Hide a knockdown wall surface with temporary wallpaper in a busy print: They'll never know.

How to Hide a Knockdown Wall Surface

by Amanda Bell

Knockdown texture sits somewhere between a smooth wall and full popcorn finish, and is popular among builders because it can hide minor drywall imperfections without a lot of time spent on finishing. Yet the finished look doesn’t fit all decorating styles, especially if you prefer your home to be a bit sleeker. Rather than arranging tall furniture along the length of the area in question, use various design techniques to camouflage or outright conceal the knockdown surface.

1. Flat Paint

A fresh coat of paint can camouflage a lot of sins, and in the right finish it can also disguise knockdown walls. Flat paint minimizes differences in texture, giving the wall a smoother finish. To paint a textured wall, start with a good coat of primer and then two to three coats of a flat paint. Although this finish is notorious for being difficult to clean, it is also perfect for hiding small nicks and scratches, such as the variety small children and pets are prone to create. Dark colors show less dirt, yet receive the most wear during cleaning, while lighter colors are easier to clean, yet show more dirt. Take your family’s lifestyle into account when choosing a color, and keep an extra can of paint on hand for touch-ups.

2. Gallery Wall

When there’s a spread of pictures hung, they tend to steal the focus from the wall behind them, especially if the wall is painted a neutral color. Group framed photos in varying sizes about two inches apart. This is just enough to avoid overcluttering the wall while still being narrow enough so that the texture isn’t noticeable. Mix family photos with favorite paintings or prints and other wall decor pieces, such as plates or letters. Then add a few of your kids’ masterpieces. When framed, children’s artwork melds with the surrounding design while still drawing the eye, stealing attention from the wall while putting your little ones’ hard work on display.

3. Tapestry

A large tapestry, hung from the top of the wall, will cover a lot without any permanent alterations; even with space below and around the tapestry, the piece will still be the primary focus. Hang the piece out of reach if you have young children. To really make this pop, paint the wall a cool color, such as gray, white, light blue or green, and then choose a tapestry design that features plenty of warmer colors, such as orange, yellow and red. The cool paint color will draw the walls away from the eye, while the warm tones of the tapestry will make it feel closer when you’re looking at it. Hide the wall further by choosing a flat, cool paint color and watch the knockdown texture fade into the background.

4. Temporary Wallpaper

It’s never advisable to cover a textured wall with permanent wallpaper; no matter how well installed, over time the crevices and unevenness will become more and more apparent. Temporary wallpaper, however, can provide a chic, quick fix for a less-than-desirable wall finish. Essentially large vinyl decals, temporary wallpaper is self-adhesive and available in a wide range of patterns. To camouflage the fact that it doesn’t sit perfectly flat against the wall, opt for a very busy pattern and avoid anything metallic.

5. Wainscoting

When paired with a fresh coat of flat paint, wainscoting covers a large portion of the wall, keeping the texture under wraps. Board and batten is relatively easy to install, especially if it's going just along one wall, and it's available in a variety of styles, although there are a multitude of other options. When paired with a gallery wall or tapestry above, you can easily cover up most of the knockdown texture without making the space feel too overdone. The wainscoting can cut the work in half if you decide to remove the texture; simply refinish the area above the top trim, and cover the rest. As an alternative, skip painting the walls and cover the entire surface with paneling painted a crisp white. This gives the look a modern feel and avoids darkening the space.

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