Home Improvement

 Three Guidelines To Help You
Decorate Your Walls

If you find yourself staring at a blank wall, it's time to do something about it. It's a decorating fact of life that walls are the largest expanse in any room, and how they are covered and decorated is a real challenge to every home owner. Should you paint a wall? Or paper it? Or cover your walls with fabric? And what colors should you select for each wall?

"Choices are simplified if you begin analyzing the walls of each room in terms of three basic decorating guidelines that we teach our home-study students - function, mood, and harmony," says Tina Lee, Director of Sheffield School of Interior Design

 Guideline One

First consider the function of a room, and make sure your wall covering is appropriate. For example, in a rough-and-tumble den, you don't want to use a delicate silk fabric on the wall. One the other hand, in a romantic bedroom or boudoir, that silk might be just right. Other functional considerations include dirt-resistance, soundproofing, and durability.

Guideline Two

Since walls are the largest decorated area in any room, your wall treatments will strongly influence the mood the room projects. Brightness of the room can be established by the walls. If you paint the walls in dark tones, the mood will be subdued even if the rest of the room is light-colored. Also, the drama of a room is established by the walls. If you paint walls a high-gloss red or use a paper with a bold scenic pattern, you project a powerful dramatic mood. Beige or any neutral is more subdued; paneled walls are more masculine; floral wallpaper more feminine. These are elements of mood.

 Guideline Three

Wall treatments act as a background for all other elements in the room. They should tie everything together. Should you use a decorative design on the walls or stick to solid colors? One rule of thumb: Usually, have only one major decorative pattern in a room. If you use a dramatic design-pattern in the draperies, don't use a competing pattern on the walls or elsewhere. But you can repeat the drapery pattern on the walls.

By following these three Guidelines - function, mood, and harmony - you will be able to choose the right treatment for every wall in your home. For more tips on decorating your home, visit the Sheffield School of Interior Design website at

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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