If your walls could talk, what would they say about your sense of style? Today’s walls refuse to fade quietly into the background. LN checked in with a trio of design-savvy experts to get their take on what’s new in wall treatments.

Kathleen Matthews, Charles Brandt Design

    We’re seeing a lot of textured wall coverings lately. Several companies are doing a granite look with a pebbly finish and mica chips for subtle sparkle. It comes in gray tones, neutrals and a soft sage green.

        Screen-printed wall coverings in bold, contrasting colors and curvy, organic patterns feel fresh and new. They’re surprisingly versatile, too.

        It’s time to store the tried-and-true, ‘safe’ artwork. Wall-hung fountains are becoming increasingly popular, as are hand-blown art glass plates with metal frames. You can group them together or hang them separately. Either way, they make a powerful impact.

Mary Stieven, MKS Design and John Richard Boutique

    For a fresh look, fill a wall pocket with dried natural elements—grasses, hydrangeas, thistle, lemon leaf, etc. The type of wall pocket you use depends on your decor—to achieve an elegant look, try a handpainted pocket; for Country French, use a grape-harvesting basket.

    Instead of hanging prints of famous artwork, discover new artists on your own. We’ve been traveling around quite a bit, looking for fresh perspectives for our boutique. Contemporary Peruvian artwork is really exciting right now and is the perfect accent for traditional, transitional and contemporary decor.

    Since the economy has softened, people aren’t buying on impulse as much as they used to. They’re more willing to save their money and invest in high-quality items they really want, as opposed to spending on disposable kitsch.

Pamela Calvert, Savvy Surroundings

    Faux finishes are losing ground to strong, aggressive colors and color combinations: chocolate brown paired with blue, lime or red; deep grays combined with mustard yellow. The latter combination was very big at all the recent trade shows, including Atlanta, North Carolina and New York. It’s very striking, but not the most accessible look—you probably wouldn’t want it in a bedroom, but it works in an office. We recently did a charcoal gray wall with three horizontal, mustard stripes, accented with blue pinstripes to make the yellow pop. 

        Large-scale, fanciful designs are attracting a lot of attention right now. For one client, we painted a 10-foot bright orange bow against a creamy lime background. It’s quite a statement, without being overbearing. There’s no need for anything else on that wall.

    Wallpaper isn’t as popular these days, but when it’s used, we’re not seeing many tiny floral prints. There’s a trend toward large-scale designs and big, bold prints. Tactile textures give the paper an artsy-craftsy feel.