Inside Job

Beyond white paint or pine panels, there’s much more to timber frame wall treatments. Incorporating different textures to your walls through faux finishes, fabric, stone and even paper truly can enhance your beams rather than detract from them. Try these 10 methods to give your plain white walls the red-carpet treatment.

  1. Faux Painting. Optical illusions are easy to create with faux painting. Whether you want to create a feeling of textured marble, touchable suede or distressed wood, modern-day paint products can help you achieve the look.
  2. Wallpaper. The latest wallpaper craze is texture and features raised patterns that evoke woven linen, stucco, pressed tin, soft fabric and more. They add a third dimension to home decor and provides a tactile contrast to your timbers. It may even help you hide minor imperfections in your drywall. Wallpaper murals with nature scenes are another stylish trend.
  3. Stenciling. If you’re hesitant about painting an entire wall, consider stenciling small areas instead. Even a stark white wall will come to life when it’s adorned with a colorful stenciled detail. You don’t have to stencil an entire room either. A few leaves peeking around a corner or a collection of cowboy hats in a hallway sounds a note of whimsy.
  4. Stone, Brick and Tile. Add instant texture to your walls with rock-solid, earthy materials. Whether you choose to accent a portion of a wall or its full surface, you’ll create a seamless link with nature.

    Brick also is a perfect complement to timber, and because it lends a sense of coziness and nostalgic charm, it harmonizes with almost any decor scheme. Stone is equally versatile. The design potential of tile is almost unlimited. You can dress up a wall with ornate Italian marble or cover part of a wall with a colorful mosaic backsplash.

  5. Bamboo, Cork and Wicker. Sure, they’re fantastic furniture materials, but bamboo, cork and wicker are making their way onto walls, providing unique alternatives to traditional wall treatments. Several companies now offer bamboo bricks or panels that can be applied to wall surfaces for a flexible, light and eco-friendly treatment.

    Cork is another ecologically sound product. Modern applications creating a quiet, tranquil space well suited for bedrooms. Though it can be pricey, a wicker wall treatment brings a new definition to wall texture. In a timber frame home, this type of quality will not go unnoticed.

  6. Venetian Plaster. Venetian plaster isn’t a new concept—it’s actually been around since the days of the Roman Empire. Today, it’s enjoying a revival as an exciting interior finish. It can easily bring life and depth to a room, and when properly applied, it offers unrivaled beauty.
  7. Broken-China Mosaic. Add excitement to a wall by applying a colorful broken-china mosaic. To create the look, assemble a colorful array of tile and old china pieces and affix them to the wall with tile glue or cement.
  8. Bold Paint. Big, bold color also is staging a comeback. Vibrant reds and oranges are especially popular this year. Add drama to your great room by painting one wall a vibrant hue—perhaps with a touch of shimmer. It will create an exciting contrast to the wood tones and remaining white walls in the room.
  9. Fabric Coverings. If you want your walls to look and feel good, consider padding them with fabric or leather. When selecting material, avoid patterns that are too busy; they may overwhelm a room and take away from the beauty of its beams. Leather and suede are natural complements to rustic timbers.
  10. Architectural Details. Add interest to a flat wall surface with a raised-panel design. Traditionally used on doors and cabinetry, raised panels lend a unique architectural element to walls.

    Read the full story in the April/May 2005 issue of Timber Home Living.

  11. Photo by Graham & Brown