Architectural add-ons add pizzazz to room

Interior architectural features add depth, accent, outline and, well, character to an otherwise ordinary room. Consider these ideas for more pizzazz in your home.

For a rustic look, rough-hewn paneling, beams or stucco produce a rough texture on the surface, giving the room a rugged and casual feeling. Any paneling will create a casual ambience, but the rougher it is, the more rustic the room will look. Bricks applied to interior walls have the same rustic/casual effect.

To bring the outdoors in, create a garden feeling with lattice on one wall or as a room divider. A lattice wainscot around a room suggests a fenced garden. An unsightly post can be squared off with lattice to make that area more attractive. To create a crisp contrast, paint the wall behind the lattice one color, be it bold or pastel, and paint the lattice white. The reverse works just as well.

If you have a window that has a view you’d rather not look at, try installing a tray in the sill. Add a climbing vine and a trellis made to fit inside the window opening. Before you know it, you’ll have a garden view at that window.

For an Early American look, install a plate rail about 12 inches below the ceiling and a chair rail about 30 to 36 inches above the floor. Another idea is to keep that plate rail where it is, but install the chair rail 30 to 36 inches below the ceiling. Wallpapering below the chair rail in both cases adds to the Early American look.

If contemporary is your style, then added moldings, such as crown and chair rail, are best left in the past. Reflect instead on mirrored walls. Be careful, though, not to mirror a wall that will reflect an eyesore. Any other wood applications such as baseboards, door and window frames should be as unornamented as possible. Tall, simple baseboards and wide but simple wood trim will make a room contemporary looking.

Less expensive, yet effective add-ons can do the pizzazz thing, too. For example, a wallpaper border can be used at the ceiling level or the chair-rail level to add personality. Use a wallpaper border around a window in a framelike manner. Use wallpaper “frames” along hallways instead of pictures.

If your architect has given you magnificent lines where the ceiling meets the wall, accent it. Crown molding painted an accent color will surely draw your eye to these beautiful lines. Bold wallpaper or interesting stenciling will do the same.

The general idea here is to accentuate the positive. If you like the lines in a room, make them stand out with applied molding or other accents as described here. If the room has no particularly interesting lines, create them. Here again, with applied molding or other accents. You can be bold or subtle. Either way, you can enhance the look of the room with added touches.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.” For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at

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