Birds designed with washi tape fly high in a peaceful bedroom.
The 3D butterfly tableau creates movement, dimension and a bit of humour on a plain wall.

Dear Debbie;

We have repainted our living/dining space in a pale sage green. With all the Christmas decorations adorning the walls, the room is very inviting and festive. Have you any ideas for making the room more interesting when the holidays are over?
— Sam and Sue

Dear Sam and Sue;

It sounds like you are looking for some texture on the walls. A coat of fresh paint does wonders for refreshing a room and even changing the mood. But you can add more character with some artsy inspiration and simple crafts. A quick and clever way to decorate a section of the wall is with washi tape. This craft tape comes in dozens of colours and patterns. Use it to make borders, frames, shapes, pictures, designs – anything you can draw. The sticky side of the tape does not pull away when you remove it, so it won’t harm your wall finish. Try out some motifs on paper or cardboard. If you make a mistake the tape simply lifts off so you can reposition it. Write names or quotes directly onto the tape. Personalize your walls knowing that in a few months, with the change of seasons, you can start again.

Here’s an option if you enjoy visual tricks. It appears that a group of butterflies are taking flight from a dish sitting on a cabinet. In terms of venery this is called a flutter or a kaleidoscope of butterflies, very descriptive. To imitate the scene, cut butterflies from craft paper. They are all black here but you could colour them with paint and decorate them individually. When light hits the wall at different times of the day the shadows created beneath the wings bring the tableau alive.

Dear Debbie;

The new condo we live in is very plain with builder white walls. We are going to paint and would like to add mouldings to make wall panels in the dining room area. Does it look OK if only one room has detail on the walls?
— Louis

Dear Louis;

I like your idea. Wall panels add character and style and are a great solution for building interest in a plain room. In an open layout the panels will define the eating area, dividing the room without the need for a wall. Once the panel frames are in place decide how much further you want to go. Paint the entire wall including the panels and frames in one colour for a subtle treatment. Highlight the frames or introduce some pattern inside the frames to dramatize the panels. A dining room can be theatrical so don’t hold back if you’d like a rich shade or bold design. When you switch from a light to a dark colour on the same wall try placing a moulding strip along the dividing line so that you have a neat edge.

It is not uncommon for one or two major rooms, such as the living room and dining room to have architectural details. These are the public spaces that show, that entertain. You can also splash out on the guest bathroom. It is your choice if you want to leave the other rooms unadorned. And this is the usual option. Too much detailing with mouldings and ceiling trim comes across as busy. The entire space becomes heavy. Photos, mirrors and accessories are simple options for these plain walls.