3 ways to refresh your walls


With the official start of spring just around the corner, maybe you’re considering listing your property for sale during the busy homebuying season. Or maybe you’re getting ready for spring cleaning but want to overhaul a room.

These materials can upgrade your walls and grab attention.

Welcome to the stone age

Break up the monotony of your walls by adding stone accents, said Megan Harris, director of design at Edward Andrews Homes, which has Atlanta area communities. A neutral stone on white or light colored wall provides contrast.

While most people add stone near the fireplace and mantle, Jeff Devlin, host of HGTV and DIY Network shows including “Stone House Revival,” suggests creating an accent wall behind your bed. Devlin will be a featured speaker at the Spring Atlanta Home Show, which runs from March 24-26 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.

“If you light it from above, it creates these really — dare I say — sexy shadows that get cast where you can control the light late at night where you have that little glow on the stones,” he said.

Harris suggests adding stone to basement walls or in media rooms, particularly in a bar area. Real stone would need stability because of its weight, which is one reason why Devlin said veneer is a good choice.

“Most people would think the cheap veneer would look kind of cheesy but there’s real stone veneer that you can add to a wall and if you hire a good mason, they can make it look amazing,” he said.

Paper the town

Harris recommends using wallpaper with bold prints in areas like the foyer, a guest bathroom, a media room, or even as a focal point behind the bed.

When you are choosing where to hang the wallpaper, take into account the direction in which people enter the room and when they will see the wallpaper.

“Usually, as you enter the room it grabs your eye but with some of the more subtle applications you might be panning the room and then you’re like ‘Oh, that’s a little different’ and you focus in on it,” Harris said.

Go against the grain

If you’re tired of looking at white walls, accenting with wood can remove the feeling of a sterile environment, Harris said.

“If done right, with nice crisp paint or stain on a wall, it can totally change the feel of a room,” said Devlin, a carpenter.

While looking at the different grades of wood, Harris said sometimes the blemishes in the grain can make an excellent accent piece. In an Alpharetta home, Edward Andrews Homes surrounded the fireplace with stained wood.

“We chose a grade of wood that would show a lot of knots and imperfections in it because the stain was going to pick up those differently and it just provides some interest on the wall,” she said.

In the hallway of a new home in Alpharetta’s Larkspur community, Harris took picture-frame wainscoting to another level with layers of trim painted the wall color.

“As you walk into the home, it helps carry your eye down the hallway and that’s a fairly long hallway, so it gives you a point of interest as you walk in,” Harris said.

Devlin and Nancy Keenan, an interior designer and real estate agent for Keller Williams, have both seen wood used in out-of-the-box ways. Think about shapes, such as a wood diamond pattern that Keenan saw in one home.

“In some places it would probably be overdone but in this place it was pretty cool,” she said.

Make a plan

Many people shy away from DIY projects involving their walls because the tasks seem daunting.

“Planning is absolutely everything,” said Devlin. “Take into consideration where outlets are; if you’re going to do a wainscotting make sure you can cut around the outlet if you’re adding a beadboard to the wall. Make sure you have a jigsaw, you have a nail gun, you have all the things to necessary to make that a really good project.”

Keenan likes to draw outlines on the walls to envision her project.

“If you have the floorspace to lay out a design for a wall before you put it up, then that could be really helpful translating it to the wall,” she said. “I think if you just kind of go haphazard with it, you may end up with something you don’t like, and taking it down once it’s up is kind of hard.”



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