For some of us, plain walls and minimalist furniture just don't hit the spot. If it's painted or bronzed walls you're after then talk to a specialist decorator.
Doing something different doesn't have to mean stencilled patterns along your corridor or round the doorframe, which can look dated and unstylish. You can go for something much more sophisticated.
Limewashed walls are classic and elegant and in years gone by many homes would be limewashed annually. The colour tends to mature and mellow with age and moves with the structure of the building, so doesn't crack like modern paints often do. If you are going to use limewash bear in mind that it is designed to soak into the plaster so it can't be applied over existing emulsion on your walls - it needs to go straight onto fresh plaster or exposed bricks. Basic limewash is white, but pigments can be added to achieve the colour you want.
If plain limewash isn't enough of a departure from the norm, you may need to look further and find a really artistic decorator. Someone who can create a scene in your room. And not a kid's mural or superhero frieze.
Fresco is an antique, classic form of wall painting originally dating from ancient Greek and Roman times. It was most famously used on the ceiling of the Vatican's Sistine Chapel by Renaissance artist Michelangelo. Usually subtle colours are used and can be further mellowed by rubbing with sandpaper to "distress" the painting. Traditionally the whole room is decorated, taking people into a different world - often a mystical setting or other beautiful landscape. But if that seems too much then one wall or even part of a wall can be used to introduce some permanent art into your home.
An alternative to a fresco scene is to create a "trompe l'oeil" effect. This is where the artistic decorator may create the effect of stone or wood on your walls. His skill and subtlety will be needed to achieve the correct effect of contours and texture to make the walls really look like they are made from a different material. But if it's well done you will have a very unique and interesting interior.
If you want to incorporate an existing picture onto your walls then "decoupage" may be the answer. Paper cut-outs are stuck to the surface and then given a protective layer of varnish or lacquer. Once you have chosen the pictures and worked out the best layout, which an artistic decorator with a good eye can help you with, it is very easy to do.
You can get pictures from specialist decoupage books. These often have classic images and motifs such as cherubs, bows and architectural details. But if you want a modern version then any cut out pictures can be used. Just watch out if something in a magazine or book appeals to you - if the page is thin then the printing on the underside may show through once it is glued to the wall, so check first with a small piece. You will also need to decide on the background colour for the wall. This may depend on the colours of your decoupage pictures, but choose carefully - once the decoupage is on you won't be able to change it!
Another old but interesting effect is verdigris. This is a blue-green sheen over copper, brass or bronze caused by corrosion by air and seawater over time, and the same effect can be achieved in your home! It's done by applying paint or other chemicals over a copper leaf background, or for larger areas bronze powder is often used. The effect can be stunning and even in a really modern setting a wall decorated like this, surrounded by stark white could look very striking.
Plain paint or patterned wallpaper is the easy options in interior design today. But there are other choices if you want to make a style statement. And a specialist artistic decorator can help you achieve it.