A “Halfway-There” Mark Is the Antidote to Boring White Walls

Plus, 3 more ideas from the country’s top designers.

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“It’s funny that I ended up being the only room in the house with a white wall,” Margaret Parker Naeve told Veranda of the gallery she decorated for the inaugural Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Dallas, an exhibition of some of the country’s best interiors set in a French Provincial estate. Given a blank slate, designers rarely leave it as such. Why go bland when the possibilities are endless?

Covering the majority of a room’s surfaces in a vivid hue or a bold print can spark inspiration and alter moods. Here are a few ideas to narrow down your search for the right finish. Even Naeve’s walls weren’t completely bare in the end—an adjacent powder room revealed quite a delightful contrast.

The Inky Statement

Go dark in a tiny room—interior designers have been singing the praises of this small-space tip for decades, but few have gone as far as covering an entire powder room in floor-to-ceiling black zellige tile. Naeve paired this glossy surface with a plinth-style marble vanity and antique brass Apparatus sconces to complete the jewel-box look.  

The Dose of Sunshine

Yellow chinoiserie wallpaper in bedroom
Photography by Stephen Karlisch; Design by Dina Bandman

A bright yellow floral wallpaper would put a smile on anyone’s face in the morning, but interior designer Dina Bandman took the bedroom treatment one step further by way of a bold chromatic palette, which also includes a royal blue canopy bed and emerald green curtain pom-poms. 

The Halfway-There Mark

Kips Bay Dallas living room with hunter green half-wall
Photography by Stephen Karlisch; Design by Viviano Viviano

How do you visually fill up a lofty room? Take note from Catherine and Michael Viviano, who separated the wall in two using hunter green paint on the lower half to ground the furniture. Bonus points for the art placed over the dividing line and the tapestry that hangs above the central fireplace. 

The Tent Effect

Blue and white tapestry wall treatment in living room
Photography by Stephen Karlisch; Design by Mark D. Sikes

Designer Mark D. Sikes is not known for doing things halfway. When he was tasked with the house’s living room, he opted for a custom-printed wall covering from Iskel Decorative Arts that bleeds onto the ceiling and frames the architecture, creating a tentlike feel (if tents were made of ornate fabric scraps). 

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Gabrielle Savoie


Gabrielle is most often found digging through 1stdibs in search of Tobia Scarpa sofas, hunting down the newest cool hotels, or singing the praises of Art Nouveau. She spends an inordinate amount of time looking at real estate floor plans and listening to podcasts. In her free time, you’ll likely find her bouncing on a trampoline at Fithouse, snacking on a crudo at the latest cocktail bar, antiquing for French silverware, or dogsitting for anyone who will ask—yes, even you.