Beautiful walls

Walls are the ultimate decorator’s surface, an empty canvas to embellish with an endless variety of colours, motifs and designs. With so much wall space, it can be daunting to narrow down your choices to a manageable few. Even choosing a colour strikes fear in the hearts of many homeowners.

A dramatic black and red wallpaper design balances the weight and strength of the large-scale Asian artifacts.

Walls are the ultimate decorator’s surface, an empty canvas to embellish with an endless variety of colours, motifs and designs. With so much wall space, it can be daunting to narrow down your choices to a manageable few. Even choosing a colour strikes fear in the hearts of many homeowners.

It’s no wonder the comparative safety of white or beige is the first line of defense. And it’s true that these are colours that will not offend anyone. But if you are ready to be a little more adventurous, perhaps it’s time to take a leap of faith and pump up the volume on your home decor. In fact, the right mix of shades and designs in paint or wallpaper will enhance your living spaces to such a large extent, that you will never look back.

The entrance hall is often overlooked as a decorating priority, but this is where you make the first impression for you and your guests. It’s the perfect place to set the tone or mood you want to convey.

In a home I styled with an overall calm ambiance, I wanted to inject a bit of drama into the mix. There was room in the hallway for a long credenza to hold an impressive lineup of Asian artifacts. Their size and colours called for a bold backdrop, and the black and red wallpaper provided a perfect balance.

This home is filled with light and the floor plan is open. The other walls in the living and dining area are a peaceful robin’s egg blue. Black wood laminate floors and the black paper on the entrance wall add a modern, hip quality without diminishing the quiet, airy feeling.

Focal walls work well to draw your eye to an important feature in a room. Wallpaper with a strong or busy pattern is a good choice for a wall that has nothing else on it. If this hallway was meant to be a gallery for photos or a piece of art, then a solid colour (could still be dark) would allow the pictures to take precedence.

In the same home, the master bedroom was treated to a quieter combination of colours. The soft blue from the main floor is repeated in the linens and draperies. Walls are painted a nearly nude shade of pink, and then I created a strong backdrop for the bed, which is the natural focal point of the bedroom. The warmth and beauty of the pinky brown wall draws you in, and the light painted border acts as a frame within a frame.

This simple design element gives strength to the wall, without detracting from the rest of the room.

Decorating is always personal, and it’s all about balance.

If there is too much going on in a room, whether it’s a jumble of furniture, or a busy array of colours and patterns, you will never feel relaxed.

Your goal is to create a comforting background for your day to day living and that can be accomplished simply with a few well thought out choices.

Try adding one or two focal walls, and then let the other walls breathe and allow the furnishings, art work and lighting to shine.

Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com.

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