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by Cora L. Diekman

ceiling wallpaper With a wallpaper revival in full swing, it’s making appearances everywhere — even on the ceiling. Fortunately there are many styles that can add architectural flair to any boring overhead space. In this glam kitchen, a modern graphic print creates the illusion of dimension and provides a much needed pop of color and pattern.

faux paneling The word ‘paneling’ once evoked images of those hideous wood-paneled dens of the 70’s, but that’s FINALLY changing. Paneling has come a long way since those days to now include beautifully constructed and amazingly realistic replications of brick, stone, and shiplap (among others) that are easy to ‘install’ in large panel form — no construction required. Some varieties are also paintable, allowing them to be customized to any taste. Instead of a traditional tile backsplash, this simple kitchen opted for faux brick paneling, and painted it white to match its monochromatic surroundings — just as dramatic for a fraction of the work.

paint tricks Painting is the simplest way to transform any space, so why stop at traditional all-over color and accent walls? Clever paint tricks can give the illusion of architectural detail, even if you’re working with a completely blank canvas. A dark shade of navy accentuates this otherwise simple doorway, transforming it into an eye-catching focal point. There is no simpler, more budget-friendly way to add architectural ‘wow’ to a space.

empty frame

gallery wall

When painted the same color as the wall on which they hang, empty frames will create the illusion of architectural detail — as in this monochromatic hallway where a collection of white frames mimic the crown moulding above. Any color will work, but to keep this look clean and classic, stick to a neutral palette like white-on-white or black-on-black.

wall murals In addition to wallpaper, wall murals are also having their day in the sun. And with so many fabulous patterns to choose from, it’s easier than ever to cheat your way to architectural WOW. Prints feature surprisingly realistic patterns that mimic exposed brick, reclaimed wood, moulding, stone, and even distressed concrete.

faux fireplace If you’re lucky enough to have the extra space, dedicating part of a wall to a faux fireplace adds huge architectural punch, minus the hassle and mess of the real deal. Even this white-on-white version is seriously chic and a definite accent wall upgrade.

embossed and textured wallpaper If you crave a wall upgrade with traditional flair, embossed wallpaper is a simple way to add dimension. In addition to a wide variety of patterns to choose from, there are LOTS of options here. Consider varieties that are paintable or others are peel-and-stick – a simple alternative to moulding, wainscoting, or decorative trim.

oversized curtains If you’ve ever dreamed of wall-to-wall windows in your space — the kind that could rival even the poshest Upper Eastside penthouse — try this easy trick. Use wall-to-wall or floor-to-ceiling curtains to create the illusion of bigger windows, or even camouflage windows with an awkward layout or shape. The trick is to use a sheer panel underneath to mask the actual size of the window, while still allowing all of the natural light to filter through. Simply layer the oversized curtain of your choice overtop, and (BOOM!) instant window upgrade.