New looks for walls: Part 1

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From murals and magnetic plaster to bespoke wood and fabric coverings – this season is the perfect time to rethink how you decorate.

Wallpaper has well and truly come back into fashion, according to buyer at John Lewis, Kerry Nicholls. ‘We are also seeing increased sales in more dramatic wall coverings, such as murals,’ she says. And the kitchen – traditionally decorated with paint or tiles – is now the latest room to benefit from the huge choice of new wallpaper designs. Key developments, such as digital printing, allow different textures and effects to be used on wallpapers for added impact. There are various new paint colours and finishes, including magnetic chalkboard, and the bespoke paint-mixing service from Dulux offers endless possibilities to get the look you want. Tiles also come in a range of materials, including brick, glass and metal.

Techniques and decorating styles are advancing, too. Innovative techniques for painting walls create clever visual tricks and are easy to achieve, says Dulux creative director Marianne Shillingford. Ombre is also a big decorating trend – bleeding colours into each other, says Marianne, ‘creates a fluid experience and changes the visual dimensions and perspectives of a room.’ If you like to keep up with trends and change your décor regularly, try paste-the-wall wallpapers, murals and peel-off stickers.

Bespoke fabric wall covering

Zardi & Zardi re-creates original tapestries from historic houses and museums for residential interiors. The textile specialist uses highly skilled photography with extremely detailed shots, then carefully changes the colour palette to suit your interior scheme. The images are then printed onto luxury linens using hi-tech fabric printers. Walls are covered with the help of stretchers (batons) and cotton bump, and the walling is finished with braiding or edge moulding. This is a striking idea to try in an open-plan space with one large wall, or in a grand entrance hall.

Contemporary cork bricks

Along with the trend for 3D-effect wallpapers and finishes is one for artwork that’s also a wall covering – great if you don’t want to get out the paints or paste board. Cork wall bricks are easy to install – simply choose the pattern you want to create, then glue the tiles to the wall with an extra-strong adhesive, such as Mapei Ultrabond Super Grip. Choose from a selection of bricks from Urbane Living, in four styles and 10 colourways, and maintenance couldn’t be simpler – just use a feather duster or a vacuum cleaner.

Organic cork wall blocks in yellow by Urbane Living

Clever storage walls

A brilliant solution if you’re short on storage, fitted wall furniture works well in every room. ‘No space is too big, too small or too awkward that it cannot be transformed into an elegant, workable and useful enhancement to the home,’ says Alan Borr, senior designer at Neville Johnson. It simply needs careful planning and creative designing, and walls are the ideal place. ‘Storage can be designed depending on what needs to be stowed away,’ Alan adds, ‘such as open shelving for ornate items and custom-built drawers for cutlery, with favourite china displayed behind glazed doors to make a real statement.’

Open-plan storage from Neville Johnson

Easy-hang wallpaper

‘There’s no longer any need to spend days wallpapering a room,’ says Nicky Jepson, brand manager at Superfresco Easy. The wallpaper allows you to paste the wall rather than the paper, saving you time and mess. ‘With different trends coming in every year, this innovative wallpaper enables you to pull it down very quickly and redecorate,’ adds Nicky. This means no more hours of steaming, scraping and screaming with frustration – and it’s a great opportunity to try out the key design trend for dark-coloured or black walls.

Modern woodgrain

If you’re after something special in your contemporary living area, dining room or open-plan space, then wood panelling, with its warmth, texture and high-end look, is a great on-trend option. The stylish wooden surfaces from interior design company Keir Townsend are ideal for panelling. Each panel comes with a frame that is fixed to the wall first, then the panel is attached to the frame. Unless you’re super-handy at DIY, though, it’s best to call in a trusted decorator or carpenter to install them.

Keir Townsend woodgrain panel

Graphic painting style

Little Greene likes to mix up old with new, classic with contemporary, and traditional with trendy. This season it has put together some very stylish suggestions for combining colour – no more matchy-matchy schemes; instead, sophisticated base shades are teamed with bold accents or ‘highlights’. To really up the decorating stakes, include both colours on each wall in a graphic linear style. For maximum effect, try the reverse scheme in an adjoining room.

Little greene matt paint