When paint color is just not enough: wall coverings make bold design statement

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• April 27, 2013

 Photo: Cole and Son and Lee Jofa.

Photo: Cole and Son and Lee Jofa.

If you are like most homeowners, when you hear the term "wallpaper,"  you immediately think about scraping sheets of flowery pastels of the wall and then repairing the wall. Or you remember your grandmother's kitchen.  In other words, a thing of the past.

They began centuries ago as a way to protect walls and only the aristocracy could afford them. Wall papers meant that you had made it. Then for the past few years the allure faded.

Today the term is "wall coverings" and many are not paper at all.  They have come a long way, have been totally reinventedand done correctly, wall coverings can be a powerful design element in a home.  Murals that take you away, metals, crystals, grass cloths, hand painted papers, silver threads and anything you can imagine. There are even companies that allow you to design your own paper.

We now see them in design magazines and in model homes. Wall coverings are no longer backdrops. They are focal points and should be treated as such.  Pair the right combination of color and wall covering design and turn a blah room into a spectacular space.

 Photo: Pixercise.

Photo: Pixercise.

With Pixers City Never Sleeps collection of mural (pixersize.com/wallmurals/city-never-sleeps) we see atribute to the great metropolises that for ages have inspired not only artists, but also most importantly, ordinary people. Pixers says: "The cities that are a continuous dazzle of lights and cacophony of noises, but still attract like a magnet."

You can have a view of Paris from your living room or have your office in a cafe. A jazz band in your TV room or wake up in Paris.   And best of all, you canspecify the size of the mural to fit your space.

You may want to give wall coverings another look if bold paint colors just aren't enough. If you want to do something that reflects your decorating style and personality in a big way.

Wall covering tips:

                            Photo: Cole and Son and Lee Jofa•

                           Photo: Cole and Son and Lee Jofa•

• Make an entrance.  Select a bold color for the front foyer and add a paper that accentuates the color.

• Powder room.  Designers love wall coverings in powder rooms. We/you can do something totally outrageous in this room.  Bling it up and make a statement.

•  Laundry room.  Use your imagination and try a whimsical pattern.

• For the kiddies. Forget pastels. Select a wall covering that will grow with the child. Neutral backgrounds with playful patterns.

• Complement your furnishings. A modern print works well in a space with a natural and casual style. With neutralssofas and wood accent pieces, try a graphic pattern in a combination of colors.

• Maximum impact.  Select a wall with no windows and doors for wallpaper and paint the rest of the room background color of the paper.

• Nursery. Cover one wall with a modern animal print and paint the remaining walls in a gender neutral shade.

• Love the look but concerned about budget? Select the room's focal point to highlight with an eye-catching print. Then paint the walls in the background color of the paper. The best of both decorating elements!

• Afraid of wall covering commitment?  Pick a design that speaks to you and cover an accent wall.  Minimal investment until you decide how much you love it!                                                                                          

According to Shauna Dennison, creative director of Cole & Son, (available to the trade  through the Kravet showroom in Estero)  popular designs continue to include traditional and classic patterns.  However she is seeing a move towards "larger scale, bolder wallpapers."

"This rise in murals and panel designs has in part been driven by huge advances in digital printing technology.

"We are seeing the rise of creativity in wall coverings... wallpaper has become a feature to build interior schemes around, rather than a background element. Large scale, whimsical designs are the conversational piece within a design scheme. The new Fornasetti II collection leads this trend with a series of striking theatrical designs that have been produced on wide widths giving the pattern repeats far greater space, creating a mural like quality."

At Ralph Lauren Home, the Textures Collection is filled with embroidery, damask and woven designs, natural seagrass, cork and scroll. These blend well against the blue-green shades that are the backdrop for southwest Florida homes. For details, visit the showroom in Miromar Design Center. 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog