Five years ago, while vacationing at a Goa hotel, Shaheen Abbas—a Mumbai-based jewellery designer—fell head over heels in love with the lobby walls.
“It was this amazing green colour. I loved that colour so much. I’ve wanted that colour for so long,” Abbas recalls. But she could never match her “Goa green” until she met Meera Dabir, a professional wall designer. “I had some badly-snapped photos of it, and she got it on her first try.”
For Abbas, “The wall is a work of art itself, you don’t need anything else, really.”
More and more people are beginning to agree with that sentiment as interior designers and style watchers turn to wallpaper, textured wall paintings, and high-end wall coverings to add an extra kick to rooms.
Lola’s World sells blackboard paint for burgeoning young artists
Once Abbas saw what Dabir could do, she hired her to paint almost every other wall in the home. “It brings the room alive,” she says.
Along with intricate wall texturing, wallpaper has begun to make a comeback as a way to set a room apart. Interior designer Ritu Shetty says she and her company, Spacious Designs, have just recently started experimenting with wallpaper and it has been a hit with the clients. “Normally, we go for a white concept in the home, but we decided to take an alternative, highlighting one wall with wallpaper, or wardrobe shutters, or one patch in the internal niche of the ceiling.” The burst of colour gives the room a distinct look, adding a stimulating visual.
Most of her clients, she says, suggest marble walls to give one wall a different look, but she now steers them towards laminated wallpaper, for easier maintenance and a more modern look.
Her clients have been so excited by her adding wallpaper to their homes that in her latest project—a bungalow—Shetty plans to have wallpaper in every room.
The store Shetty turns to for her wallpaper needs is the Mumbai-based Elementto in Raghuvanshi Mansion, Mumbai. The décor store by Rohit Gupta offers a range of wall solutions imported from Belgium, France, Holland and Italy, and has showrooms across India.
Along with abstract design wallpaper and Italian textured paint, the store offers fabric and vinyl wall coverings. Gupta says that about two years ago, he started seeing a lot of interior designers turning to Europe for the new wallpapers. “The funky designs were very different from what you could do with just textured paints,” he says.
So, he expanded his paints business to include other wall coverings as well. Now, clients can buy Chanel logo wallpaper, pop art designs or big abstract designs at prices from about Rs85 per sq. ft up to about Rs2,000 per sq. ft.
“Orange, greens and golds are becoming very popular,” Gupta says. “People are experimenting with contrasting patterns and colour more than ever before.”
Dabir’s happy to stick to textured wall painting, her passion for nine years, ever since she offered to paint the walls of her friend’s hair salon. Since then, she has built a solid fan base on her vibrant colours and nuanced textures. She sometimes puts on as many as 20 layers of paint to achieve the perfect texture and colour.
Her clients, like Abbas, return to her again and again. “It’s kind of like getting a tattoo. You get one wall done and you want another and another.”
Wall décor does not have an age minimum either. Lola’s World—a children’s boutique store in Hauz Khas—offers wall paint that turns a plain wall into a magnetic strip, or a plain wall into a chalkboard. The magnetic paint comes out a dull grey, but can be covered in a bright, cheerful hue. Then, photos, notes and drawings can be hung from the wall. The chalkboard paint comes in red, blue or black, and lets children explore their artistic cravings, right on the wall.
Along with her “Goa green” room, Abbas has at least one Dabir-painted wall in every room—and she loves them all. “There is a method to my madness, and I just love colour,” says Abbas. One bathroom is yellow with pink stencils; a huge wall by the staircase is pink with gold-stencilled paisleys; her dining room is a solid gold. Of course, after the rains are finished, she will be calling Dabir back. She’s ready to update her dining room.
Big paint brands are playing with textures, metallic shades and stencils too
Asian Paints: Royale Play
With six special effects (Spatula, Combing, Sponging, Ragging, Brushing and Colourwash), this line of paints can make your wall look like silk, like stucco or like a rough sandstone wall. Rs40-50 per sq. ft (all costs include the professional painters too).
ICI Dulux: Duette Colour Effects
This line has eight special effects: Classic, Noveau, Floral, Tulips, Swirls, Sky, Crinkles, Drizzle and more than 117 colour combinations. The system uses a two-tone finish to create the effects and costs around Rs30-35 per sq. ft for non-metallic and Rs55-70 per sq. ft for metallic paints.
Nerolac Paints: Nerolac Disney
In partnership with the Disney company, Nerolac created a line of paint for children that includes bright colours and stencils of favourite Disney characters to decorate the walls. The service starts around Rs25 per sq. ft.
Berger Paints: Illusion
The designer line of paint from this paint company allows hundreds of shade combinations in 10 special effects: Abstract, Blossom, Brushstroke, Cosmic, Curve, Inferno, Mosaic, Spatulato, Watermark and Wave. The service is around Rs25-100 per sq. ft.