One day, many years ago, I was surfin' the nets, and I stumbled upon a picture of the Cypress Hotel lobby in California. I'm not sure which Cypress it was, since a new search doesn't yield any picture that looks like this one, which I assume means they have since changed the lobby.
The gorgeous red and old gold squares on the wall are/were leather, and Wow, what a bold attention-getter. I was in a painting mood that weekend, so the inevitable light bulb glowed above my head. I was living in a rental home, where I was allowed to paint anything my heart desired, as long as I painted over it when I moved. I decided that if that wall was good enough for a hotel, it was good enough for my foyer, so off I went.
I didn't bother to use primer behind the red, because I wanted to benefit from the white wall as a base color. That way I could brush on the color, and then smoosh it around to give it a mottled leather look, making messy and uneven a good thing. (The red was actually a much deeper shade, not so orangey like the picture.) Then, just for fun, I made some medallions to tack into the corners of the squares, to give it a Medieval touch. I had a vintage metal fob, made a mold of it with paperclay, allowing me to replicate it, and I stuck upholstery tacks in the copies before they hardened. After painting them to coordinate with the wall squares, they were ready to stick into the wall. Voila!
This picture only shows a portion of the entire foyer I painted, so imagine double the amount of squares. These were painted floor to ceiling, on 10' high walls, making each square 30". I realize this look would be too bold for the average homeowner, but I just like to remind people how fabulous and versatile paint can be........and yes, I used 2 or 3 coats of primer to cover it up when I moved. Oh, what would I do without primer!?