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Scene Setters

Posters, paintings and photos are the traditional items chosen by homeowners to hang on the walls of their abodes. But that’s poor use of one of the largest, and most prominent, décor spaces in your living area, according to local designers.

The walls of your home can say a lot about you. They can transform a space into a calm retreat or infuse the room with energy. From organic living walls to surprising ceiling design selections, local designers are changing the way you may look at your walls.

The idea of a living wall in your home as décor has become the latest trend among local plant lovers, said Ilena Yarbrough, founder of Interior Gardens.

“By combining inspiration from fashion, architecture and landscaping, this sustainable innovation is not only beneficial but assists in transforming a bland space into a decorative focal point for either the home or office by making it more alluring and inviting,” she said.

Interior Gardens, which specializes in orchids, can install lush flowering plant fixtures or monochromatic greenery to form a wall that entices the senses, in both visual and olfactory ways. Plants often have a healing effect, infusing the room with a sense of tranquility.

While often aesthetically pleasing, living walls can be very beneficial to the overall healthy air quality of the home.

“A living wall acts as a natural air conditioner by balancing humidity levels to keep us comfortable,” she said. “Through a process known as evapotranspiration, the air surrounding the green wall is naturally cooled as well as reducing background noise. If there’s a space that you want to make as peaceful and relaxing as possible, a living wall will provide a sense of peace and well-being.”

Her living wall designs have components that range in price, from small and affordable to lavish and unique. Each design by Interior Gardens is tailored to the customer’s needs, with thoughts to light, maintenance and aesthetics to the room.

Yarbrough suggests that you consider plants that will thrive within the current light levels of your home, whether existing and natural or enhanced for that particular wall art installation.

“Also, consider leaf texture, color, and the natural growth habit of the plants chosen,” she said. “The level of maintenance necessary to achieve the look you’ve envisioned will be determined by the size of the wall unit, light levels provided to the plants, and plant varieties chosen.”

Another local designer turns her professional eye to the frequently ignored space that lies above to give clients a much needed overhaul of their living area.

Ceilings are sometimes called the “fifth” wall and are often overlooked as a valuable piece of the design strategy, said local designer Peggy Scinta, founder and principal designer of P. Scinta Designs LLC.

On a recent project for a rather large room, she chose to paint ceilings in the formal living space an unexpected black shade with white crown molding to punctuate the space. The resulting palette added a sophisticated drama to the room, she said.

“Our ceiling choices were inspired by the design of this project,” said Scinta, winner of the 2013 Las Vegas Design of The Year Award and four-time Best of Houzz Award Winner for 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

“We wanted a very neutral palette that would highlight the client’s love of color, so all of the walls were painted out in white so the colorful furnishings, artwork and accessories would be noticed,” she said. “For additional character, we added white moldings throughout the first floor, all of the built-in niches, under the entry stairs, the dining room and crown molding on all ceilings.”

By treating the ceilings, she provides another opportunity to unify a room in terms of color while adding sophistication and, occasionally, the drama that makes a room stand out to the homeowner as well as the visiting guest, she said.

“The built-in niches in the formal living room and hallway were updated by changing the arched openings to square openings with contemporary glass shelving,” Scinta said.

She continued to make changes throughout the house to bring the design concept together. The front and back staircases were painted out black and white and all of the interior doors were painted black to add to the neutral theme.

“In the formal dining room, we selected a beautiful crystal and aqua chandelier, which was the crown jewel of the space and also spoke to the colors in the formal living room,” Scinta, a local designer for more than a decade, said. “The dining room’s ceiling was finished with a pale, soft aqua paint, just enough color to set off the moldings and relate to the beautiful fixture.”

The cathedral ceilings that are typical of many newer homes in the valley offer a lot of design choices. The higher the ceiling, the larger the room will appear, even if it is a relatively small space, she said.

“We always prefer working with higher ceilings, but when height is not an option, a simple trick is to hang the window treatments as close to the ceiling as possible,” Scinta said. “This will give the illusion of raising the height of a room.”

Whether puncturing that virgin white wall with the first nail to hang a grouping of family photos, or readying the walls for their first coat of color, consider what you want your room to say about you, and let your imagination soar.

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