Decorative art is set off by textured wall covering

June 06, 1993|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Contributing Writer

Q: I'm looking for some contemporary wallpaper to go with the overall design of my apartment. The point of using wallpaper, as opposed to paint, is to hide all the lumps and bumps on my dull white walls. Most of the styles I've seen, however, are too conventional for my tastes. I also think I'd find those mini-patterns distracting on an everyday basis. Any ideas?

A: How about a textured and matte-finished wall covering that will act as a good background for artwork?

The non-shiny surface of a natural woven grass cloth, or a linen-like fabric, will certainly conceal whatever's underneath. These types of materials are often available paper-backed for easy installation. But if you do select a wall covering that requires paste and rollers, I strongly suggest that you retain the services of a professional paper-hanger so as to avoid frayed and mismatched weaves.

Besides having unique camouflage capabilities, many of these textured wallpapers have been given a washable vinyl finish that's extremely durable. That's something to consider if you're not planning to move out of your apartment within the next couple of years. Even if this particular kind of contemporary wallpaper is to your liking, I wouldn't advise that it be the sole treatment for your walls. You really ought to accompany it, I think, with a few paintings or some wall-hung decorative objects. Keep in mind that such artworks can readily be moved or taken down entirely should you grow weary of their appearance.

Want to see some possibilities? Take a look at the photo of a Palm Beach, Fla., apartment, which combines sophisticated styling with easy maintenance. Designer Bebe Winkler began with a striking color scheme of basic black and cream touched with accents of amethyst and sea-foam. These serene hues were chosen because they're appropriate for the apartment's geographic location and also because they establish a mood that the designer wanted to extend throughout.

The main seating group, for example, continues the black-and-cream motif. And complementary colors were used in the large abstract paintings, which were commissioned from a local Floridian artist.

Don't make the common mistake of assuming that if art is not of museum quality it will detract from the interior's design. Plenty of artists paint primarily for decorative purposes, and there's nothing wrong with displaying such works -- as long as you yourself find them appealing. A large and colorful canvas can be an important design asset in its own right, providing a vivacity and a personal touch that wallpaper alone will never produce.

+ Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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