Wall Treatments and Wall Coverings Choosing the Right Design

Some of us will never forget the ultimate question posed by Paris Hilton on the reality show The Simple Life. The overly coiffed, highly-manicured Hilton was “roughing it” by bunking with a working-class family in middle America and when a family trip to Walmart was scheduled, Hilton’s query (which now lives in infamy) was: “Walmart…do they like, make walls there?”

Most of the viewing audience rolled their eyes hard and we went on clicking channels. But perhaps Hilton’s question was deeper than we thought. How DO you get the wall you want? After the construction crew has departed from a new development or a capital improvement site, you are often left with design choices and wall covering options. From building to building, co-op and condo design committees, boards and individual apartment owners might differ wildly on how they choose to cover and decorate their walls. Changing trends, emerging fashions in interior design and of course, budget, all factor in to the decision making process.

A Matter of Taste

“I love, love, love my building,” says Manhattan resident Betsey L. “But I hate, hate, hate the common area walls. It’s this kind of hospital-waiting room blue color. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s not a rich, deep blue and it isn’t a light robin’s-egg. It’s like if the color blue got carsick, this is what it would look like.” Betsey says she can’t convince her condo association to repaint it. “I think they don’t actually like the color either but the budget doesn’t really support a new paint job, and it technically doesn’t need to be repainted, so I’m just keeping my head down while I wait for the elevator…and for the day when we repaint.”

While we hope that the color suits your taste, regardless the most common kind of wallcoverings used in New York City co-op and condo building public and common areas are “Type II vinyl, because of the durability and range of color and design,” says Amy Paolino, director of marketing for Manhattan-based New York Corridors, Inc.

Katie Bone, marketing and public relations manager at Innovations in Wallcoverings, Inc. in New York City concurs. “Typically you’ll find Type II vinyl wall covering in the hallways and elevator areas. Occasionally you’ll find a natural woven or non-vinyl applied in areas with less high traffic for dramatic effect. ”


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