When Nikhil Tiwari started working at his father’s sandstone mining company, he noticed that while the interior décor industry was taking off, everyone sang the same tune when it came to the floors and walls: imported slabs of stones such as marble and onyx. No one was willing to change the tried-and-tested formula. But sensing that the Indian market was ripe for a change, Tiwari decided to do just that.
Plage SA uses a digital image of a giant poppy on the wall
His company, Gemstone Crafts, has opened a showroom in Bandra, Mumbai, and is just one of the many companies venturing into offbeat choices to decorate our walls.
Instead of marble, Tiwari opted for semi-precious stones—lapis lazuli from Afghanistan, jasper from Australia and tiger eye from South Africa, to name a few, and used them to set the walls apart. At Rs7,000 per sq. ft, his first clients were mainly from the royal families in West Asia, but decorators are now commissioning pieces for homes in Mumbai.
Walls can often be overlooked in the design process, but people are now looking for more exciting options than just plain blank white walls.
Rustic tiles bring a natural design aesthetic to a room
The most readily available way to spruce up white walls is with tiles. Somany Ceramics has recently launched an environment-friendly tile line called Rustic. Each tile, with prices between Rs40 and Rs50, gives a room a natural, earth-tone look.
For a more stylized look, H&R Johnson (India) Ltd has launched a mosaic line of tiles, priced at Rs190 per piece. Inspired by ancient Roman style, this line consists of small tiles that together form an overall picture. H&R Johnson has a computer-assisted design programme that allows the buyer to become the artist; whatever the image they come up with, the computer can create a mosaic.
But people aren’t just sticking to tiles. The French design company, Plage SA, has introduced a line of wall adhesives with digitally imprinted images on them, for around Rs2,200 per large-size image. Home-owners can position and place the images. The nature-inspired stickers add a whimsical look to a home.
The recently launched store Nun offers a playful line of wall stickers in the shapes of monsters, mirrors or coat stands that start around Rs4,800. The look has a hip, punk-rock inspired feel to it.
Chesterfield’s aluminium wall screen adds a sleek reflective surface to a room
Water features add an element of sophistication and mystery to a room, with soothing sound and gripping visual effect. Color Design India creates water curtains over a glass window or a wall, creating an illusion of flowing water. The Delhi-based company installs the curtains in homes and offices, starting at around Rs1 lakh for a 6ft area.
Finally, for the wall that isn’t a wall, wall screens divide a room and create a visual impact. Chesterfield has a metal wall-screen line (Rs4,500 per sq. ft) with a mirrored finish and a highly detailed decorative pattern, which can add a rich new element to a room. Fcml has also introduced a line of wall screens, with floral or geometric patterns, at Rs7,475 for a set of 12 tiles for the floral pattern. The screens can either divide a room by being hung from the ceiling, or they can be placed over a wall as a covering, adding a three-dimensional, textured look to it.