Selecting material, color, texture and technical performance of floors, walls and ceilings is not an easy task. Here's what to consider

There is a fundamental moment during a home renovation and that is the choice of surfaces. Because floors, walls and ceilings delimit and outline the rooms of the house and create the envelope in which we move, sleep and breathe. Their being highly functional elements could lead to consider them technical details. Yet, as any interior designer explains, the real difference in the atmosphere of a living space is made by surfaces.

Here are the factors to consider during the difficult selection process.


A note of merit should be given to the choice of only the color as a solution for some walls. Often there is the custom of spreading ceramic coatings on all the walls of the service rooms. Today we know, however, that each portion of the wall can be treated as an element in itself. Compared to the use of wall materials, painting a wall is an economic and easily reversible choice. But be careful: “we get tired of color sooner than we imagine,” says color designer Francesca Valan. “The advice is therefore to prefer neutral tones and to use saturated ones only for small surfaces.” Another useful tip from the color designer is to use color to 'turn upside down' certain characteristics of a home. Cold tones can be used, for example, in warm houses (facing south or located in areas with a Mediterranean climate) and vice versa. Finally, Francesca Valan recalls avoiding the use of color in the kitchen so as not to alter the perception of food which, in that environment, should be the only protagonist.

The atmosphere

You then need to focus, room by room, on the dominant effect you want to achieve. Do you want to create a neutral casing, for example, to emphasize the furnishings? Or give incisiveness to a back wall, make a floor stand out? This general idea must be the first thing to be clarified, for any environment. Because, then, in cascade, it will determine the following choices, to be addressed based on the function of the environment (living area, sleeping area, kitchen or bathroom) and the predisposition or not towards some materials (wood, stones) compared to others (ceramic , resins).


As much as one can consider oneself free from the dictates of fashion, one must be aware of the fact that companies create their own catalog taking into account the trends that evolve based on the changes taking place in society.

Exactly the opposite of previous years, the new trend of colors and coatings for bathrooms turns towards more luxurious settings in terms of materials,” says Barbara Fumarola of the RotterDame Design studio in Rotterdam. “

In addition to the walls of resin or microcement, the 2020 bathroom is dressed in dark and prefers a matte effect. The waxed walls define simple but refined settings, the colors go out, the shades are dark and very elegant but calm to emphasize the architecture of the spaces. A beautiful material that is taking glazed earthenware is becoming increasingly popular: full of exciting colors, deep shades and kaleidoscopic shades, it lights up the bathroom thanks to its modern vintage mood that immediately brings back the splendor of the 60s furnishings.

We have heard another pill on trends from designer Luca Nichetto who, as far as he is concerned, has a definite preference for contemporary coatings, those made with the most current cement resins: “they allow you to obtain continuous surfaces, they are water-repellent materials, therefore very functional, able to create modern and clean environments.”


Technological research has increased exponentially the range (and quality) of the products available. The tiles are very thin and large in size, for example, for an architectural skin effect. While the use of synthetic resins has increased the resistance of wooden and ceramic floors, offering the possibility of using them in any environment, regardless of function. Finally, digital and 3D printing allowed the reproduction of textures of any type of material and the creation of geometries and decorations in relief.

Ceramic, wood, stones or mosaic?

How do you choose one material over another? By inquiring and trying to find a match between our needs and what every single material can offer us.


The world of ceramics is divided between single and double fired (ceramic tiles subjected to one or two firing cycles) and porcelain stoneware (compact, hard and non-porous paste material, obtained from selected clays, ground and melted at high temperature). Ceramic is suitable for horizontal and vertical coatings, in any environment; depending on the type, it is hard and resistant, cold to the touch, hygienic and easy to maintain.

Wood, with a timeless natural charm, is the basic material of parquet. The most common types of wooden floors are three. The traditional parquet, made with solid wood slats to be installed interlocking or by nailing. The prefinished parquet, also called plywood, formed a layer of noble wood and one or more less valuable support layers (the laying is much faster). The laminate parquet, which is actually a fake parquet with a robust structure, with the central part provided by a wood fiber panel covered with a printed paper on which the veins of the various essences are reproduced.

Stones: travertine, sandstone, limestone, marble, are the most used stones for the coating of domestic surfaces. These are natural materials which must, therefore, be subjected to specific treatments that ensure their resistance to acids. In the bathroom and in the kitchen they are an excellent solution for those who appreciate homogeneous environments: in fact, in the same material, the sink top and the tub cover can be made.

Mosaic is a coating with a thousand-year history which is practically reinvented today. The tiny tiles that characterize the mosaic are mounted on a net, therefore easy to lay, but above all adaptable also to curved or irregular surfaces. The basic material of the tiles can be varied (ceramic, stoneware, marble, metal), but the most requested is glass for its unmistakable transparency. Moreover, the glass used for the production of the mosaic comes from recycling in most cases.

Cover photo in the gallery below some works by the Sicilian artist Ligama of the series Noblesse Oblige. The pictorial interventions carried out on the ruins are part of the project Uncommissioned Landscape Manipulation. Painter, engraver, street artist but also researcher, Ligama, thanks to the collaboration with a computer engineer, has created an algorithm capable of transforming the sounds of a place into color frequencies.

With ‘Uncommissioned Landscape Manipulation’, Ligama ‘manipulates the Sicilian rural landscape. Since 2017, the artist has embarked on a journey through Sicily in search of abandoned buildings – homes, warehouses, stables or shelters – to transform them and change their perception of immutability. The pictorial interventions use the color codes processed in co-creation with an artificial intelligence algorithm that ‘translates the scientific data of the sound sequences collected into a corresponding palette. The ruins, an integral part of the landscape, thus receive new 'information' that interact with that accumulated over time, giving life to a new time. Also changeable.

‘Uncommissioned Landscape Manipulation’ it is therefore a journey of territorial re-appropriation through painting. A journey into the geography and history of Sicily in which each step is marked by a pictorial intervention, to mend, step by step, a connecting fabric.