By Randi Wilson  |  Today there are many ways to add visual interest to a wall.  A coat of paint is just the beginning.  Wallcoverings in various patterns and textures add graphic appeal and dimension to standard plaster and sheetrock walls. Wallcoverings encompass many different mediums, but wallpaper is probably the most popular.  Wallpaper fell out of favor for a long time due to dated styles (grandma’s cabbage patch roses come to mind) and messy, hard-to-remove glue.  However, advances in paper and adhesive technology, coupled with new fun and elegant patterns, have once again made wallpaper popular with designers and homeowners looking to impart a wow factor in a room.  While subtle, neutral wallpaper may be used to cover an entire room, colorful or bold treatments are best utilized in small, targeted areas for maximum visual impact.   They should be reserved for rooms that are used for short periods of time, such as an entry foyer or guest bathroom.  Otherwise, people may tire of the strong impact created by the walls.  Wow factor can be created in larger rooms by papering one wall to create a focal point.  To complete the look, surrounding walls should be painted in a complimentary, or contrasting, color.  Wallpaper may also be applied to non-conventional surfaces.  Apply bold, small-scale wallpaper to staircase risers for a fun unexpected pop of color.  If you’re living in a rental property or just not ready to commit to a pattern, then temporary removable wallpaper is a great option.  New technologies have made temporary wallpaper easy to hang and remove without damaging walls.

Another wallcovering making a comeback is wood paneling.  A new product, Stikwood, is made by shaving aged and weathered wood planks into 1/8”-thick panels backed with peel and stick adhesive strips.  Stikwood provides the illusion of custom woodwork at a fraction of the price.  Stikwood is also a green product, free from VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions.

Removable panels are a great way to add architectural interest to walls.  They not only provide texture and shape, but may be painted to match or contrast other walls in a room.  Two cutting-edge companies, Inhabit Wall Panels and WallArt 3d Panels, manufacture these panels from fiber that’s left over after juice is removed from sugar cane.  The fiber, known as molded bagasse, is 100% biodegradable, making it an eco-friendly option.

Next time you want to spice up your walls, think outside the paint can.  Wallcoverings offer a unique opportunity to add pattern, texture and dimension to walls.

Randi Wilson is a Certified Interior Decorator and owner of Wilson Interiors, LLC.  She can be reached by phone at (707) 616-4687, or by email at  Photos of her projects can be viewed at