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Deschamps on Design: Why Not Wallpaper?

Cineluxe - September 2022
by Maria Deschamps

Wallpaper has come a long way since the thin papery material, busy with flowers or paisleys, our grandparents used in their homes. There is now so much more to discover with almost infinite variations, including customization. Most people wouldn’t even consider adding a wallpaper to a home theater but with all the new options, it’s really hard to resist.

The negative connotations of wallpaper are so strong that some of my clients simply cringe when I say the word. But if I say “wall covering” instead, they suddenly become more inquisitive. And when I present samples of textured wall covering, they begin to see that there are possibilities beyond traditional wallpaper and lose their ambivalence.

I love color, I love pattern, I love texture, and when these elements are combined in the right way, it is the ultimate choice for me. Textured coverings are my favorite. By using a thick velvet, velour, or corduroy, an entertainment space can be transformed into an entirely new atmosphere. These coverings create warmth and intimacy. They also often have acoustic properties that reduce reverberations or echoes—obviously a major consideration when designing a home theater.

« When I present samples of textured wall covering, my clients begin to see that there are possibilities beyond traditional wallpaper and lose their ambivalence. »

Corduroy patterns with wide or narrow lines in dark colors are perfect for a theater room. When used vertically, they give the illusion the ceiling is higher since vertical lines create height. (Conversely, horizontal lines make a room look wider.) Corduroy gives a wall a soft comfy feeling, and when we look at it or touch it, we feel warm and cozy.

Velour wall coverings now have reliefs and can be found with many different geometrical patterns and shapes. There are even ones that mimic wall panels or wainscoting. These can be used to emphasize an area of a room or a focal point on a wall and give depth.

Another favorite form of wall covering with amazing acoustic properties are the ones made of cork—yes, cork! This material is not only environmentally friendly, it’s designed with multiple colors and textures, and can even have patterns with sparkle.

« Belgian manufacturer Omexco offers many options of eco-friendly cork wall coverings with metallic details or printed designs »

Speaking of wall coverings that sparkle: One of my home theater clients insisted I design a new bedroom for their 11 year old, who was moving from one end of the house to the other and dreaded the relocation. To motivate her to make the move, I had to design something spectacular so I used a magnificent multicolored wall covering full of sparkles and glitter that lit up the wall behind her bed. When she saw the room complete, it made her feel like a real princess, and the room became bright and beautiful, just like her.

Different patterns are plentiful. One trend is foliage—lots of plants and big leaves. Another is animals, a jungle look with exotic birds. Patterns like these can be an exciting choice to use in an area like a home theater foyer.

Grass cloth has also made a comeback and is now available in many colors and textures. It is even available with metallic accents. Silks are a sexy way to go. Wall coverings with smooth metallic shiny finishes with 3D effects are an amazing complement to a modern space—a perfect choice to give a theater’s rear wall some interest.

« Omexco’s natural, recycled sari silk, handwoven paper strings, and raffia made with artisanal techniques »

What I love most about wall coverings is that they can just be in the background. They don’t have to have a big pattern that stands out. Using an elegant texture on a wall instead of paint gives dimension and will produce a sophisticated look.

The options are nearly infinite. For a price, some manufacturers will customize a covering, allowing you to have a personalized color and pattern—the ultimate for exclusive design.

The best way to make a covering work well is to not only select the right one but to also place it on the appropriate wall. Where you enter a room determines which wall is the focal point. Most often, this is the wall I would select to create an impact with wall covering.

Here’s my take: Think outside of the box and discover the many new options that exist and give wall coverings a chance. You won’t be disappointed!

Maria Deschamps is a certified Interior Designer, IDC, NCIDQ, APDIQ and has been designing home theaters and media rooms since the year 2000. She also designs high-end residential, restaurant, and commercial spaces, and is a partner at TKG, the Theo Kalomirakis Group.