Integrate the column into your décor with a paint finish such as stenciling that repeats on the wall.
Brightly striped wallpaper changes the perspective in this condo space and makes a big design statement.

Dear Debbie;

In a corner of my condo is a cement pole, part of the condo building structure. I’ve painted it the same colour as the walls, but it needs more interest. I have no artistic ability, but I was thinking of stenciling. However, I cannot find ones large enough to do the job. Any ideas would be appreciated.
— Catherine

Dear Catherine;

This is a common challenge in new condos and there are many solutions. There is not much chance of making the column visually ‘disappear’, so why not make it a point of interest? There are many column styles that trace their roots back to the architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. The capital or top of the column ranges from Doric’s plain style to the Corinthian, which boasts intricately carved details. You can buy architectural forms to build up your column. A base and capital will give the column a solid presence. Since the column is already in position you would have to cut the moulding to fit around the shaft. Paint the new column one colour to unite the sections.

There are many decorative options for the shaft. A faux marble effect is a classic look. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Brush on two or three pastel coloured glazes and blend together. Then draw in veins with an artist’s brush or a feather and black and grey paint. Blend with a dry brush.

Another option is to decorate the shaft as you suggest with stencils. Shown here is a trail of ivy that winds around the column and onto the wall, which makes a good connection. There are plenty of stencils available on line such as Stenciling on a rounded rather flat surface is not difficult; spray adhesive will ensure your placement is secure and it is easy to remove and place again.

Another option is wallpaper. You won’t require much so you can choose from a large selection of designs and stay on budget. Complement your décor … go natural with oversized leaves and branches, go bright and colourful with bold horizontal stripes, go subtle and textured with grasscloth.

Dear Debbie;

I am not sure how to decorate around the ductwork in our new condo. Do I make it part of the ceiling or wall? Thanks.
— Sam

Dear Sam;

Rather than hiding air ducts and vents behind walls and ceilings, new builds box them in so that ceiling heights are not diminished. This affords more visual living space but can be intrusive. For boxed-in ducts that run along the ceiling, paint the bottom of the duct the same as the ceiling and the sides to match the walls. Make the duct part of your design and build or place bookshelves or cabinets under the ducts. Similarly, in the bedroom, place the bed under the duct. The lower ceiling will create a cozy atmosphere. Install spot lights along the bottom of the duct to highlight a bed, sofa or kitchen counter. When working around a building detail that appears to be intrusive such as exposed pipes, look for ways to make them part of your design. Camouflage with paint.