In most homes, interior walls get their own subtle variation on the same exact treatment — a coat of paint finished in a matte, eggshell, or semi-gloss sheen. Simply put, the average wall is regarded as a basic backdrop that’s there to support or enhance the interior design scheme it inhabits.
Of course, that doesn’t mean walls aren’t an ideal place to introduce eye-catching patterns and textures; plenty of people have discovered the transformative power of the right wallpaper on an otherwise basic wall surface.
But if you’re interested in discovering wall treatments that go beyond the obvious, you’re in luck: Thoughtful wall surface design is very much on trend this year. Here, we highlight 7 of the most inventive interior wall treatments for 2022 and beyond:
1. Biophilic Textures and Materials
Biophilic design, or any aesthetic that supports your inherent human need to connect with nature, is taking the design world — from architecture and outdoor community spaces to residential interiors — by storm. When it comes to biophilic wall treatments, organic materials and textures reign supreme.
Grasscloth is a simple and elegant natural wall covering that complements a wide range of décor styles; oversized panels of harvested tree bark make an amazing statement wall. If you have a green thumb, a living plant wall is the ultimate biophilic wall treatment.
2. Sculptural Artwork Installation
Artwork is the go-to temporary (or at least easily changeable) wall treatment in most homes. In 2022, expect to see a major push toward 3D wall art — the kind that pops right off the wall and brings an element of intrigue, whimsy, and liveliness to any space.
Whether it’s a flock of wooden birds flying across a wall, a scattering of abstract metal circles, or an installation of vintage musical instruments, 3D wall art can be configured in different and interesting ways.
3. Bold and Colorful Wallpaper
While wallpaper may be a conventional wall treatment that’s just one step beyond basic paint, we’d be remiss not to include it on our list of top wall treatment trends for 2022 — whether it’s the removable peel-and-stick kind or a high-end, hand-painted paper that’s made to order, bold wallpaper patterns and colors are in demand.
Think striking stripes, modern geometric shapes, and whimsical organic forms in vivid earth tones and calming, nature-inspired hues like eucalyptus, evergreen, terracotta, amber, taupe, putty, azure, and turquoise.
4. Oversize, Installation-Style Panels
Whether you live in a neutral rental that you can’t alter, or you’re simply not sure you want to commit to a dramatic wall colors, patterns or textures, you can still stay perfectly on trend with oversize, installation-style wall panels.
A trio of large-scale wallpapered panels can transform a space in an instant, and they can also be restyled or removed when you’re ready for change — this year they may contain a triptych, or three-fold, nature scene; next year, you may cover them in a hand-dyed textile in a bright or mood-setting hue.
5. Super Mod Wood Paneling
No, we’re not talking about the dark, 1970s-style family room paneling that everyone wanted to whitewash in the 1990s — and began ripping down by the early 2000s. We’re talking about light wood paneling that can be installed in a wide range of unique configurations, all of which are equal parts fresh and modern.
Reclaimed wood like shiplap brings character to any space, whether it’s used on every wall or a single accent wall. But you don’t have to mount wall paneling directly; you can also create a wall paneling system — like off-set horizontal wooden stripes — that’s slightly suspended for a very contemporary aesthetic.
6. Wooden Slats or Statement Cubes
If you like the idea of warm wood — but you prefer to take it a step beyond basic paneling — this year’s statement-making wood wall treatments are sheer perfection. Try a fluted, reeded, or slatted wood statement wall to achieve a beautifully dimensional aesthetic with large-scale textural interest, or fit modern wooden cubes or blocks together to create a gorgeous mosaic.
7. Luxurious Drapery Walls
Long, dramatic draperies have been dressing up windows for centuries, but in 2022, they’re also adorning expansive, blank walls in homes across the country. While it may not be entirely functional, hanging curtains across a wall can soften any space and add a touch of glam.
You can also use luxurious fabric draperies to frame an accent wall, soften it up, draw attention to high ceilings, introduce décor-unifying patterns or colors, or bring dimension to an otherwise flat space.