Walls that speak

Bindu Gopal Rao
Thursday, 6 September 2018

Wall cladding can add a whole new dimension to home interiors, courtesy the myriad materials and finishes it is available in.

When Priya Kumari, associate director at Media Moments, started doing up her new apartment in Bengaluru, she was clear that the décor must be different yet sober and homely. And to achieve this, her choice was clear — wall cladding. “I have a huge wall for the TV unit and I wanted it to be the centre of attraction, so I decided to go for wall cladding as nothing beats natural stone cladding for its beauty, sophistication and visual interest. I have used mud coloured stones with wood border panelling and lots of lights.”

The specifics 
Wall cladding is a wall covering material that aims to make the wall look like it is made of a different material than it actually is. Apart from boosting the décor through its large variety of designs, colours and materials, cladding also offers some sort of resistance and protection, as well as increases the life of structural materials. Interestingly, it increases the service life of the structure and also increases value of the building. In addition it can improve thermal, acoustical and natural daylight performance.

Nikhil Tiwari, founder and designer, Topstona, says, “Natural stone-based claddings provide the essence of natural environment with their tactile property. Adorning interiors with cladding is a good way to give a new life to an otherwise dull and lifeless wall.” Stone, tile, wood, metal, vinyl, concrete and wallpaper are the different types of wall claddings which can be used for several interior spaces. In a modern Indian living room finished with plush sofas and pretty accent pieces, the exposed brick wall adds an earthy dimension in form of wall cladding.

“The brick backsplash stands out beautifully in a modular kitchen. Bathroom decor is slowly becoming a popular trend in India and you can extend stone wall cladding idea here as well. The stone clad step in a garden complements the dry-stacked boundary wall, thus making for a beautiful vignette. It is a versatile decor trend and can be used in almost any part of your home. Pair it wisely with the surrounding colour theme and you will effortlessly create a space that you will love,” says Sagar Datta, Casa Interio.

Do it right
One of the basic specifications in the interior décor world is a wall finish. A wall finish can include paint, wallpapers, decoration with tiles or wood panels. “Although a sophisticated wall treatment, wood wall panelling might not be suitable for all types of interiors and can have some limitations as it’s not water/ moisture resistant which leads to swelling and bending of panels,” says Vaishnavipratima, owner, Vaishnavipratima, the interiors studio. 

Where the cladding is added makes the décor difference. Bedrooms always do well with a hint of texture. “Smooth and luxurious marble or stone coverings work well behind a seating space and are perfect to make a statement. Monochromatic textured stone claddings are great for bathrooms — aesthetic as well as utility. In living rooms, claddings can be a part of decor as a centrepiece or feature wall or can be subtly highlighted behind the TV unit or the bar area. The finish of materials in interiors should be either polished or wax finished, in order to make it very smooth,” says Tiwari.

Now trending
Latest wall cladding trends are all about using natural materials like stone or timber as accents in earthy and neutral tones. Amardeep Gulri, founder & principal designer, Deco-Arte, a bespoke interior, architecture and design company, says, “A clever way to be different is by changing the rules using materials that you would normally see on the floor, on your walls instead. Rustic interior designs have come back in a big way. With it come materials such as timber, concrete and exposed brick. Even with plush interiors, rustic walls in 3D wood, stone and rough finished brick tiles will be trending this season.” So are you ready to give your walls a makeover?

Tips
- Choose surface finish according to the area and space. For interiors, it is advisable to have a polished or waxed finish while for exteriors natural finish works well.
- Always get the surface treated according to the application area. 
- Conduct a routine maintenance check on the wall claddings for any cracks, chips, stains and clean them with non-erosive solutions every now and then.
- Textures should not be overdone. Experiment with different surfaces to maintain the serenity and subtlety of the textures used.

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