effects. Shades of white (bone, almond, etc.) will help you gain visual space. Ochres and yellows are luminous, and earth tones give the sensation of bringing the walls closer. Blue and mauve create cool, light atmospheres.
Today, decorative painting styles include glazes and patinas. They can come in clean tones as well as very subtle color effects. For those looking for the most natural finish possible, such as dusty and waxed finishes, decorative painting is a way to go. Decorative painting is also quite durable. Stuccos and lacquers are the best option to defend against the effects of humidity and occasional bumps.
Rustic effects are popular in today's interiors. To get a rustic effect, you can opt for a glaze, applying translucent layers of paint on a wall with color or marbling. Another option is to paint with natural pigments such as lime-based or chalk-based paints, which create an uneven finish with attractive contrasts of light.
Installing a tall wainscoting gives a tall room human scale. In addition to being decorative, wainscoting protects the wall and can serve to differentiate spaces. In rooms with ceilings 8 to 10 feet high, the ideal height is 36 to 42 inches. To finish off, you can use a cap molding, or add a wider piece of wood that acts a shelf for displaying artwork and other collectibles.
Wooden and medium density fiberboard wainscoting are the most resistant and durable and are very useful in that they can hide the imperfections or irregularities of a wall. Wood slats, natural or varnished, provide warmth and give the room a rustic feeling. If you want to lighten the space or better integrate the wainscoting, I recommend painting it a light color.
Cloth or wallpaper wainscoting is recommended for rooms with little wear. For a very decorative option, coordinate the cloth or wallpaper wainscoting with some of the fabrics in the room. This is especially effective in children's bedrooms. The most resistant material for this is vinyl, which can also be washed.
A very current option is wainscoting made from natural fiber wall coverings such as raffia, jute or burlap. These natural wall coverings fit well with almost any decorative style. You can also opt for a painted wainscot, which is classic and very easy to keep fresh.
In large rooms, you can decorate the walls with moldings placed in geometric patterns. You can paint the moldings and the wall in contrasted tones, or keep them the same color for a more subtle combination.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.josephpubillones.com. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.