Design Vibe

hf-Vibe1If walls could talk… about paint and wallpaper

By Jane Lockhart, BAAID

Ever since 105 BC, when Chinese court official Cai Lun created the first wallpaper, we’ve had a love–hate relationship with it. After a lull for the past 30 or more years, good-ol’ wallpaper is back in style and the pendulum of time is swinging out the hearts, ducks and mini-prints of the ‘80s. For us, that means a new wave of big, bold design statements.

Express your personality through colour and pattern on a giant canvas, or perhaps you’d prefer to envelop your walls in a neutral tone so your artwork pops. Whichever way you lean, get ready to catch up on what’s new for walls today.

Go big and bold
Wallpaper technology has certainly advanced since the awkward days of mom and dad soaking paper in troughs of watery glue. Forget the short widths of wallpaper from the past. Today’s designs are in wider rolls of up to 54 inches, so you can cover more area with less work. We’re seeing real paper, good designs on vinyl and grass cloth making a comeback.

Stunning murals that cover an entire wall (but just one!) are big right now. With photo-technology you can add lots of texture (or faux texture) to a wall. From large florals to impressionistic, horizontal waves—such as in the ocean—you can make a fantastic presentation. We’re also seeing high-sheen, metallic finishes on wallpaper.

Your home décor is personal, so choose to surround yourself inhf-Vibe2 colours you love, not what’s trending. Remember: When you’re choosing a paint colour, you’re picking a shade (it contains equal parts black and white). By adding white to the shade, you’re adding tint. By adding black, you’re adding tone. Selecting a shade’s brightness or darkness is a matter of personal preference. Brightness reflects light, making a room seem brighter—while darkness absorbs light, creating the opposite effect.

New tones
Today’s interior paint is mostly latex-based. It’s long-lasting and resilient. Most paints are manufactured for reduced odour and fewer VOC emissions (solvents released in the air when the paint is drying), and offer better coverage than ever before. Plus, a splash of paint can change the personality of a room, quickly, easily and inexpensively. Watch for jewel tones, pastels and, OMG yes, it could be just a matter of time before painted faux finishes return.

My personal preference is to use a satin pearl or semi-gloss on trim, eggshell or matte finishes on walls, and flat paint on ceilings. A new design statement we’re seeing is higher sheens on accent walls, where one wall is painted in a high-gloss version of the same colour. This works well on newer, smoother walls, since high-sheen paint tends to reflect the light on cracks and uneven surfaces. Eggshell or matte paints absorb light and appear darker, making a surface seem more even.

Be brave when it comes to adding personality on your walls. Don’t be afraid to be—what some may view as, “unconventional.” Making your walls original and memorable is a fun way to explore your creative side.