The most popular wall treatment, next to plain paint, is wallpaper. It's an option that includes a great realm of selection, so planning plays a huge role in selecting the type finish best suited for the room.

It also allows great use of creativity.Take grass cloth, for instance. It can be hung in strips in the normal vertical manner. But there's always the option of hanging the strips horizontally.

The seams on grass paper are almost always very visible due to the nature of the paper. Rather than seeing a seam every 25 to 36 inches across the wall (width of paper), the horizontal installation will reveal only three or four seams across the room, depending on the height of the wall. And if the grass paper is being hung from a chair rail down, there could be no seam at all. How nice.

When choosing any wallpaper, think ahead as to what else will be applied to the wall. If artwork is to be displayed, keep the paper pattern subtle. If the paper itself is the art, be sure it coordinates with, rather than dominates, the remainder of the room.

There are times when a wall itself is purposely made to be the focal point in the room. In such a case the wallpaper can dominate, but be sure you're doing that on purpose, and not just because you loved the paper in the sample book and failed to understand how distracting it could be when plastered all over that big wall.

Fabric is another great way to decorate a wall. Instead of a headboard on the bed, consider "upholstering" the wall. A thin padding is glued to the wall, then the fabric is glued to that padding and stapled all around the edges. Either a welting or wood frame is then applied to cover the staples to give a finished look.

View Comments

Paper or fabric borders can be used to add architectural appeal to any room. Here again, creativity plays an important part. The border can be applied at just about any level in the room; where the wall meets the ceiling, where the wall meets the floor, at chair-rail level, two-thirds of the way up the wall, around doors and around windows, as pictures frames, as vertical strips around the room, and even on the ceiling.

If you have the patience (or better still, know of someone who does), stenciling is always a good possibility. Stenciling helps recreate the quaint motifs of yesteryear, and there are many contemporary stencils now as well. Stencils, like borders, can go anywhere.

Faux paint finishes were popular hundreds of years ago and are certainly in vogue once again. There's the leather look, the marbleized look, the stone finish and, of course, any creative idea the mind can conceive.

But conceiving it is one thing, and finding the talent and experience to do it is quite another. Be sure to have the painter make up a sample before you approve the project.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.