Bye, Bye, Flat Walls; Hello “Wow”Brighten rooms with walls that serve as eye-catching art

| February 1, 2011

The tulip has become a constant theme in the work of Dutch-born artist/ designer Ronald van der Hilst. This hand-painted glazed ceramic wall deco set brings the calm of nature into the bath. Available from Hastings Tile & Bath.

Kiss the flat, matte wall goodbye. Wallpapers and paint are being replaced with amazing new surface materials that make wall coverings more like a piece of art. The latest looks are rich, textured coverings in everything from laser cut wood and bamboo to glass, tiles, mosaics and metals, bursting with color and shine.

Low profile walls are giving way to color-rich wall coverings. Saturated shades of red, burgundy and deep hues of blue and green highlight new surface materials, from the burnished glow of hammered copper to cool reptilian textures. Choices are available to suite any style, modern to traditional to eclectic.

Many traditional — and not so traditional — wall-covering manufacturers have either changed the way they look at walls or added newer trends to their already popular selections. Some materials that are trending in wall coverage include: wood and grass, vinyl, mica, metals, stone and fabrics.

Maya Romanoff Corporation has developed a new technology that makes rigid materials such as glass and wood flexible enough to wrap around corners with ease. “The exciting part about our products is the element of surprise — no one expects materials like glass, mica and mother-of-pearl to be used as wall coverings in the first place, and then they’re flexible and versatile as well,” says Maya Romanoff, chairman and chief creative officer.

As homeowners confront today’s economy, many are trying to achieve a look of luxury while adhering to a budget. Walker Zanger unites luxury and value with unprecedented synergy in three of its mosaic tile collections: the Chelsea Art Glass, Vibe Mosaics and Moda Mosaics collections. For upper end mosaics, go to SICIS—The Art Mosaic Factory. Mosaics, made from tesserae (individual tiles usually in the shape of a cube,) offer an infinite range of possibilities for surface interpretation.

Wall Flats are Inhabit’s take on modern, eco-friendly wall coverings. Wall Flats are made from 100 percent bamboo pulp. It is a sustainable wall covering that is free of chemicals and will not harm the environment at the end of its lifecycle, since the tiles are completely bio-degradable. Wall Flats are designed to expand in any direction with an automatic pattern repeat and can be used over any existing wall.

Materials straight from Mother Nature are a major focus in home design. Bamboo and grass products are top choices for subtle effects, but for statement-making punch, look for wafer-thin, laser cut wood patterns and reed or cork coverings, in saturated hues of brown and deep red.

Glamour and glitz are also trendy now. From high gloss or pearlized vinyl to coverings that glow with the patina of brushed silver and gold, these designs are like jewelry for the wall. Mica comes as a wall covering of extraordinary style, including a gold version that would do any palace proud. For a more understated take on “shine” there are matte gold and silver tones and coverings with subtle flecks of precious metals.

Metals in bold, rich brass, copper and aluminum add pizzazz to interiors. Copper and brass are meticulously hand-worked using ancient artisans techniques to create a permanent, weathered patina of varying hues. Aluminum is lightly brushed, giving it a cool, contemporary flavor.

Metal panels in traditional, art deco and contemporary designs are available from aa-abbingdon affiliates inc. Metal ceilings and walls provide visual interest as well as practicality, reflecting the changing play of light and shadow as the sun moves across the sky. Great old designs and striking contemporary ones allow the buyer to create a turn-of-the-century look or something bold and modern.

Natural stone adds an element of sophistication to the home. Its striking appearance, ease of maintenance and inherent cleanliness makes it an ideal choice for wall tile. A wide variety is available in vivid colors and rich textures. The tiles come in a variety of sizes, finishes and types. Without the common shortcomings of most wall coverings such as peeling, cracking and fading, natural stone is a lasting and valuable option for any wall in the home. If natural stone is too pricey for you, Tejas Textured Stone offers manufactured stone that gives the warmth and beauty of natural stone with several significant advantages. It is a less expensive simulated stone that is just as durable and is much faster and easier to install than natural stone, and  is available in numerous styles and colors.

Bold ceramic floral designs, manufactured in Italy by Ceramica Bardelli, offer homeowners a look that makes their home stand out from all the rest. Available in America through Hastings Tile & Bath, the popular tulip design by artist and landscape designer Ronald van der Hilst comes in hand-painted glazed ceramic wall deco sets. In pairs or small groups, large tulip specimens with well-defined petals stretch towards the ceiling as if in search of a corner of sky above them or bend their heads in an elegant bow towards an imaginary flower-covered field.

And last, but not least, are wall murals. Available from Murals Your Way, Tile by Design and other manufacturers, murals can feature the works of the Masters or modern artists. In addition to traditional adhesive wall prints, murals come in glossy or satin matte-finish ceramic tile, tumbled marble tile or tempered glass. Custom tile murals can be made to the consumer’s specifications from any high-resolution photograph, giving the room a charming personalized feel.

So, say goodbye to your painted or wall papered walls and hello to a dramatic wall covering that adds the “wow” factor to your room. No wall art is necessary. The wall is a conversation piece in its own right.

By Sandra Meineke

Fornasettiana by Piero Fornasetti for Ceramica Bardelli is still as eye-catching and relevant today as when it was first created more than 50 years ago. His moons, stars and flying machines evoke an almost magical world. • Romanoff True Metals offers the bold, rich appeal of brass, copper and aluminum, elegantly translated for the interior. The metals are meticulously hand-worked to create a permanent, weathered patina of varying hues.

The sun and moon-patterned wall created in the last century by Piero Fornasetti for Ceramica Bardelli looks equally at home in this contemporary bathroom setting. • A large, decorative ceramic panel, entirely handmade in three color variations on a glossy white background with painted silk effect, brings a touch of whimsey to any sunroom or kids room.

Inspired by the forms and designs developed in the 18th and 19th century Far East, OrienTale from SICIS embodies scenes that envelop you like kimonos delicately brushed by the breath of a summer breeze.

Flower Power mosaics from SICIS form a powerful scenic impact, and they are extraordinarily beautiful to behold. Its flower collection includes sunflowers, narcissuses, daisies, noble roses, water-lilies, anemones, lilies, tulips and more.

Category: Interior Details, More Features

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