Feature walls are a simple yet high impact way to transform any room in your home. Take a look at our 10 best ideas to add a dramatic focal point to a space, from shimmering metallic and bird-inspired wallpapers to shiplap-style cladding and simple paint effects.
Feature walls provide a canvas for trying out a colour or a design on a small scale that you would never go for on a larger one. For this reason, feature walls can be little blasts of colour, pattern, sheen and shine that can bring a truly individual style to any room in your home.
Choose your feature wall with care. Chimney breasts are the obvious choice because they tend to be set centrally within a space and are likely to already be the focal point of a room, particularly if they have a fire fitted. Decorate the front face only or the sides too.
If you don’t have a chimney breast, pick out a single wall instead. Think about the furniture in your room and how it will look once your feature colour or design is in place. You may find it best to go for an emptier side of the room, or one that features a doorway or window for added interest.
In a smaller or busy space, try giving just a section of wall over to a feature treatment. This can work particularly well in a corner. Mask off carefully if painting, or define the space by adding a hard edge, such as an architrave.
Paint and wallpaper are the most popular and simpler choices for creating a feature wall. Go for contrasting colours and bold designs for impact, or toning shades and muted patterns for a gentler approach. Pick out any featured colours and include them in soft furnishings or accessories so that the feature wall is part of a cohesive design scheme. There are lots of tromp l’oeil wallpaper designs around, giving you the look of panelling or book shelves without having to resort to carpentry.
If you don’t want to be too bold when it comes to paint colour, why not use a paler shade but apply it in a different way – paint it in a strip horizontally or vertically or continue the paint over woodwork or up over a section of ceiling.
Don’t overlook real tongue-and-groove panelling as an option and consider using decorative accessories to make a wall different. Try hanging mirrors or picture frames and make those the feature.
The joy of a feature wall is that you can try out wallpapers, paints, finishes and accessories that might normally be outside your budget because you are only buying small quantities.
For more colour inspiration, check out our brilliant bedroom paint ideas gallery.
Create a feature wall the easy way – with paint. In this smart living room, powder blue transforms the front face of a chimney breast. The introduction of a contrasting colour also helps to foreground existing features, such as the alcove shelving either side and the geometric rug in front.
Make an entertaining space special with a pictorial wallpaper design. A dining room is perfect for a touch of flamboyance and just applying it to a single wall allows you to be even more daring. Plum and damson shades seem eminently suited to dining spaces. Look for a design whose colour can tones with the surroundings, while its pattern adds drama.
Feature walls don’t have to be papered. For a modern look in a bathroom, consider wood panelling and hang it horizontally rather than vertically for a smart shiplap effect. Pick a paint shade that will produce an evenly balanced scheme when teamed with white sanitaryware. This monochrome look matches feature wall to flooring for a seamless transition.
Use paint to add interest in a small room. This attic bedroom wall features blue paint from dado height down and it even runs across door and woodwork. Where space is at a premium and pattern might be a little overwhelming, a block of solid colour like this can instantly uplift the mood and applying it in an unusual way adds a touch of fun, too. The blue contrast helps to foreground the wallpaper-lined shelves as a special feature.
Create a room with a view by hanging a mural in your bedroom. The area above a headboard is often a blanck canvas, so why not let it bring in a decorative touch? This pretty woodland scene with its glinting sunshine makes a plain bedroom extra special. Pick out colours from the mural on bed linen and accessories, such as the lovely blues, greens and floral motifs of the duvet cover, pillowcases and cushions shown here.
In a home dominated by neutrals, pick out an expanse of wall that can really make a pattern shine. Keep the tone neutral, but go big with the floral and look for a low metallic sheen for a hint of glamour that still keeps everything sophisticated and subtle. In this bedroom, the positioning of an old trunk in a bold blue accent helps draw the eye to the wall.
Foreground a favourite piece of furniture by hanging an eye-catching wallpaper behind it. This hallway has been transformed with a palm-print design in luscious blue/green and the introduction of tropical yellow accents on accessories. The retro sideboard is a smart statement piece and the geometric-design rug channels another recent interiors trend.
Cole & Son
Bring a rustic touch to a living room with wood cladding-effect wallpaper on a single wall. This design has been hung vertically, helping to visually enhance the ceiling height and open up the space. The sunny honeycomb tones create the perfect backdrop for the warm feel of exposed timber – even the faux version. Rattan wall mirrors and cotton and linen fabrics celebrate the beauty of natural materials, creating a toning, relaxing living area.
Use framed photographs to create a feature wall. In this lovely dining room, the chimney breast has been turned into a mini gallery, creating a focal point without having to bring in a contrasting paint colour or wallpaper. Use a combination of different sized frames, but keep the colour and style of them the same for a cohesive and uniform display. Decide on a theme and a style for the photographs or images you are framing, such as black and white landscapes or retro postcards.
Similar dining table
The narrowest section of wall can become a showcase for a beautiful, decorative wallpaper design. The wall behind this armchair has architraves either side, a picture rail above and skirting below, creating a made-to-measure framing device that shows off a single width of eau-de-nil birds-in-flight wallpaper to perfection. The placement of the chair in front turns an ordinary corner into a warm and cosy fireside reading nook.
When in doubt, pare things right back to the bare bones. An exposed brick wall makes a relaxed, rustic statement that’s both confident and striking.
Desk lamp Conran Shop
A blown up floral print creates real drama over a fireplace, and makes a great alternative to a more predictable over-mantel mirror.
Wisteria wallpaper (in alcove), Cole & Son