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Interior Design Fashion For Walls

Apr 7, 2008
When it comes to wall coating, there is an abundance of choices to be had. Interior design has seen an upsurge in popularity over recent years and the home has now become a place to show off your taste and skills in this new area of fashion.

The wall coating you choose will come and go into fashion more often than the choice between big knickers or thongs, bootcuts or skinny jeans. Once you get that hugely patterned, black flock wallpaper up the trend will be for neutral emulsion before the paste has had chance to dry.

As a wall coating, wallpaper has had a long and varied history. From the intricate designs of Victorian patterns through seventies flock that has recently seen a revival, there has also been delicate pastels in stripes, flowers and sometimes a mix of both.

Embossed wallpapers were quite trendy for a while and are still available. They do the job of covering over dodgy cracked plaster and hiding all manner of imperfections. This is then painted to your own preference but I've never seen an embossed paper that didn't cast shadows on itself thus dulling an colour you may add to it.

Emulsion as a wall coating has also enjoyed periods of popularity. Different finishes have been experimented with from eggshell that was hot news for families as it made surfaces washable, through to matt and now one that gives the appearance of a wall coating of dusted chalk. This fashion harks back to Victorian times and many people strive for that authentic look.

One of the best reasons people like to paint their walls with emulsion is the vast possibilities when it comes to colour. Self expression knows no bounds now that we are able to take any object down to the nearest DIY centre and get the colour matched up to put on our walls. Of course, this doesn't guarantee good taste in wall coating but it does allow for individuality.

One of the worst decorating faux pas I have ever seen is that dreadful quick fix that was hailed as a success by the one hour decorating shows on TV. You know the ones, where everything is slapped over with a hideous coloured emulsion and what can't be ripped out is covered with MDF? These were the shows responsible for making us paint over wallpaper. Unless it's lining paper, don't do it. It gives the effect of - well, of painted over wallpaper! The worst wall coating you could possibly have.

And who could forget the dreaded eighties penchant for Artexed walls. What a nightmare! Everybody was slapping Artex on their walls leaving you with a wall coating that had the ability to remove several layers of skin every time you passed by. Of course, this could then be painted with all manner of emulsions. This never helped make it look any better but it made you feel like the job was complete.

The nineties were spent with all different methods of removing Artex being touted through interior design magazines. This is lethal stuff and it seems the best idea is to skim over it with more plaster. Ok, so it takes several inches off the overall size of your room but it makes it look about a foot bigger so you can't lose really.

Of course, wall coatings on the outside of the house are also subject to trends. Rendering, bare brick, painted brick, treated with anti burglar paint, all sorts have been available over the years. I once had neighbours that all looked like in-breds and the multitude of children that lived in that house were a nightmare. They would hang over the fence on a Sunday afternoon and see how far they could spit - and that was just the girls! I painted the top of my fence with non-drying paint and that gave me hours of fun because they didn't know where it was coming from and kept coming back for more!

And who could consider any wall coatings without remembering the dreaded pebbledash or cladding? To coat you house in this is just a sellers nightmare today. It is assumed it is covering up all sorts of damage and decay and never, ever looked nice.

Of course, there are all manner of wall coatings on the market today that claim to do all manner of things for your house. But no doubt this will be a passing phase too.
About the Author
Interior design expert Catherine Harvey looks at fashion for wall coatings of all different types.
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