Building & Renovating

8 Wall Finishes For Your Home

Believe it or not, you have more options aside from wallpaper and paint

Original Article: Coni Tejada Photography: courtesy of the Homeowner and Dairy Darilag (Main Photo)

The sheer number of fun things you can do for your walls is overwhelming—would you choose paint? Wallpaper? Tiles? This roster of surface treatments can help you create your own wonder wall. Check out all your options below: 

1. Paint

This is the all-around best surface finish! House paint provides maximum impact at minimal cost and is easy to apply. 

BEST FOR: Any space 

NOTE: Use enamel for wood; latex for concrete

RL Tip: Channel your inner Jackson Pollock and transform your walls into a masterpiece with bold strokes of ready-mixed paint. 

2. Ceramic Tiles and Glass Mosaic Tiles 

Another popular surface finish, both types of tiles are easy to clean and water-resistant. 

BEST FOR: Wet spaces like bathrooms and kitchens, spaces that need easy cleanup or that are open to the elements like patios or balconies

3. Fabric and Leather

Works like wallpaper and adds an acoustic quality to walls. Depending on the pattern and fabric type, these suit both classical and contemporary interiors. 

BEST FOR: Bedrooms and home theaters

4. Natural Stone and Wood

This is one hardcore finish. Slate, sandstone, and hardwood are durable, long-lasting, and tough surfaces. 

BEST FOR: Halls and heavy-traffic spaces like living rooms 

READ: 5 Stone Finishes for the Home 

5. Decals

You can say this one will leave you in a sticky situation—the good kind, of course. Wall decals are trendy, and easy-to-apply and remove if you want to change the look of your home. 

BEST FOR: Spaces like rentals and quickly evolving kids' rooms

READ: Design School: Wall Decals

6. Wallpaper

Wallpaper is a designer's dream, as most have intricate and printed designs that are hard to achieve with paint. 

BEST FOR: Generally dry areas like living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms

7. Laminates

A cheap alternative to real wood, lightweight, and follows curves and tough corners, laminates are also easy to clean. 

BEST FOR: Cabinet doors and interiors

8. Glass Blocks

These are perfect if you want something retro-modern and eco-friendly! Contemporary glass blocks are water-resistant, durable and let in natural light but still provide privacy. Most commercially available blocks are also made of recycled glass. 

BEST FOR: Bathrooms and other enclosed areas in need of daylight and privacy 


The original article ("Get Inspired") appeared in the March 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. 

More on

Building 101: Wall Finishes

10 Textured Finishes That Can Upgrade Your Home

Building 101: Faux Finishes for Your Home


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