Isn’t It Time to Update Your Tired Walls?

Is your home looking dated and worn? Breathe new life into it by sprucing up your walls.

Houses are time capsules. Older housing stock has a tendency to capture time in a bottle. Since decorating is closely related to fashion trends, a highly decorative element like wallpaper or colourful wall paint can add a stylish, trendy edge to a home’s decor… but even the hottest look can date badly in a few short years.

You may have just moved into a home that has a collection of tired, hideous wallpaper and paint colours. Or if you decorated ten or more years ago, isn’t it time to freshen things up a bit? Changing what’s on your walls is the most cost-effective way to freshen up your home’s interior design, so get busy! Here are a few decorating options that you might want to consider.

Paint over old wallpaper. First, make sure the wallpaper is solidly adhering to the wall without buckling or peeling. If it’s past that inspection, fill and sand any nail holes. Then clean the mildew and dust off the paper with a good, natural cleaning product designed for strong surface cleaning. Let the wall dry before covering over the old wallpaper with a coat of oil-based primer paint. This not only blocks out the pattern, but the oil in the paint provides a barrier that won’t allow latex wall paint to interact with the water-based glue of the wallpaper. Oil and water don’t mix, so the oil-based primer will prevent bubbling of the wallpaper after applying your wall paint. Allow lots and lots of drying time for the primer coat before painting over it (it should be bone dry). Make sure your room is well ventilated during the entire project. The end result will be adding a great punch of fresh color to your walls.

Add colour, texture and spunk to your walls. If you’ve got a wall that starts to scream for a makeover, there are alternatives to consider besides a simple coat of paint. There are a number of wall treatment options that can give you professional results for less money. Valspar is one company with a pleasing range of wall options, but check with your remodeling professional to explore other vendors, too. Here are a few of the Valspar faux finishes that I like:

  • Brushed Suede starts with a base coat of color applied with a nap roller. When it dries, usually after a minimum of four hours, the broad and narrow sides of a brush are used to apply a second coat consisting of overlapping large and small X’s that add a velvety, rich patterning to the wall.
  • Tuscan Accents start with a base coat applied with a nap roller, drying at least for 24 hours. A brush is used to apply small X’s of color over the base coat in a small section; then long vertical and horizontal strokes over the still-wet section help smooth and blend all the color. After 10 minutes, a special “smoother” tool, a sponge device, is swept over the surface in random patterns to create an antique Italian look. This looks great on wallboard, plaster, wood, masonry and brick.
  • Venetian Plaster is applied in small areas at a time using a large steel spatula.src= Overlapping is done to apply a thing coating on the surface, and parts of the original wall can show through. When dry, in less than 4 hours, a lighter second coat is applied to fill in and smooth over all areas. A third and a fourth coat can be applied if more texture and depth is desired. 600-grit sandpaper lightly polishes the final coat, using a steel spatula and circular motions. The more you burnish the finish, the higher the polish and shine.

Inspired by the popularity of YouTube and videos on the internet, Irwin Weiner and Jay Johnson created Design2Share in November 2006, an online podcast of advice and inspiration on homes, gardens, and architecture.

Need a local, reputable decorating expert to give you some personalized advice? Find them at—The smartest way to find licensed and insured house experts—from home stagers to contractors to home Inspectors and realtors.

Popular Videos