The importance of walls and ceilings

How your walls look is a vital part of home decorating.

Walls are the most visible surfaces in any room, and how you deal with them will determine the character of your living spaces.

In the past walls were always decorated to a certain degree, while ceilings were often finished in a more elaborate way. This continued right up into the 1920's. After that, ceilings tended to be decorated in a plain finish.

Plain or detailed?

Today you have many options when you come to decorate your walls and ceilings.

Some people prefer to leave everything plain, the sort of effect you see in minimalist styles. Others prefer some detail, such as plaster moulding around chandeliers, or cornices where the walls meet the ceiling.

If you pay careful attention to both walls and ceilings you can alter the whole atmosphere of a room.

Decorating options

There are many different materials for wall decoration which you can use.

You can choose from paint, plaster, paper, fabric, paneling, mirrors, and so on. Within each of these there are all sorts of variations, and even a superficial knowledge will help you to make wise choices.

One of the keys to successful decorating is to have some idea of the effects these different treatments will have on the room. It's also useful to know how to make the most of each of them, and what mistakes it's easy to make when using them.


living room

The color of the walls in this illustration matches the fabric of the upholstery, and provides a calm background for the furniture, draperies and other accessories.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best!


Decorating topics

There's lots of options for your wall decorating...

Interior wall colors

No matter what technique you use, they will all involve color. Here are some helpful ideas and suggestions.

Wallcovering ideas

Painting is the first ideas which comes into our heads, but take a look at the other options available for interior wall decoration.


There are a variety of paint types available, and it's helpful to know the differences between them. By selecting the correct one for your purposes you'll save yourself both time and effort.

Paint Techniques

You're not limited just by the color or type of paint you use. There are many ways of using paint and glazes. This section introduces the most popular of these techniques.

Interior Paint Ideas

Paint can be used in many ways and for many effects. Here are a few ideas and suggestions for you to try.

Home Wallpaper

Wallpaper probably gives you more choice of color, texture, pattern and finish than any other method of interior wall decoration. It's not as difficult to apply as you might think.

Designer Wallpaper

Designer wallpaper is often thought of as expensive or extravagant. But you might like to reconsider...

Vinyl Wallpaper

There are some distinct advantages in using vinyl wallpaper, and some mistakes to avoid. This section has some ideas on where to use it, and how to make sure you get the best from it.

Interior Wall Murals

Wall murals give an added dimension to your home decorating.

Interior Wall Plaster

Plaster can have a coat of paint or paper applied, but can also be used on its own.

Interior Wall Paneling

Panels have often been used in the past to give an air of opulence. Today they can be used in many different ways to give a room it's own unique character.


But before you begin...

Although there is much you can do with texture, color and pattern to make a room look smaller or larger, it's easy to forget you can make actual changes as well.

Can you easily move walls or ceilings?

In modern homes it's often not too difficult to move internal walls - add them or remove existing ones.

If a ceiling is too high, then you could put in a false ceiling. This is often a good option in older buildings where it's difficult to remove structures but easy to add them. Even a drop of a few inches can make a great deal of difference to the proportions of a room.

So before you rush off to buy paints or whatever, take time to look at structural options. They may not be suitable for your situation, but it's worth thinking about.


walls soft green

The pale green of these walls provides a restful background for the furniture. The ceiling cornice softens the line at the top of the walls. Although it's painted white, the shadows formed by the curve result in a gentle blend between the walls and ceiling.



This can't be emphasized enough.

Whatever type of interior wall decoration you plan to use, do make sure to prepare your walls correctly. If you're using a covering you haven't used before, make sure you know what to do before your start.

Always make sure you follow any instructions given, and if you're not sure what you're doing, get expert advice.

Time spent here will always pay dividends later on.


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