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Art of Design: If These Walls Could Talk

Joseph Pubillones on

What if your walls could talk? What would they say about you? Would they be a dead giveaway of the last time you decorated your home? There are all sorts of ways to update a home or give a much-needed makeover. Sometimes we live with wall color or wall technique that immediately reveal when a room was last designed, because it was a marked trend during a specific period of time. If a wall finish is not quite right, you can move the furniture around and around, but the room will never feel right. Walls are what envelope you and support any interior design choices you make. This is why it is important to consider all the possibilities before you start.

Moldings date back to Roman times. Moldings were often painted in residential architecture to build in architectural character where there was none. Today, simply installing crown molding, a chair-rail and a substantial baseboard can change the entire character of a plain room to one of opulence.

Wood paneling is yet another form of embellishing and warming a room up. When done in conjunction with bookcases, it can transform a room into a library; when painted in white or a pastel color, it can evoke a beach house. Wainscoting is also a popular to enhance plain drywall into something that looks like a custom job. This paneling is done on the bottom half of a wall, and capped by a chair-rail molding. It is helpful in scaling down rooms with large volumes. In some traditional interiors you may even see wainscoting used from about three-quarters of the height of the room, specifically in institutional interiors such as churches and gymnasiums for their acoustic attributes.

Painting is the most fundamental complement to a wall, whether applied simply with a roller to a full wall or with specialized techniques. Paint can be used to highlight an architectural feature or can be used to delineate an area with color blocking or accent walls. Faux finishes have always been in vogue, but the type of finish can either make or break your interiors. It's easy to change the look of your rooms with faux finish techniques.

In addition, wall coverings or wallpaper is yet another treatment to give the walls character and to help shape the interior style of any project. There is a wide variety of wall covering based on historical documents, florals, stripes, trellises, faux bois, geometric patterns, murals and contemporary designs based on paint techniques. There are also textural wallpapers, which represent cork, wood, fabrics and grass cloth and beaded wall coverings worthy of the most exquisite ball gowns.


Technology is making way into wall coverings with illuminated fibers, which can give your walls a lightshow.

Finally, the latest advancements in walls are stone veneers. These veneers are laser cut and so thin that you can wrap almost any surface, curved or complex geometry to give the impression that they are made of solid stone. The benefit of these veneers as opposed to using slab materials is that they are malleable to any shape, translucent and ultra-light.


Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Fla. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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