Wake Up Your Walls With Interior Designer Holly Volpe

Wake Up Your Walls

No matter what furniture you buy and how much you accessorize, you still need to think about your walls. They’re the bones of your space and need just as much attention as any other aspect of your room. There are so many things you can do to dress up your walls, but  there are certain things that always seem to come up when I am discussing projects with clients. I always get asked about picking the right paint color, assembling a gallery wall, selecting artwork, picking wallpaper and designing with moulding or shiplap. Here are a few tips detailing each that will help you to Wake Up Your Walls!

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Selecting The Right Paint Color

This can be an overwhelming part of any design process! First and foremost, select a color palette that speaks to you and your style. At the end of the day, it has to reflect your personality! Look at the furniture already in your space – you might not know it, but just from this you’re already leaning towards a particular palette. Try selecting a color from a pattern on a piece of furniture or rug already in the space. 

Remember the color wheel? This will form the basis of your new color palette if you’re designing your space from scratch. Choose shades next to one another on the color wheel if you want a more subtle look.  If you’re after something neutral, grays and whites are always an easy and safe choice. They pair well with pops of color and also fit in fabulously with other neutral shades. If you’re after something that pops and is full of color, choose colors on the opposite side of the color wheel that will compliment one another but stand out.  

Take into consideration adjacent rooms and the flow of your house – you want the colors to feel cohesive as you walk through your home, so try and stick to a similar shade for each area. 

If you’re having trouble picking, take home a few samples and try them out first on your walls to see what resonates with you and what fits with your furniture that is already in place. Don’t forget – painting is a cosmetic aspect of a room that can be easily changed if you decide you don’t like it. So, have some fun with it!

Assembling A Gallery Wall

Gallery walls will never go out of style! They add interest to your room and it’s a unique way to showcase your style and personality. 

When planning, use post-it notes to block out each frame or markers that are easily removed from your wall that will show you where each piece is going to go. Or, try things out by doing a flat lay on the ground first. 

You don’t have to always stick to just pictures – unique pieces like oval mirrors or obscure art sculptures that can be hung help to break things up. 

Try and have a base color that runs through each gallery piece so that your eye flows across the gallery. The same goes with frames – consistency in frames will help to tie the pieces together like black or gold. Try a single column of frames stacked above on another in a small space, or for a larger space, create a gallery where you slowly add things that you collect over time to give it a more organic feeling. Still feeling a little intimidated? There are lots of resources online to help you get inspired – even layouts of gallery walls. All you need to do is add art!

Selecting The Right Artwork

As with picking a paint color, selecting the right art really depends on your own personal style! Artwork should reflect your personality and make you love your space that much more. 

When selecting art, think about sizing – how big is the wall that you are decorating? For a large wall, you could try one piece of oversized art, or a series like a triptych or diptych. Smaller pieces work well together – so consider them for a gallery wall or in spaces like bathrooms. When it comes to style of art, always go with what speaks to you. Is there a particular style of art that you prefer? An artist in particular? Sometimes it’s a good idea to stick to one style in each space (like, abstract or modern) to make a room feel more coherent. 

When it comes to the color of the artwork, look at the pieces of furniture that are already in the room. Try and incorporate art with similar flourishes of color or shades that will help to bring out the color palette of your space. Or, go for contrasting colors for a bold statement.

Always try and go for original pieces where you can – investing in original art is always a good idea as is supporting local artists. Often, pieces raise in value over time. Plus, it’s a conversation starter telling guests that you have original pieces hanging on your walls!

Picking Wallpaper

Wallpaper is an amazing way to make a statement in any room. 

Consider the style that you’re trying to achieve in your room – if it’s modern, go for something edgy and fun. Think bright, bold patterns. If it’s more traditional, try a soft or neutral style with subtle patterns. Don’t forget to play with texture – textured wallpaper adds dimension and a unique finish to a room. Textured wallpaper also helps to cover any imperfections (like bumps) on walls. 

There are so many different ways you can use wallpaper in a room. You can use it on just one wall and make it a feature wall. If so, try experimenting with layers by arranging other interesting pieces of furniture in front of it, or hanging art. Why not go all out and cover all four walls? Monochromatic design is a big trend right now and will make a big statement in your space. Or, use the wallpaper just on the ceiling to give the room a more subtle impact. This is a fantastic idea in a kids or teens room and gives a space an extra bit of drama. If your room has a chair rail, consider a paint shade that will compliment the wallpaper well to paint underneath, while applying the wallpaper on the top half of the wall.

Designing With Moulding And Shiplap

Moulding and shiplap can completely change the style of a room.

There are many different styles of crown moulding – from the grand to the minimal, even the most basic crown moulding on walls can make a room feel more polished and finished. Moulding also comes in a variety of different materials – wood, plaster, rubber or flex, styrofoam and even peel and stick. There are many benefits to designing with crown moulding or adding it to a space – it can add value to your home and completely change the look of the space. Consider the drama that  coffered ceilings can bring to a room! Or ornate, intricate moulding that you think may only belong in a French palace – you too can have in your home. Crown moulding can also help to disguise any kind of cracks or imperfections in ceiling and floor joins. A chair rail is another simple way to change the style of a room. You can additionally add shadow boxes under a chair rail for more drama. Flat, wooden pieces for shadow boxes create a more modern farmhouse feel, where as thinner and intricate pieces would work well in a more traditional space. 

Shiplap is another wall design aspect that a lot of clients ask me about – it’s a perfect addition to any home and can add a beachy or rustic feel to a space. Think about the wash of your wood – a light, white wash would be fantastic in a beach home while a darker wash would be more rustic. Shiplap can be added on walls from the floors to the ceiling and all over the ceiling, or used just as a feature on one wall. I love the idea of creating a headboard out of shiplap and only covering the lower half of the wall behind a bed. It makes for such a unique accent!


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