DEAR GAIL: We have curved walls in our foyer and have been stumped on what to do with them since we moved in. Any ideas at all would be so helpful. - Gayla B.
DEAR GAYLA: Curved walls are unusual architectural features but are dramatic, especially in a foyer. They present their own set of challenges and can become a decorating dilemma for most, so normally are left untouched. Since artwork and furnishings are designed to be placed against straight walls, we do need to be creative to bring the walls to life.
Here are seven ways you can decorate your entry to make it pleasant, attractive and dramatic.
1. Now you may not think of furniture but you can have a simple curved table made for the space. If you're handy, take a console table without drawers and conform the back edge of the table to the curve. If you are doing this yourself, trim a large piece of butcher paper to conform to the bottom edge of the wall, and use this as a negative pattern to trim the edge of the table with a router attachment.
Another option is to have a piece of glass or stone cut and find interesting legs for the base.
2. You can use framed artwork, the pieces just need to be narrow and tall to work best. Do a series of them all around the room. Keep the theme and frames identical. This also can be done with iron art.
3. Wall tapestries are a great choice for curved walls since they are flexible. You don't want to go too large if you're going to use a straight rod. But curved drapery rods are available from specialty hardware companies.
4. If it's within your budget, use stone on all the walls. It will become your artwork so nothing else is needed.
5. Affix wall art decals or a mural to the wall instead of paintings or framed photos. You can find a wide variety of decals and murals online. Customize it with your own image or favorite quote. This a great, inexpensive alternative to other options. Wall decals, in particular, remove easily and leave no mark behind, making this an ideal solution.
6. Bring attention to the ceiling versus the walls. Hang a large statement chandelier with a ceiling medallion.
7. And finally, my favorite wall treatment, paint. Don't be shy here, go dark. It will make for a dramatic entrance. Then add crown molding. Yes, they do make flexible crown molding, although you might want to hire a professional for this.
If you can't see painting a dark color, then paint the crown molding something other than white. Remember we are looking to make this a feature and not a forgotten room.
Another option is to paint vertical tone-on-tone stripes. Make the stripes wider vs. narrow, going no narrower than 12 inches. A simple way to do this is first paint the room in a flat paint. Then, tape your stripe widths and paint them with either the same color in gloss or stay on the same paint strip and go one color above or below for a subtle stripe or two colors apart for a deeper contrast. Preparation is key here, so don't rush.
You have an architectural feature so enhance it and make your foyer a great dramatic first impression.
Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, mail to: 7380 S. Eastern Ave., No. 124-272, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Her Web address is: www.GMJinteriors.com.