Ever since the first home improvement show aired on television, everyone’s been jumping on the paint bandwagon with crackle, sponging, faux effects, and numerous other wall texturing techniques. Paint had been hailed as the cheapest way to transform a room. If you can hold a paintbrush, you can infuse a room with color within a matter of hours. While paint is still a popular way to put color on the wall, it is no longer the only way, or even the easiest way.
When it comes to wall decoration, there are now limitless possibilities in wall decals, wall stickers, wall stencils, wall coverings, wall borders, wall decor and wall art. Before you dismiss these possibilities as “old hat” or “out moded,” these design products are much more innovative than their previous predecessors. The new generation of products will have you thinking about design in a whole new way.
The term “wall stencil” tends to conjure up a country kitchen with a wall border stenciled with roosters or apples. There’s nothing wrong with roosters or apples, but wall stencils have really come a long way. There are wall stencils of art deco motifs, animal prints, faux mosaics, chinoiserie motifs, and many more. Whatever your design style, there are wall stencils to match. You need not don a gingham apron to stencil. The wall stencils of today are beyond the crafty in look and style. What’s more, for very little money, you can create a customized wall decoration.
Wallpaper has also made a strong comeback. Today’s wallpaper is infinitely hipper than the wallpaper in your grandparent’s house. They are bold, sophisticated, modern and organic. For example, there are wallpapers that resemble tightly woven grass cloths, mother of pearl glass, or cork, providing instant warmth and texture to any room. For a customized look, try the hand-painted or hand-printed wallpapers. The look will have you question why you ever bothered to stencil or faux-finish in the first place.
Perhaps the most revolutionary products in wall decoration today are wall decals, wall stickers, and wall flats. These are like instant wall décor in a bag. Like wallpaper, they stick to the wall. Unlike wallpaper, they are much more convenient in application and removal. Wall decals and stickers often come in sets of peel and stick shapes in a variety of sizes and colors. You may also mix decals to create custom wallscapes or irregular wall borders. Wall flats are probably closest to wallpaper in appearance. At first glance, they resemble embossed wallpaper or origami on your wall. Upon closer inspection, these are actually paper tiles that can be applied via peel and stick. The final effect is a wall texture that is crisp, linear and modern. These new wall coverings are a great style solution for renters or “serial designers” who have trouble committing to a long-term relationship with wallpaper.
Another type of wall décor that evokes the same crisp, linear, modern look as the wall flats are wooden wall art. These are not wall coverings. Rather, they are nested frames that are rectangular, circular, or teardrop shaped. When hung in a group, they provide instant wall texture and architectural detail to any room.
Another solution for adding interest to walls is by adding art. Seems obvious enough, but a new type of wall art has emerged with digital technology. Now you can have a pop-art style picture of yourself, any member of your family, or even a can of your favorite soup (and it doesn’t even have to be Campbell). As long as you have a digital image of it, you can send it out to be manipulated and printed on canvas. Online services such as allpopart.com uses a combination of digital graphic design and human photo retouching to create Warhol or Lichenstein pop-art image of your picture. Imagine enjoying a cozy evening next to the fireplace looking up at a picture of your dog, Fido, done in an Warhol pop-art style. This is inherently more entertaining than a reproduction of the Tuscan countryside.
Adding a large graphical element instantly modernizes any room. Instead of hanging a bunch of small pictures, hang a large wall slat or canvas. Wall art of block prints inspired by the 60’s and 70’s and vintage motifs in flat colors are now very much in vogue.
So next time, before you pick up a paintbrush, consider these options to add color, texture, and interest to your wall, because there are many ways to skin a cat; or as they say in design, many ways to decorate a wall.
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