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Décor & Lifestyles: WALLCOVERINGS 101: Current trends offer new ways to define space

Reclaimed wood can add texture and interest to an otherwise boring wall.

Reclaimed wood can add texture and interest to an otherwise boring wall.

When bride-to-be Ashley Kleine was looking for ways to update virtually every room in the 1970s-era home she and her fiancé recently purchased in Manchester, she turned to her creative mom, Kim – and the idea-sharing website Pinterest – for help.

The result, in the couple’s lower-level family room, was a one-of-a-kind wall treatment made from old pallets. For a budget of around $50, and two days of DIY labor, the space was completely transformed.

“She saw photos (of wood walls) all over Pinterest … it’s definitely trendy, and it creates texture that adds a lot of interest to the room,” Kim said. “Because we used found materials, the project cost very little money – and if it goes out of style they’re not stuck with something that can’t be changed.”

Wood feature walls are one of many current trends in interior wallcoverings, which include a wide variety of colors, patterns, textures and materials to suit any decorating style. One major factor influencing those trends is a renewed interest in mid-century modern design, according to design professional Jessica Senne, assistant professor of interior design at Maryville University. “I attribute this to trends emerging in popular culture, from the TV show “Mad Men” and Atomic Ranch magazine to automobile commercials and even trends in fashion,” Senne said.

Here are just a few of the interior design trends to consider when updating those same four walls to create a new look in any room of your home.

Going bold with paint

“Today’s homeowner is more willing to take risks with bold colors … I think this is (due to) the popularity of the DIY programming we see in the media today,” Senne explained. “Instead of viewing paint selection as a long-term commitment, people approach paint selection as something that is fluid – a changeable design element that reflects a homeowner’s current mood.”

While Marsala is Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year, designers at HGTV say complementary shades such as bold blue also are having their moment of fame.

Indigo blue in particular is popping up as a hot new color, as it works well with many other wall colors. Balancing blue with white or other neutral colors helps to keep it from overwhelming a room. And on the neutral front, a grayish-brown shade commonly called “greige” is a versatile neutral that’s currently popular.

In general, the color trend is toward paint shades inspired by mid-century design but updated to reflect brighter, more contemporary sensibilities, Senne said. She recommended visiting various paint manufacturers’ websites to see their current paint palettes, which are backed by color theory research.

Wallpaper makes a comeback

After years of taking a back seat in interior design, “wallpaper is coming back in a big way,” according to Zillow Digs designer Jamie Beckwith.

From interesting geometric patterns and bold colors to intriguing textures, metallics and florals, this trend is taking off nationwide in 2015. Wallcoverings can be found in colors and textures simulating those of wood grain, bricks, stucco and cork. Wallpapers made from photo murals or nature scenes are becoming increasingly popular as well.

But the trend doesn’t mean homeowners are covering entire rooms in wallpaper, Senne emphasized.

“Today we see less of an approach to wallpaper in which all four walls of a room are covered, but more applications where (it) is used to draw the eye to a particular area,” she said.

Senne counseled homeowners looking to try wallpaper for the first time – or try it again – to look for images of entire rooms they like rather than flipping through wallpaper samples.

“I think the best approach is to collect examples online or in magazines that you find inspiring,” she said.

Personalizing walls with texture

As the Kleines found with their project, a wall paneled in reclaimed wood can add texture, depth and warmth to a space. Similarly, old barn doors on sliding rails also are trending as a way to divide and define spaces. Mounted on a wall, they create coziness and character.

Solid fabrics also are gaining in popularity as another means to add texture, as well as a luxurious and contemporary feel, when used on walls. And, even without changing the walls themselves, homeowners can redefine a room using wall hangings. One on-trend idea is to put together a gallery wall made up of photographs, mirrors, textiles and other decorative items, creating a room that makes a uniquely personal statement.

“The important thing for people to understand is that the interior design of one’s home is personal, and therefore they should confidently incorporate textures and patterns that they love,” Senne said. “I encourage my students and clients to identify wall surfaces that might be opportunities for bold use of color and texture.”

However, she added, those who aren’t feeling particularly confident about how to incorporate current trends, whether in wallcoverings or other areas of home décor, should consider the option of consulting a design professional for help.


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