7 Alternatives To Painting Walls

Minimalistic interior design of modern light studio consisting of big sofa and kitchen with dining table and chairs against brick wall in daylight

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Paint is the traditional way to decorate walls. However, there are lots of alternative options. Below are 7 alternatives to using paint that could be worth considering in your home. 


Wallpaper is the second most popular option to paint. While it can be more expensive than paint, wallpaper typically lasts longer. 

By using wallpaper, you can explore all kinds of patterns and designs that would otherwise be very tricky to paint. There are many wild designs that you can use for feature walls such as flowers, stripes, cityscapes, starry nights and geometric shapes. Alternatively you could try more subtle textures such as these designs. There are also 3D options such as woodchip wallpaper.


Tiles are very popular in bathrooms and kitchens due to being waterproof and easy to clean. However, you can also add them in other rooms as a feature wall.

Wall tiles can come in all different styles. They can be small and intricate (the most detailed being mosaics) or they can be very large and basic so that they’re practically panels. You can also explore all kinds of colours. Installing tiles can be more time-consuming and fiddly than both painting and wallpaper and is sometimes best left to a professional

Wood panels

Wood panels can provide an earthy touch and may also help to improve heat and sound insulation. They tend to be used as feature walls – unless you’re aiming for a wood cabin vibe, you probably don’t want to put them on every wall.

There are a few different designs of wood panels to choose from. Shaker wood panels can offer an opulent period home feel, while vertical acoustic panels can have a more modern look and can help insulate sound. Lighter tones of wood tend to be more popular nowadays than darker tones.

Exposed brick

You could consider stripping back the plaster from a wall to reveal the brickwork beneath. This can add a cosy rustic feel to a room (although you probably want to limit it to a feature wall so that you don’t feel like you’re living in a castle).

By adding sealant to exposed brick you can preserve it and make it easier to clean. 


Stripping back walls to the plaster is another option. In fact, the unpainted look has been growing in popularity recently.

Venetian plaster can help to add a Mediterranean feel to a room. You can also use grey plaster in bathrooms to give a rustic stone look.


You can also hang fabric on walls. This can give a room a soft and cozy feel – it can be a great feature wall idea for a living room or a bedroom.

You could cover the wall with a large tapestry, full length curtains or even look into wall carpet. Check out these fabric wall ideas for inspiration. 

Synthetic panels

Synthetic panels are made of plastic. They can come in limitless designs, making them a versatile option.

Synthetic panels can be a plain color or they can be textured. It’s possible to use synthetic panels to mimic all kinds of other materials such as wood, exposed brick or stone. Such panels are waterproof and easy to clean, making them a popular choice in bathrooms (synthetic faux-wood can often be more practical than real wood in a bathroom as it won’t get damaged by damp).

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