Friday 14 May 2021
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Which wall finish?

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When designing and building your home from scratch or just renovating, you might ask the question: which wall finish will help you draw attention to the space, set a mood or add interest to a potentially boring area. Well, there is quite a bit that can be done to compliment or even replace plaster walls. Always remember that the use of paint is probably the cheapest way to dress a wall. But if done selectively and with proper consideration, other finishes will flatter and enhance your home and décor style. Let’s look at a few options other than painted walls and tiles.

Wood wall panels
Although considered by many to be outdated, wood paneling is fast coming back into fashion. Not only will it add interest and texture in a room, but can be used to hide a plaster wall with water damage or unsightly cracks. Consider carefully the way in which the paneling is fixed to the wall and the potential effort and cost of repairing the wall should you decide in the future to remove the paneling.If panels are installed horizontally on a wall, the elusion of giving the room added width would be created. Alternatively, if fixed vertically, it will add height to the room. This could therefore be used to create space in a small or low ceilinged room. Painted panels work excellently with a traditional interior style, but can also work wonderfully with a cottage and contemporary decor style.

The use of reclaimed wood, e.g. pallets or old floorboards, has become very popular. Old wood used to clad a wall makes for a very interesting feature wall, something I have used in my own home to hide a very ugly wall. This wall finish compliments the industrial, cottage and rustic décor styles.

Wallpaper is back and I suspect here for some while to come. It is probably one of the best ways to make a statement in a room. Wallpaper has really evolved over the last few years. From bold florals, modern or vintage prints, metallic finishes, graphic prints to subtle stripes or grasscloths, the sky is the limit. For the brave, custom printed wallpaper is also available. An added benefit to the new generation of wallpaper options is that it removing the wallpaper in the future is much easier. Although much cheaper than in the past, wallpaper is still a relatively expensive wall finish. If your budget is tight, use wallpaper on a focus wall only. Use a background or an accent colour from the wallpaper on the remaining walls in the room. Remember that the focus wall should standout and therefore have the most colour. If possible, use a professional to hang the wallpaper for the best job. Although it is possible to do this yourself, it is not so easy to line up the sheets perfectly, or match patterns flawlessly. The use of a pro will also save you time, if not only avoid expensive mistakes.What is also great is that most fabric houses, which supply wallpaper, in many cases, have ranges with matching fabric options. Wallpaper is a great wall finish for traditional, contemporary and cottage décor styles. The right choice of print, for instance a city skyline or old world map, could work well in an industrial setting.

Exposed brick
Definitely one of my favourite wall finishes must be an exposed brick wall.  An exposed brick wall will lend character and raw charm to any interior space, from the kitchen right through to the bedroom. Bricks come in a wide range of colours, from warm natural colours to dark and soft grays, making it appropriate in a high style contemporary home, as well as for rustic and industrial styles. This wall finish is probably the best choice when you are building a new home, as removing the plaster from an existing home’s walls is not for the faint hearted. Just imagine the absolute mess, not to mention the fact that not all bricks are meant to be exposed. So before you consider doing this, I would suggest that you only expose a small part of the bricks in an area where is would be possible to cover it up again if the underlying brick proves to be not suitable. But if it comes down to it, an ugly exposed brick wall can always be painted or colour washed.

Another favourite for me! Raw concrete walls are however potentially “cold” and really only suites an industrial interior design look, and if used in small amounts also a contemporary style. This look will probably be best achieved successfully if incorporated into a new building. Make sure that the contractor used is experienced in this area. As with most things these days, you will also be able to create a faux concrete wall through either paint techniques or even custom printed wallpaper.

Stone cladding
Stone cladding on both interior and exterior wall have been around for quite some time. Very few of these however take my fancy as I always consider the absolute impractical side of keeping a floor to ceiling stone clad wall dust and spider free… If left to me, cladding will be limited to the exterior of a house. But on the up side, this finish is also a good way of hiding wall imperfections and could create an interesting feature wall.  Stone cladding is usually quite expensive, depending on the size of the wall and your choice of finish. Make sure to use a professional to install the product, as this could be an expensive mistake if it goes wrong. If you, like me, tend to get tired of a something quite quickly, rather think twice before spending money on stone cladding, as it will be expensive to remove and repair the wall for an alternative finish. Stone cladding will suite a traditional, contemporary and rustic interior design look.

Glass Panels
Except for the obvious use of large windows to replace walls, glass can be used very successfully as interior walls. In a not so large room with an en suit bathroom, the illusion of space and openness can be achieved by using a “glass wall”.  A living area can be separated seamlessly from a noisy TV or playroom, without sacrificing on space and continuity. But this could be an expensive option for various reasons. Large security standard glass comes at a price.  In our climate, lots of glass could mean lots of direct sun, which will result in additional expenses in the form of curtains, and/or blinds to protect your furniture or give you needed privacy. Lots of glass and small children also do not necessarily mix well, for obvious reasons. Glass walls will work well in contemporary, industrial and traditional homes.

Hope you have enjoyed this as much as I did writing the article. Join me again next week when we look at floor finishes. Keep well and warm!

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