8 great ideas for eye-catching wall coverings

A living room with a blue couch and an eye-catching palm leaf wallpaper.

This is the year when we’ve all learned to love and appreciate the outdoors more than ever before. Indoors, the trend is towards creating a brighter, welcoming ambiance, often with a more informal and relaxed feeling. If you’re ready to freshen up your interior space and looking for some inspiration,  here are some of the key trends we’re seeing for 2021

1. Accent walls

Accent walls have been out of vogue for a few years now, with all-over neutrals (especially grays) taking center stage. However, as we’ve all been spending so much time at home, it’s time to lighten up the mood and create a sense of drama, with an accent wall. 

There’s a lot of interest in creating texture: uneven surfaces, random swirls of plaster. One way to create an authentic ‘modern rustic’ feel is by using wood wall paneling as your accent. This can be natural dark wood, perhaps painted in a bright sherbet color, or a melange of bleached-out multicolored planks. Whatever style you choose, by using this most natural of materials you’ll be bringing a natural and comfortable touch to your scheme.

A hallway with a striking black wall and a white console table.

2. Go retro

When is retro not a great choice? We’ve moved on though, from the 50s and 60s. Next year is all about including design touches from the 1970s.  Macrame wall hangings, lots of natural textures, warm colors are all in evidence. 

Cork, has been somewhat neglected as an interior design material, but it’s a perfect choice when blending retro with contemporary. With its interesting ‘giving’ texture and attractive detailing, this natural product isn’t just a durable and versatile floor covering, it’s also a low-cost wall-covering option. Creating a feature wall with cork tiles makes a great DIY project. Leave it unsealed to let the natural beauty shine through, or seal it.  Cork can also be varnished to create a high-gloss finish, or painting to blend with your color scheme. 

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3. Maximalism

The 70s influence is also strong in wallpaper design. No more endless restful (aka boring) neutrals. If you’re going to go for some eye-catching wallpaper to create a wow on a single wall, choose striking geometric patterns and startling color combinations. Minimalism has its place, but next year, more is more. Just ensure that your furniture and accessories balance the hard-edged geometry with lots of soft textures and fabrics to create a cozy but not ‘over-designed feeling.

A living room with an eye-catching wall of pictures.

4. Bringing the outside in

Another trend is to integrate images and patterns of nature into the decorating scheme. So wallcoverings featuring flowers, leaves, trees, and any other greenery will be a great choice. As well as over-sized designs that add a sense of drama to any wall, many wallpapers now feature smaller images, recalling the watercolors of 19th-century naturalists. These make a perfect addition to bedrooms, bathrooms, or hallways.

Another great way to bring the outside world inside is by stone cladding one of your walls. An easy-to-install way to achieve a stunning look is to attach gabion metal baskets to the wall and fill with rocks or pebbles of the color and size appropriate for the size of your room. This allows you to change the look whenever you want to make a change. In addition, you could continue the theme by using gabions to create table bases, shelving supports or planter surrounds.

5. Chalkboard

If you love the idea of a wall which allows the family to send messages and create informal artworks, why not paint a wall with chalkboard paint? This way you can display whatever you want and your wall will never grow old or boring.

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A dining room with an eye-catching chalkboard wall.

6. Giant photos

With today’s printing technology, it’s possible to design your own unique wallpaper, using your own photos to create a dramatic centerpiece for any room. Wedding photos, vacation memories, family portraits, the choice will be yours. Online mural and wallpaper printing companies will also incorporate special editing, removing objects, or creating interest with color splashes.

7. Stencils

If you’re thinking of the twee stencils so typical of the 1980s, think again. Today there is a vast range of spectacular styles to choose from. Many of these allow you to print your own design onto plain wallpaper for a stunning, easy-to-achieve, and totally original look. 

A woman is painting an eye-catching stencil on a blue wall.

8. Fabric panels

Hessian walls, with their natural texture, were big in the 70s. Bring the look up-to-date and create a fascinating accent wall, by covering all or part of it with fabric, in a bright shade of your favorite color, or a contrasting mix of solids and patterned panels. If you’re not ready to attach large pieces to your wall permanently, use picture frames to display the fabrics and bring interest to an otherwise plain wall. 

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