We have come through a period when de-cluttered rooms and magnolia walls were all that was needed to excite the modern decorator. It was discovered that the key to decoration was to not decorate, and any use of initiative or color was a sign of weakness in someone who should know better. If your rooms didn’t look like operating theatres you were out of touch with modern trends. Fortunately that period of striving for a sterile, expressionless environment has passed, and it is now legal again to like color, texture and the occasional unusual idea. In short, DIY creative walls are back.
What are DIY walls? These are walls that do not look like the walls in 50% of the houses throughout the country. They show that the homeowners have some personality, and have not had their imagination surgically removed by the PC design police. These design suspects have been in hiding recently, but now there is a resurgence of confidence and self-expression. The homeowners with imagination have come out of the closet, and creative DIY walls are the perfect vehicle for showing the world that ‘bland’ is dead and ‘design’ is alive. There is a wide range of options and techniques that can be used to create a vibrant room décor.
Color is the simplest way in which creative design can be used on walls. When painting a room, there can be a tendency to keep all surface colors neutral, and to rely on accent items such as lamps and cushions to provide the interest. You can make a more powerful statement if you paint one wall or feature a bold color that will tie in with other room items and furniture. This will add life to the room, without overpowering it. Best of all, the whole appearance of the room can be easily changed by repainting that one wall.
Wallpaper provides a further level of interest as pattern is added to the wall. Wallpapering is a skill that may be new to many brought up in the ‘paint generation’, but can done by most people. If new to the task, ask around for some advice then have a go. Again, papering one wall may be all that is needed to make an impression, especially where a bold pattern is used
Wainscoting is the application of panels to the bottom third of a wall. Panels can be formal or informal in design, depending on the room setting. They and can be bought off the shelf at DIY hardware stores, or they can be custom made on site. With the development of modern adhesives and trims, wainscoting can be added by anyone with moderate DIY skills. The surface can be painted or stained wood, giving a large variety of effects.
Faux finishes can be painted or applied to a wall. Finishes such as marbling or wood graining can be applied using mixed paints and varnishes. They require some skill to achieve believable results, however the effects can be impressive. Other faux finishes such as timber paneling and brick or stone work can often be bought as large panels in a DIY store. These are easy to apply using DIY adhesives, however they need to be chosen carefully to avoid looking cheap.
Appliqué is a term that summarizes a whole group of design options. This is the process of applying three dimensional objects to the wall for artistic effect. These objects could include metal artwork, natural items such as branches and timber, old farm implements and anything that can be used as appropriate sculpture. The range of items that can be used will be limited only by your imagination.
Murals and Designs
Projected designs can produce striking effects that can be achieved by anyone. In ancient history, this was done by using designs on acetate sheets with an overhead projector. The design was then projected onto the wall, and traced in pencil before painting. Overhead projectors have now been replaced by data projectors, and the designs can be obtained via the Internet. Designs might include edge and panel designs, text or even cartoon characters. This technique can produce excellent results with minimum skill required.
The techniques described above will bring life to dull rooms, and enable artistic expression to be used more freely. The wall décor can be changed when it becomes tired or even as seasons change. The most important thing is that style and ideas are nurtured, and creative room design becomes fun again.