Ask the Decorating Files: Originally, I had planned to feature the questions and answers for this column in the newsletter. However, so many readers were submitting questions that I could see answering them once a month wasn’t going to be enough. Instead, I’m now going to be making it a weekly feature on the blog. Each week I’ll be focusing on a different design dilemma. However, because there are so many questions awaiting a response I’m going to be posting this feature a couple of times each week for a bit. In this post, I’m expanding on a question that I previously answered in the newsletter. It was such great question, I didn’t want anyone to miss out. It involves decorating a room with shaker shingle walls.
Decorating a Room with Shaker Shingle Walls
Question: I absolutely LOVE your site. I just purchased a new home that needs a lot of updating. I have a living-room with 2 main details that are driving me crazy! The previous owner put cedar-shake shingles in the inside, but they are old and out-dated looking. The ceilings are cathedral and have a lot of potential, but the walls are textured with long “spiky” points. I’m working with a small budget. What do you suggest? ~ Jillian
Answer: Thank you, Jillian. So happy you like the site and congratulations on your home purchase. It’s always fun to decorate a new home; however, our budgets can sometimes keep us from doing everything we want to do. That’s why it’s important to prioritize the work that needs to be done. Obviously, these two things are at the top of your list of items to address. I’ll start with the shingles. If the cedar shingles are in bad shape, the best thing to do is remove them and repair the walls as necessary (more on that in a moment). If they’re in good shape, you may be able to save money by updating them and working them into your decor. More and more designs are incorporating rustic features like shingles, reclaimed wood, and flooring for use on walls.
If you don’t want the room to have a cottage or vintage vibe, keep the accessories and artwork contemporary.
Even a bedroom can be warm and inviting with shaker shingle walls. In this room, a mix of contemporary and antique furniture help create an inviting retreat.
A cozy reading nook tucked between walls covered in shaker shingles makes an ideal spot to relax. The natural toned wood and shingles blend beautifully together.
If keeping the shingles in a natural tone isn’t your style or they’re not in the best of shape, you could paint them. Your local home improvement store should be able to tell you how to freshen them up with paint or revive the natural look.
As for the “spiky” walls, I asked a few professionals what they’d suggest. Most advised replacing the drywall. Some said that if the texture isn’t too deep, you could scrape or sand the spikes down as much as possible then level and smooth the walls with drywall compound. If sanding, be prepared to make a mess; so, keep things covered. At some home improvement centers you can rent a sander with a vacuum attached, but you’ll still want to cover things up. I’d recommend having a few contractors take a look at your textured walls to find out what they suggest and how much it costs.
If you have a design dilemma that you’d like help with, use this form to submit your question.