Last week I gave you an overview of the different floor coverings. Today, let’s take a look at the walls: there are so many choices that it’s sometimes difficult to make sense of them.
This is the most common solution used today. Paints are much more environmentally friendly than they used to be, as the solvent content has been drastically reduced in recent years. Acrylic paint is preferred to glycerine. Some so-called natural paints are made from 100% ecological and healthy materials: linseed oil, chalk, natural gum, mineral compounds, clay soil, lime, etc. They are micro-porous, which means that they do not block water vapour and therefore allow the house to breathe better.
Paint can be matte, satin, glossy, velvety…
Matt paint absorbs light, so it can smooth out small imperfections on the surface. On the other hand, it is not easy to maintain, as it gets dirty. It lends itself to muted atmospheres.
Gloss paint reflects light. It is well suited to kitchens and bathrooms and is easy to clean. On the other hand, you need a particularly clean wall, without any defects.
Satin paint is the right compromise: it is well suited to living rooms. It is easy to clean (lightly wash with clear water). It reflects the light slightly, with soft reflections.
Velvet paint has a less marked shine than satin, and allows for muted atmospheres, as with matt, but is less fragile.
In all cases, the preparation of the walls (and ceilings) is essential. The surface must be sound, clean and dry. Good to know: it is easy to apply a glycerine paint on an acrylic paint but the reverse is not true. Glycero paint (with solvents) must be carefully sanded to make the surface less smooth and tacky for water-based paint (acrylic).
After years of intensive use, wallpaper lost some of its popularity in the early 1980s to effect paints. Since the 2000s, however, the trend has been reversed and wallpaper is making a strong comeback. It must be said that very talented designers are now offering superb designs. The styles are numerous: vintage, tropical, Scandinavian, baroque, classic…
As soon as the condition of the walls requires a lot of preparation, wallpaper remains the most competitive solution: a good quality, thick wallpaper can hide defects that would remain visible with paint.
Non-woven wallpaper is easy to apply because it is glued directly to the wall. Paper with a seam requires a little more care: as the pattern straddles two strips, the patterns must be perfectly joined and care must be taken when cutting them (which also generates quite a lot of waste, which must be taken into account when calculating the number of rolls needed!)
It can be used to cover all the walls of a room, just one wall (especially if the patterns are very present) or just to mark out a space such as a headboard or a dining area. Some panoramic wallpapers are designed to cover a single wall, and are made to measure so that the design fits perfectly.
Wall&decò even offers a “wet system” wallpaper that can be used in a shower instead of tiles!
Today there are wallpapers made from recycled paper. All A+ wallpapers are environmentally friendly because the paper comes from sustainable forests and the ink does not use solvents.
The glass cloth wall paper
It is a strong and economical covering, used mainly in renovation projects where there is no budget or time to re-plaster the walls. It consists of glass fibres woven together to form a raised appearance on the surface of the glass fabric.
The glass fabric is impact resistant and durable. It comes in a roll, like wallpaper, and is applied in the same way. It is particularly cheap. It can be bought factory-coloured or painted (only with acrylic paint).
Plastering and rendering
If your interior walls have flaws, and you like rustic decorating, why not use plaster, as you would on the outside? It is usually sold in white or cream, but can be coloured with wax. However, you should not regret your choice and not change your mind as it is not easy to remove.
Decorative plasters have a more contemporary look. They are floated, making it possible to create a structured base, which is then covered with patina or glaze. There are lime coatings, such as tadelakt, stucco (which imitates marble or brick) or waxed concrete coatings, which are much more popular at present. Again, they are practical for decorating walls with imperfections.
They can have a metallic, pearlescent or sandblasted finish…
The art of tapestry is very old, we see it in the castles we visit and in many rich interiors. As a result, the fabric was for a long time synonymous with dated and overloaded decoration. In recent years, the variety of colours and patterns has given it a new lease of life. The fabric is visually and acoustically very comfortable, and the effect can be very soft if you choose neutral and pastel colours.
The installation on rods (technique with bevelling) is not improvised, it is preferable to call upon a professional, or to have already assisted to an installation. The most difficult thing, apart from the weight of the fabric, is to manage the tension. You mustn’t pull too much so as not to deform the weft, and you mustn’t let the fabric wrinkle either!
For those who would like the look and feel of the fabric without these complications, there are fabrics that are laminated to a paper backing, which is then presented in strips and stuck to the wall.
The favourite covering of our bathrooms, earthenware is gradually colonising other rooms: kitchen credenzas of course, but also chimney flues, entrance walls, etc.
Earthenware consists of ceramic tiles covered with a layer of enamel. As much as one can decide to put ceramic tiles on the wall, one cannot put tiles on the floor because they are thinner and lighter and therefore more fragile.
There are many choices today: classic, contemporary, mosaic… It is relatively easy to install if you have the right tools.
The cladding panels offer a beautiful material effect: whether you want a brick, stone, pebble, slate, wood or concrete effect… The choice is yours.
It is very easy to dress a wall to give it a little texture, a little character, especially in new houses which sometimes lack a little fantasy: they are glued as easily as tiles. Some facings are even seamless, which makes installation even easier!
Do you want a rustic look? Choose natural or reconstituted stone cladding… Do you have a modern, designer interior? Go for concrete or slate textures.
The fengshui expert in me will tell you that the choice will also depend on the Pakua area where the wall to be covered is located… 😉
Wood can be found in the form of cladding panels, as we have seen, but also in the form of panelling. It can add a Savoy chalet effect to any room! It is an excellent sound and heat insulator.
For wet rooms, such as kitchens and bathrooms, it is best to choose PVC panelling. There are panels that imitate the look of wood or concrete perfectly. They are durable and very easy to maintain.