Use Wall Treatments to Update Tired Rooms

If you don’t have the funds to redo an entire room, consider revamping just the walls. In the best of all decorating worlds, a terrific wall treatment almost magically makes problem areas vanish. Consider some of the decorating tricks in the following list:

  • Cut too-high walls down to size by dividing them into three horizontal bands. You may even decide to paint ceiling moldings a different color and make the ceiling appear lower by adding color to it, too. Or you can bring the ceiling color down onto the ceiling molding and even several inches below the molding along the top of the wall to achieve a stronger effect.

  • In a Contemporary room, create three distinct areas by applying two horizontal bands of wood or metal molding. Paint the areas between the bands contrasting colors.

  • Make too-low walls seem higher by keeping the wall all one light color. In Traditional rooms, keep wainscot paneling, a narrow chair rail, and the paint above the chair rail all the same light color. If you use wallpaper instead of paint above the chair rail, choose a narrow stripe with a light background color that matches the light-colored paint used on the chair rail and paneling. Use a simple narrow baseboard and ceiling molding.

  • You can also stretch any short wall to new heights by adding vertical lines from the floor to the ceiling. Do this by painting stripes, applying striped wall covering, applying planks vertically, or installing bead board (a paneling that looks like narrow planks) vertically.

  • Transform an awkward rectangular room into a more graceful square by painting the shorter end walls a much darker, warmer color than the two longer side walls. This technique makes the end walls seem to advance toward the room’s center, and, as a result, the room seems less rectangular.

  • Make a square room seem less static by painting one focal wall a brilliant color. For small rooms, keep your palette light and cool, such as an apple green and crisp white. For large rooms, go for warmer, darker colors, such as Venetian red against gold.

  • Calm down busy walls by painting all the moldings and trims (including the mechanical devices, like vents) the same color as the wall.

  • Create interest in an otherwise dull room by outlining moldings in a color that’s complementary to that of the wall.

  • Eliminate the feeling that a room has too many doors by painting the doors and trim the same color as the walls. (Unfinished wood doors and white doors can be sore thumbs.)

  • Accentuate beautiful doors and make the surrounding walls recede by painting the walls a plain neutral color and the doors a strongly contrasting antique color. An antique color kit can achieve this effect.

  • Make unattractive trim around the doors and windows less obvious by painting it to match the walls.

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