Wide stripes are a popular trick for adding character to a plain wall. This one takes a subtle approach, with stripes of a single color in matte and gloss finishes.
Think beyond paint and paper: If there's a fabric you love, consider having the walls upholstered in it, for a softer effect. This pear print was also used for window treatments in the adjacent kitchen.
Paneling is back in vogue. It lends warmth and texture to a room -- particularly when the surface is as intriguing as the pecky cypress of this sitting room.
In this alternative take on paneling, wood strips have been applied to the wall in a decorative pattern, then painted to match. The pattern plays off the railing and the tansu-style cabinets built into the stairs.
The paneling of this dining room was hand-painted to mimic traditional scenic wallpaper, giving the room its elegant ambiance.
For a unique look, these walls were coated with brown kraft paper from the office supply, applied with wheat paste.
For subtle interest in this neutral bedroom, squares of grasscloth in two different shades were applied to the wall in a checkerboard pattern.
A paneled niche makes it seem as if this mosaic-tiled wall is floating in front of a wooden one. A shadow line in the recess furthers the effect.
Tile is unnecessary in a powder room, where the walls are not likely to get wet, which makes these brilliant blue walls that much more surprising and entrancing -- especially as glimpsed through the arched doorway.
Any stone available as counter slabs can also be had in tile form -- and is often drastically cheaper per square foot. Here the honed granite from the kitchen's perimeter counters repeats as a backsplash.
When using tile in an oversize wallpaper pattern like this one -- or any striking tile, for that matter -- why not go ahead and tile the whole wall?
A tile backsplash makes as much sense in an outdoor kitchen as indoors. This one uses large ceramic tiles in earthy colors.