Interior Wall Covering Ideas

  • 01 of 13

    Wall Covering Ideas That Go Beyond Mere Paint and Wallpaper

    Veneer Stone on House Interior Walls
    Veneer Stone on House Interior Walls. Rigden: Nigel / Getty Images

    Most walls get the usual covering treatment: flat, eggshell, or semi-gloss interior paint. And that's a great thing. You can't go wrong with a nice coat of interior paint.

    But what if you're interested in wall covering ideas besides the obvious? Here are some inventive ways to cover a wall.

    One word of advice: go easy with these. Some are so highly textured and detailed that covering your entire house with them (or even an entire room) will produce visual overload. So, for some of these coverings, consider installing on an accent wall instead of multiple walls.

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  • 02 of 13

    Colorful Wood Wainscot

    Fluted Doorframe in Corridor
    Abode / Getty Images

    Bottom Line

    Wainscot painted any color except for white.


    Wainscot is wall covering that extends from the floor to roughly the middle of the walls. It's often wood beadboard, and it's usually white.

    But why white? White wainscot does indeed convey the homey, retro look of a summer cottage. Yet you can paint it an endless array of colors.

    Luckily, wainscot is easily available and inexpensive. It's as close as your local lumberyard or home improvement store.

    Wainscot can be found in two main forms:

    1. Tongue-and-groove plywood beadboard paneling in 4'x8' sizes requiring cutting and priming.
    2. MDF panels 32" to 48" high that are made just for wainscot. These panels are tongue-and-groove and are primed for paint.
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  • 03 of 13

    Tile Wainscoting

    Tile Wainscot
    Tile Wainscot. Courtesy of Bedrosian's

    Bottom Line

    Wainscot made of tile, not wood.


    Wainscoting tends to be made of wood, but it doesn't have to be. Sometimes you'll find tile used as wainscot, especially in bathrooms. That's because joining tile to tile (the wainscot-to-floor junction) creates a perfect, water sealed seam.

    But you can be innovative and install tile wainscoting in any room where the look is appropriate.

    Any tile store can supply you with tile for wainscot. The big home improvement stores are great for lots of things, but you may want to avoid them for tile.

    Support your local tile store. You'll get a better selection, and likely better advice, too.

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  • 04 of 13

    Floor-to-Ceiling Tile

    Tiles on a Wall
    Tiles on a Wall--From Floor to Ceiling. Courtesy of Bedrosian's

    Bottom Line

    Similar to tile wainscot, except the tile continues all the way to the ceiling.


    One way to really make your walls pop with excitement is to cover them with tile--from floor to ceiling.

    But consider carefully which wall you will want to use. As noted earlier, wall coverings with a high degree of visual interest should be limited to one wall installations.

    Tile wall coverings, hearkening back to the days of ancient Rome, fit into this category. Even if you don't mind the visual overload, you'll find that multiple walls covered with tile make your room sound hollow. So, unless you want your dining room to echo like a locker room, limit it to one wall.

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  • 05 of 13

    Metal Ceiling Tiles

    Faux Copper Ceiling Tiles
    Faux Copper Ceiling Tiles. Antique Ceilings

    Bottom Line

    Metal or faux metal ceiling tiles glued to the wall.


    These retro metal tiles are often found on backsplashes as well as their intended location: the ceiling. But what about full-wall installation?

    Plenty of homeowners have discovered that metal ceiling tiles make great wall coverings. Whether real metal or faux metal (high-quality polystyrene foam that looks incredibly like metal, even on close inspection), these tiles adhere to the wall with mastic adhesive.

    Check out our section devoted to metal and faux-metal ceiling tiles.

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  • 06 of 13

    Leather or Faux-Leather Panels

    Leather Wall Covering
    Leather Wall Covering. Talissa Decor

    Bottom Line

    Tufted faux leather panels for a portion of the wall.


    Leather wall coverings are super-swanky and retro.

    The most cost-effective panels are faux, not real, leather. If we're talking about a sofa or easy chair, you would want real leather. But wall panels do not involve physical contact. It's all about the look, and the faux panels look smashing.

    Easy to install, too. They glue right onto the wall with hot glue or construction adhesive.

    Talissa Decor is a Canadian online retailer that has plenty of faux-leather panels and a good image gallery you should check out.

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  • 07 of 13

    Manufactured Stone Veneer

    Veneer Stone Wall
    Veneer Stone Wall. Boral Limited

    Bottom Line

    Manmade stone on the inside of your house, not the outside.


    Manufactured stone veneer, though technically not stone, is so similar to stone that one hesitates to call it "faux."

    It is composed of Portland cement, aggregates, and iron oxides. As such, it has much (but not all) of the heft and durability of real stone.

    The three major veneer stone manufacturers are El Dorado, Cultured Stone, and Coronado Stone.

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  • 08 of 13

    Faux Stone Veneer

    faux stone veneer
    2 Types of Faux Veneer Stone--Against Real Brick. Lee Wallender

    Bottom Line

    Fake styrofoam stone that looks and feels fake.


    You can easily cover an entire wall in faux stone veneer by yourself.

    That's because it isn't real stone. It doesn't even reach the level of manufactured veneer. It's as fake as fake gets. These polystyrene panels are super light, at only 5-6 pounds per panel. And the panels' 2'x4' sizing means they go up fast.

    Con: Faux stone veneer can dent quite easily. So, make sure you install them in an area you do not expect will get much physical contact.

    Texture Plus is one of several online retailers.

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  • 09 of 13

    Wood Wall Paneling

    Horizontal Wood Wall Paneling
    Dark Walnut Wood Paneling. 27estore

    Bottom Line

    Gorgeous exotic wood panels.


    Wood paneling has finally come of age.

    For one, today's wood panels are real wood--ebony, teak, macassar, rosewood, oak, or other exotics--not plastic film atop particle board.

    For another, they are sized smaller and current fashion is to mount them grain-horizontal. .27estore has a wide selection of real wood panels.

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  • 10 of 13

    Bamboo Mosaic Tile

    Wall Covering Ideas - Bamboo Mosaic Tile
    Bamboo Mosaic Tile. Modwalls

    Bottom Line

    Mosaic tile made of bamboo.


    Bamboo mosaic tile is the perfect wall covering if you are looking for something modish, modern, and fresh. This material from Modwalls is sustainable, as bamboo regrows quickly.

    This is a covering that works best in bone-dry areas. In other words, keep it away from the outdoors (obviously). But less obviously, you'll want to avoid installing it in bathrooms, even if it's not adjacent to the shower or tub.

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  • 11 of 13

    Cork Mosaic Tile

    Cork Mosaic Tile
    Cork Mosaic Tile. Modwalls

    Bottom Line

    Tiny round tiles made of cork.


    These one-inch diameter cork rounds and bound together on mesh mats for easy installation. At $18.9 per square foot, they do make for a rather expensive wall (quick math: $1,516 to cover an entire 8 ft. by 10 ft. wall).

    This means they are more suited for walls section or for backsplashes. Maker of these CorkDotz Modwalls says that, if properly sealed, this material is water-resistant.

    One nice thing is that these "tiles" are actually a bit larger than one square foot "for ease of installation."

    These are all green and environmentally-correct as they are produced from cork stoppers.

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  • 12 of 13

    Stainless Steel High Pressure Laminate Sheets

    Brushed Stainless Steel High Pressure Laminate
    Brushed Stainless Steel High Pressure Laminate. ATI, Inc.

    Bottom Line

    Sleek laminate surface for your walls, not for your counters.


    High-pressure laminates (HPL) are not the dusty, droopy, and largely ignored stuff you find on the racks at Lowe's or Home Depot.

    HPLs are the Rolls Royce of laminates, having phenolic backings (think: lab tables, commercial wall coverings, and the like). Yes, price is commensurate with quality, but these wall coverings--sandwiched under high heat and pressure--are durable, hygienic, and tough.

    For walls that no one is likely to forget, you might want to install these stainless steel HPL sheets. It's just a thin layer of steel atop the laminate surface, so installation doesn't require the services of metalworkers.

    Shown is NuMetal, from Advanced Technology, Inc., of Greensboro, North Carolina. ATI will ship up to five free samples--generous on their part, as free samples are becoming a rarity these days--from four of their design-related product lines.

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  • 13 of 13

    Removable Wallpaper

    Bottom Line

    Fun wallpaper that removes with no special tools.


    Living in an apartment with either nasty or just plain boring walls is difficult.  Do you paint the walls, only to have to re-paint them before you move out?

    Removable wallpaper lets you embellish your personal environment, and move-out is a cinch.

    It is not cheap, though.  That 8 foot high by 15 foot wide accent wall will cost you upwards of $375.