"Wall-to-Wall" is an old term deriving from the once astonishing idea, born approximately in the 1920s, that a rug could actually cover a room entirely, rather than be surrounded by a wood border.
In due time the term became part of our daily lives. As our room sizes shrank, we no longer had room for the wood border. And wall-to-wall carpeting meant everything could be carpeted, a concept that gave continuity to space as well as seeming to stretch the square-footage of every room:
Wall-to-wall today, however, is a concept that also applies to any other decorating idea that covers a space completely from one wall to the next.
Wall-to-wall art - framed prints, posters or one enormous canvas - can cover a whole wall.
Wall-to-wall coverings can include anything, from conventional draperies that actually cover an entire wall and its windows, to vertical blinds or bamboo shades - anything that treats a window wall as a single entity.
Wall-to-wall shelving that covers an entire wall is a fabulous room treatment, provided you have the books, records, stereo speakers and objets d'art to fill the shelves.
Wall-to-wall upholstered seating units that join with one another to turn covers can fill an entire room. The idea is to stretch a room by using every inch of available wall or floor space.
A perfect example of a total built-in was a teen-age boy's room I designed. Its dimensions were laughable - really just a large closet. It probably had been originally a covered back porch.
To fit in storage, sleeping and work components, I designed everything wall-to-wall. I started out with a shelf across the width of the back of the room. On part of this rests two chests of drawers. The balance of the shelf is a night table. Immediately next to it is the bed, which, being 75 inches long, the distance between two of the walls, is an instant wall-to-wall component. To make the bed seem more inviting as a built-in, I used my pillows at both ends, softening the look of the walls.
Over the shelf is a large, handsome hanging light fixture, which illuminates the rear wall of the room and also acts as a bed lamp.
Behind the door to the room are five shelves - four shallow ones for books, and one deeper one, at bed level, for a stereo and records. This shelf grows at right angles and becomes a night table and a seat for the work table, hung under the window.