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Can wall decoration be an art form in itself?

TheJournal.ie spoke to interior designer Aurora Aleson about all things paint and wallpaper.

THE WALLS OF your house may not be something you give a lot of thought to.

That doesn’t however mean that they do not have a big impact on the design and overall character of your home.

Subtle differences in style and colour can make a big difference. To find out a bit more about some of the tricks you can use to make your walls a bit more interesting, TheJournal.ie spoke to interior designer Aurora Aleson.

Talking about walls is a bit like watching paint dry (geddit?) But seriously though, what sorts of things are in vogue at the moment? 

A sort of geometric, 1960s inspiration type of thing. With paint there are specific colours like blue, or specific effects. If you go onto the Dulux website they have very good ideas about certain things you can do with walls. And it’s not just tinted paint. You can actually do a specific background and then paint lines in different colours yourself. These are quite striking.

Christian-Liaigre-Florence-Lopez-Antiquites-Paris-Remodelista An example of the type of geometric design that is popular at the moment. Source: Picasa/Aurora Aleson

And have things changed a lot in the last ten years? 

Ten years ago it was all white paint and now you have lots of colour coming in very strongly. Also photography wallpaper, which is absolutely fabulous. There are companies, mainly in Portugal and maybe a few in England, and with a specific photograph you can get a whole wall covered.

And a photograph it is an incredible way to make a wall look enormous. Even in a small space.

06 after-001 An example of printed wallpaper being used in a room Source: Picasa/Aurora Aleson

Beyond painting and wallpaper is there much people can do to decorate their walls? Could you use tiles in the bedroom, for example?  

There is a new hotel in Barcelona and they use them as bedfits. They put a panel behind the bed. You know these geometric tiles people are using, they are called encaustic. They use them as a feature behind the bed. Nowadays people use them everywhere. Not just in kitchens and in bathrooms and on floors.

And actually, the wood-tile imitation has saved the Spanish tile industry from years of recession. That is what has kept them going.

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Wood-tile imitation? That sounds like the name of a 1970s disco group. 

Well, it is basically what the name suggests. The idea is that it is much easier to take care of. You see wood expands and contracts. It can be softened by exposure to water and, while tile isn’t the best in terms of acoustics, it is practically indestructible. In areas of heavy ware it is a very useful solution.

The look of wood is a very homely look that gives people the feeling of warmth. So sometimes it is a very good way to create the feeling of warmth without the inconvenience.

And what is the biggest mistake people make when they’re decorating their walls? 

I think what happens is that people should follow the things that appeal to them rather than following a trend. It is a little bit like buying a painting. You should really buy a painting because it appeals to you and not because you think it is going to go up in value as the years go on.

It should be a manifestation of the person’s way of thinking and it should follow that.

The only thing is that you should acquire a little bit of knowledge before you start investing yourself in your work. Sometimes people have very undeveloped ways of thinking. A bit like writing. You need to practice and read. Otherwise your writing wouldn’t be up to scratch. It is all part of the same thing.

Aurora Aleson’s tips for improving how you use the wall space in your home

  • Geometric shapes and wallpaper are popular at the moment. 
  • Wallpaper with printed images can change the perception of a room.
  • Tiles can be used outside of the bathroom and kitchen.
  • Wood-tile imitation can replace wood when durability if required.
  • Follow the things that appeal to you rather than trends.

Read: From tower blocks to BER ratings… the housing landscape has changed a lot in sixty years 

Also: ‘The banks weren’t showing compassion, they were waiting for an increase in property prices’

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