Paint, we’re putting you on notice: Your time might be up. At least for some of us.
We know, we know—it wasn’t too long ago that designers were spreading the gospel of a bold-colored accent wall. But many of us have taken things to the next level with our wall treatments. First, there was the return of wallpaper. We modernized it and customized it, and we even made it removable.
Now, wall treatments have only become more ambitious, but also more extreme.
“In the era of the internet of things, where we seem to be constantly connected via our flat digital screens and devices, people are craving texture more and more,” says Chicago-based interior designer Lauren Visco. “With wall coverings, we see this trend of textured, organic, and stimulating surfaces continue to rise.”
Want a wall treatment that scintillates the senses? Hey, we’ve got you covered! Here are a few ideas that will bring the wow-factor.
1. Living moss wall
These days, we’ve successfully made our outdoor space feel like our indoor space. But what if you want to make the inside feel like outside? Then a living wall might be for you.
“Plants directly impact our overall well-being, so it’s no surprise how popular green walls have become in the commercial and hospitality design industry,” Visco says. “Now we are seeing a rising popularity of them in single-family homes, too.”
But as good as they may look, the upkeep of these walls might be an expense you aren’t prepared for. It’s a wall that lives! And, um, dies.
“Be prepared for routine maintenance if you choose to have a living wall in your home—it’s vital to have a properly functioning irrigation system at all times,” Visco says.
Sweating the dollar signs? You can get the same look for less (maintenance) with a moss wall. “It’s sustainable and doesn’t nearly require the same amount of upkeep as a living wall,” Visco says.
Moss walls are easy to install, too—in fact, some companies have developed a naturally preserved green wall that can simply be hung on any wall.
What to buy: Artisan Moss Plant Painting, from $200
2. Backlit stone
If you want to bring the wow-factor, this look is for you.
“My favorite over-the-top wall treatment right now is natural stone slabs,” says Kristin Davidson of Kristin Davidson Interiors in Dallas. “A full wall of backlit onyx is breathtaking, and can be the perfect way to open up a space with little natural light.”
She recommends installing this wall treatment in a darker space, such as an entryway or guest bathroom.
“Your guests will be wowed when they see a solid wall of onyx when they step into the powder bath,” Davidson says. “There really is nothing like it.”
What to buy: E-Light System, price upon request
3. Scratch-and-sniff wallpaper that’s b-a-n-a-n-a-s
Get ready to live out your Willy Wonka dreams: Scratch-and-sniff walls are now a thing. And yes—it really does have a scent.
“For those ’90s babies who remember the scratch-and-sniff stickers your teachers used to put on your C+ papers to make you feel better, this is the wallpaper for you,” Visco says.
You can get this design in scents such as cherry, banana, and citrus. No candy paper exists yet—but we can only hope that’s in the works.
What to buy: Flavor Paper B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Scented Chrome, from $155 per sheet
4. Illusion 3-D prints
It’s a wall of books, and over there, a wall of wooden crates. Or wait, is it? Nope, it’s just wallpaper!
Wallpaper that’s designed to look three-dimensional is surging in popularity, thanks to homeowners looking to bring some drama to their space, Visco says.
But buyer beware: This trend might not last long.
“I see this trend fading out soon as it becomes mainstream,” Visco says. “However, wall coverings with heavy visual texture are still a great alternative to traditional, flat, painted walls.”
5. Chinoiserie wallpaper
The last time you saw chinoiserie wallpaper was probably at your grandma’s house. But today, it’s making a strong comeback. And it’s no wonder why: This stuff has the power to completely transform any room into a luxe space straight out of an Anthropologie catalog.
“One of the most exclusive wall treatments is this classic wallpaper,” says Julie Paulino, a designer in Columbus, OH. “Usually hand-painted on silk by artisans, using a technique that dates back to the 1700s, it’s entirely customizable today.” (Meaning that you can get it in any color or pattern you like.)
Consider it for a formal space where you can show it off, such as a dining room or foyer. “This wallpaper looks best in a room with a traditional setting,” Paulino stresses.