Dressing Your Walls for a Good First Impression Wall Coverings

In the past, choices for wall decorations were simple—paint, wallpaper or paneling (like the infamous paneled dens of the 1970s.) Once you made a selection, you simply narrowed the options down from several available colors or patterns and you were all set.

Dizzying Options

Today, choosing how to decorate a wall isn’t so easy. There are literally thousands of colors, fabrics, tiles, paneling, wall art, wallpaper and combinations to choose from, and each year the design industry adds even more of the hottest trends and newest designs into the palate. To add further confusion to the menu, there are a myriad of environmentally-friendly options now available on the market as well.

More design options have also meant that there really isn’t a look that can’t be replicated on a wall. One building can choose to have ornate, flocked wallpaper for their lobby that matches the building’s character, while another building can choose slate tiles, or elaborate wainscoting, or even just a few simple coats of paint. So what will it be—paint, wallpaper, tiles or a combination thereof? The selections are endless.

“In co-op and condo buildings, what is most popular is definitely a combination of paint and paint techniques,” says Kate Brennan, vice president of business development for Mary Cook & Associates, a design firm based in Chicago. “Wallpaper is making a comeback as well. It has fantastic graphics, great patterns and then there are the true mainstays.”

One Word: Wallpaper

According to one study released this year, U.S. wall covering demand will grow 4.3 percent by the end of 2009. Ceramic wall tile will remain the largest segment of the market, while wall paneling will grow the fastest. Wallpaper is coming back in a big way too—a concept that may make some people shudder, thinking of the florid cabbage roses and metallic foil monstrosities of their youths.

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