Working With Walls

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Walls are one of the most effective design strategies we can employ when conceptualizing a living space. There are a huge variety of wall types we can work with to create different moods as well as functions. They can be enacted to distinctly separate two spaces, or they be used to link two spaces together.

To begin with, it is useful to list out the types of materials we can have in our design palette – from stone, concrete, fabric, glass, panels to even water. But first we have to understand the characteristics of the materials and then assign them to their purpose.

With STONE, the material has a rough tactile finish, which can give a sense of outdoors to the space. The secret to properly integrating this material into your living environment is to control the effect of the stone through the lighting levels. If installed in a prominent well-lit interior space, the stone may feel out of place as there would then be too much conflict with the regular interior walls. However, if placed in a more subdued environment where the lighting is ore dim, the play of shadows on the tactile wall gives an illusion of mystery and adds character to the room.

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Alternatively, you may introduce this wall-type into a more open outdoor space, such as a patio area or a den, so the earthy features blend well with the exterior decor.

RAW CONCRETE offers an alternative to stone by providing a texturized wall and floor with different levels of smoothness and colour. Depending on how the concrete panels are treated, they can create different effects, from a rough matte finish to a highly polished surface, thereby expanding the possibilities of how we can design a space. In the example, in situ concrete is cast as a wall using the formwork to imprint a pattern onto the walls, while the flooring is a concrete-rendered floor controlled by the amount of sand and cement mix to achieve the final colour selection.

WALLPAPER or FABRICS provide a quick solution to dressing up walls. While this technique can give an instant effect, we need to take note that most wall coverings tend to have a repetitive effect. Therefore the pattern we select should suit the size of the room. For example, if we install a repetitive pattern over a large area, it may create a kaleidoscope effect causing disorientation. Ideally, the use of patterned wall coverings should be used as a backdrop to create a limited feature panel, while a more plain design can be used more unrestrainedly for the peripheral walls.

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Then there are GLASS PANELS. To use glass effectively, we need to understand its true nature. Glass is in essence a transparent thin-screen, thus this material is suitable in spaces that require light to penetrate yet requiring a physical barrier. In this example, a glass screen helps distribute light to the narrow corridor, yet offers a safety wall for the stairwell. However, with all transparent screens, there will be a tendency for some to misjudge distances, resulting in unwanted collisions with the screen, so a translucent film should be installed at eye level as an indicator. Glass walls are also effective where an open plan design is required, as it allows multiple spaces to be partitioned, giving a sense of privacy yet maintaining the connection visually.

SCREENS can also be introduced to designate different areas of the room, yet giving the option to combine the spaces together. In this example, the use of a decorative timber panel provides a visual screen between the dining and living areas, which effectively separates while combining both spaces together. This technique is highly effective in creating compartments within an open-plan design. Another effective use of screens is the ability to control the amount of light entering into a room. By modifying the frequency of inserts, we can control the intensity of light filtering through the screen. It can even be used as a security feature if used as a grille for external windows.

Lastly, even Water can be used to create a wall-like effect. By introducing a screen of water, it helps cool down the space while offering the sound of splashing water to evoke a calming effect. The water forming a wall also creates the illusion of a physical barrier; while one can easily walk through a wall of water, it is unlikely anyone would want to, so it effectively directs traffic around the wall if this is needed.

There are so many ways to make use of walls, and they can serve as useful design features as well as serve a functional purpose at the same time. But whenever planning how you would like to decorate your space, consider the effect the type of wall you choose would have on the space in question. Different types of walls also conjure up differing ambience types; for example, a floral-patterned wall would feel out of place in a modern-styled room, while glass or stone panels will not fit in so well inside a colonial-themed home. Each kind of wall works well within a style type, so do keep this in mind also before making your final selection.

For Interior Design services and consultancy, contact Chris Yeo at chris@eminentbuilders.com