Although an often forgotten feature of the home, walls can have a surprisingly significant impact on the overall aesthetics and atmosphere of a room
Choosing materials and finishes for walls in kitchens and bathrooms can be a complex process, but it’s not necessary to make a selection based on utilitarian factors alone.
Most people automatically gravitate towards plaster, and although it may not be realistic to completely substitute this for something else, feature walls are a great way to add character and personality to a room while keeping costs down. Although looks are important, it is also wise to consider functionality. Shelving, artwork, fixtures and furniture will all have an impact on your ultimate decision. Additionally, if the wall is going to be located in a high-traffic area, consider the durability of the surface as scuff marks and fingerprints will quickly accumulate.
The choices available can be seemingly endless, so we are showcasing some of the most popular wall options here.
Tiles are not new, especially in the kitchen and bathroom, however you may be surprised at the extensive ranges available. Finishes include granite, marble, porcelain and ceramic. Although initial costs can be high, tiles are popular for a reason. Not only are they easy to clean, an obvious benefit in both the kitchen and bathroom, they are also extremely durable. It is important to choose not only a suitable tile for your area, but also to hire a professional tiler to ensure the job is done well and will last for years to come.
Not only is paint generally the most affordable wall covering choice, it is also the most versatile. An almost infinite range of colours and finishes is readily available and the only limit is your own personal creativity. Matt, high-gloss, semi-gloss, satin, washable and faux-look paints such as leather and stone are just some examples of the paint options available. Chalkboard paint is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to add a touch of character to a room. Perfect for kitchens, chalkboard walls can be used for writing out shopping lists, sharing messages with the family and as a creative outlet for children.
Despite its stunning impact and numerous advantages, panelling is an often overlooked choice for internal walls. Wall panels come in a range of materials including wood, glass, PVC and fibreboard. It is great for concealing flaws such as wiring and holes, which other finishes cannot. Caesarstone is a good example of versatile wall panelling. These panels are non-porous, durable, resistant to stains, scratches, common household chemicals, mould and mildew — perfect for bathroom areas. Another great panel materiel is glass. Commonly seen in kitchen splashbacks, glass panels come in much larger sizes and are big enough to cover an entire wall. Glass is both hygienic and easy to clean, and the colour and design can be customised.
When people hear wallpaper they tend to think of outdated styles and old peeling walls. However, modern wallpapers are actually a fantastic and inexpensive way to complement plaster walls, and are especially great for renovations. It is important to keep in mind that wallpaper is not durable enough to completely cover a kitchen or bathroom, however it works well as a feature and is easier to replace than other wall finishes.
Exposed brick adds instant character and charm to any room. In Australia, most older homes already have brick beneath the plaster walls. When renovating, it is simply a matter of removing the plaster sheets and cleaning the brick. A sealant will then need to be applied and colour can be altered by painting over the brick.
Want to learn more about getting your walls right? Why not check out these cool feature walls on our archive page?
Written by Amy Norris
Originally in Kitchens & Bathrooms Quarterly Volume 24 Issue 1