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Nine easy ways to maximise your interior wall spaces

25 January 2018

There’s definitely an art to planning your home’s interior walls. Interior decorating can cause serious anxiety for new homeowners because there’s nothing more daunting than being surrounded by stark white or blank neutral walls when you’re faced with the decision of how to fill them.

In today’s modern home, walls are no longer just structural requirements or space dividers – your vertical spaces are expected to enhance the aesthetics and ambiance of your home, and where possible, serve a practical function.

From planter walls to wallpaper, here are nine easy ways to help you get creative with your interior wall spaces.

Use colour to your advantage

When you’re building a new home, you may find yourself wishing your living room was a little larger, your hallway slightly longer. The good news is that you can change the perception of a room without going through the cost of having to renovate. You can achieve dramatic change with colour because of the way our eyes perceive colours and tones. This means we can create optical illusions that change the dimensions of interior spaces. Use lighter colours to allow the eye to flow seamlessly around the room, and paint adjoining rooms the same colour. This technique keeps the eye moving from room to room, which tricks our brain into thinking the space is larger.  

Get your wall-to-window ratio right

Large windows and doors are a common feature in new homes because natural light is such an attractive quality, particularly in high traffic areas such as the kitchen, dining and lounge room. However, it’s important to carefully consider the number of windows and doors you include within each interior space when customising a floor plan. While you want to ensure there’s enough openings to take advantage of the warm sun, natural light and cooling breezes; you also want to make sure you’ve allocated enough interior wall space to hang artwork and family photos or position a bookshelf.

Create focal walls with pattern and prints

If you don’t want to tarnish your brand new walls with hooks and nails, use wallpaper and different paint techniques to add interest to your interior spaces. Coloured stripes and printed wallpaper can be a great tool for breaking up large, bare areas in either your living room or bedrooms. Vertical stripes have a heightening effect and can make a space feel taller, while horizontal stripes have a deepening effect and can make your interiors feel longer. Monochromatic stripes add a level of bold sophistication to a room, while a palette of neutral shades has a more subtle and calming effect. In terms of wallpaper, botanical prints, pastel geometric patterns and metallic options are taking centre stage this year. 

 Image (centre): Designer Homeware - Amanda Aitken Photography 

Don’t be afraid to play with wood panelling

If the mention of wood panelling conjures up images of your grandmother’s house in the ‘70s, rest assured that one of this year’s hottest trends can add richness and personality to your vertical spaces without overpowering it. The trick with wood panelling is to focus on one area only, and to use the right material best suited to the space. Use natural, exposed wood to lighten and add interest to a smaller space, or rely on darker tinted wood shades to create a cosy and more personalised space. No longer only reserved for lounges, use wood panelling in your bathroom, bedroom or living room.

Image (right): Home Design Lover

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Mirrors are often a forgotten design elements when new home owners plan their interior spaces. Because of their reflective nature, mirrors have the power to open up a room, create a striking focal point, and transform a dead corner into something of beauty. It’s important to use the correct mirror treatment best suited to your space: use a rimless mirror for a sleek look, opt for a gilded framed mirror for a more traditional feel or use a collection of circular mirrors to create a quirkier vibe. To bring the outdoors in, position a full-length mirror across from a window that leads to the garden – it’s the best kind of optical illusion.

Display your art, photos and collectables

Create a gallery wall in your home by showcasing art, family snaps, photography and collectibles closest to your heart. You may want to use one single wall space to create a mixed medium collage display, or you could reserve specific items for separate walls. For example, you could include a family photo wall in the lounge, mount your collection of collectible ceramic tiles in the kitchen, place your children’s artwork on the passage wall closest to their bedrooms, and display fine art in your bedroom. Alternatively, you could theme the items on your wall according to colour, size or texture. The options are endless – what’s important is that you create vertical spaces that speak to you.

Image (right): Home Style Magazine

Include typography on your vertical spaces

Typography décor has proven to be a key interior trend and it’s a fun way to adorn your walls. No longer reserved for only children’s rooms, typography-inspired home accessories such as 3D letters and numbers, quote wall stickers and poster boards have made their way into our kitchens, lounges and bedrooms. Have your own typography canvas created and personalise it with all the cities you have visited or the authors you most love. The typography décor rule of thumb is: small touches of typography go far, so be selective in how many of these accessories you display on your walls.

Image (right): Wall Art Mix

Focus on ‘living’ green walls

Not only do vertical plant walls create a seamless transition from the outdoors to your home’s interior, it also adds variety and colour to your vertical spaces. Use plants and foliage to liven up all areas of your home and be practical about it. Place aloe vera in a framed planter on your bathroom wall, add hanging glass vases with lavender in your toilet, and create a herb wall in your kitchen. For your bedroom, a freestanding green wall can double as a screen to change behind. There are so many ways to bring a slice of nature into your home.

Image (centre): Brodie & Nikki Retallick's kitchen with herb wall

Work with your ceiling in mind

Many new homeowners underestimate the power of a ceiling in changing the perception of a room. If a room is very large, paint the ceiling a darker colour than the walls to make it appear lower. This will create an optical illusion that makes the room feel cosier. On the other hand, if a space feels too small, paint the ceiling a lighter colour than your walls as this will enhance your perception of height and make the room feel spacious. To enhance long, narrow spaces such as hallways, paint both end walls (the shorter ones) a shade or two darker than the other interior walls as this will make them seem closer.