Living room feature wall ideas – design inspiration to make a statement

Add standout style to your living room with a bold splash of colour and pattern to draw attention to a feature area
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  • When looking for inspiration for living room feature wall ideas, wallpaper isn’t the only way to add wow. Sure, a statement wallpaper in a bold colour or flamboyant floral will make instant impact and look fantastic, but there are plenty of other ways to get creative if you’re faced with a featureless living room.

    Wall art is an easy way to turn a plain wall into a focal point – and is easy to rearrange if you fancy a change later on. Or if your living room idea is lacking in architectural details, why not try creating a faux feature with DIY panelling or a decorative paint effect.

    Living room feature wall ideas

    No matter what your decor style, feature walls are a great way of adding extra visual interest if your living room is looking a little lacklustre. They’re also great for small living room ideas to introduce pattern and colour without overpowering the space. While bold patterns and vibrant colours are impactful, calmer colours and neutrals can look every bit as eye-catching on a feature wall. Or consider adding shelving so you can work in colour and texture with ornaments, artwork or greenery.

    1. Make a bold statement

    living room with green and teal sofa feature wall and teal art deco patterned wallpaper and panelled walls

    Image credit: Sofology

    If you’re willing to push the boat out decoratively, you can combine lots of different effects to make a stunning style statement with your living room wall decor ideas. Be inspired by the latest living room trends, and work them into your scheme. Bethan Harwood, Partner & Home Design Stylist at John Lewis agrees. ‘When I see a room with one strong, dominant wall,’ she says, ‘I’m itching to change up the other elements to balance it and bring the room together.’ Here, architectural features like panelling have been combined with a striking wallpaper design and paint for maximalist feature style.

    2. Paint a stylish mural

    living room detail of painted mural in soft pink graphic shapes

    Image credit: Crown

    ‘Today’s feature wall can take many forms, shapes, textures, patterns and materials,’ explains Crown Colour Consultant, Justyna Korczynska. ’Using paint is still one of the quickest and easiest ways to create a feature wall.’ Start by considering the colour themes you already have: if you want a subtle, calming space, then choose something complementary, while contrasting colours work best for impact.’

    Murals make for a super stylish feature wall, especially in a modern living room idea. If you’re handy with a paintbrush, why not look at your wall as a blank canvas and design your own mural using a selection of three to four paint colours?

    3. Channel a monochrome look

    living room and balck sofa with feature wall gallery wall of monochrome pictures and frames

    Image credit: Desenio

    Calming, yet effortlessly striking, a monochrome scheme can create impact without feeling too overpowering. A monochrome gallery wall is also a guaranteed winner if you’re looking to create a striking feature wall as every piece is tied together effortlessly using the unified colour scheme. Create your own by building up a collection of prints and frames on the same theme for chic hotel style, mounting with the same gap between each.

    Furthermore, a black and white gallery wall is also the ideal way to make your TV blend into your scheme. ‘Feature walls draw the eye, so it usually makes sense to zone in on the wall that already has a lot going on,’ says Lisa Honiball at Honey Interior Design. ‘None of us want the big black box that is the TV to be the feature; luckily there are ways to conceal it.’ Try incorporating your flat screen TV into a picture gallery as a way to hide a TV. Or better still, invest in Samsung’s The Frame TV which displays artwork when in standby mode.

    4. Frame a busy wallpaper design

    Grey living room with wallpaper feature wall and grey sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young

    Love the idea of wallpapered living room feature wall ideas, but worried they may overpower your room? Dilute the look ever-so-slightly by framing your living room wallpaper idea alongside plain painted walls. Choose a shade that features within the wallpaper pattern for a coordinated effect.

    The addition of a low floating shelf will further reduce that floor-to-ceiling look, providing extra storage without pulling focus from the patterned wall. Keep living room curtain ideas neutral so the look isn’t too busy.

    5. Try some texture with exposed stone

    Dark brown stone tiling behind a wooden sideboard

    Image credit: Porcelain Superstore

    For a lasting effect that makes an instant impact, exposed brick or stone walls can’t be beaten. They add a layer of texture that is far more inviting that a plain white wall, while lending an industrial vibe to a scheme. Consider using them on a chimney breast to highlight a living room fireplace idea.

    Exposed stone walls do come with a caveat though. Unlike paint and wallpaper, which can be easily replaced, you shouldn’t commit to it unless you’re really sold on the idea. Bethan Harwood, Partner & Home Design Stylist at John Lewis agrees. ‘Exposed brick and stone walls make a room feel lived-in’, she explains, ‘but one can take a lot of maintenance and are difficult to update when redecorating.’

    6. Build out your chimney breast for a whole new look

    Built out storage and below dado panelling in a white living room

    Image credit: Future/Dominic Blackmore

    A clever way to conceal an unused chimney breast is to build it out and transform it into a feature wall. Extend the chimney breast either side to
    create a false feature that includes clever shelf cubby living room storage. Adding panelling to the newly extended wall makes an instant feature of this new area.

    ‘Panelling is a great way to add a subtle feature,’ suggests Bethan Harwood at John Lewis, ‘while allowing you to zone sections of a large room.’ Vertical panelling is a great choice as it draws the eye upwards and visually lifts the room. Once installed, you can paint it whatever colour you choose.

    7. Create instant drama with bold colour

    living room and console table with brightly painted panelled walls

    Image credit: Crown

    ‘Paint effects have moved on from ombre or patterned walls to colour blocking and mimicking traditional dado and picture rails,’ explains Bethan Harwood, at John Lewis. ‘Colour blocking is a great way to highlight – or feature – areas of the room, such as a cosy corner or framing a sofa area. You can be creative as often it’s just a smaller area of paint. Try injecting splashes of yellow or taking the colour blocking from the feature wall, up and over the ceiling.’

    8. Put up a picture gallery

    Cream living room gallery wall in pastel shades

    Image credit: Habitat

    Fill empty wall space behind the best sofa with a gallery of favourite art work. Instead of a random mix of colours, give your display a more cohesive feel by choosing pictures, frames and mounts that complement each other. Paint walls a toning shade so that the background brings out the colours of your art.

    For an informal display like this, choose artwork in a range of sizes. To work out the best picture layout for your gallery wall idea, try cutting paper templates out first and attaching to the wall with Blutak. You can then play around with the arrangement until completely happy with it.

    9. Paint vertical stripes

    Blue living room with blue and green vertical striped wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    When thinking about how to design a living room, give a featureless wall some decorative detail with a simple colour-block treatment. Keep to two colours of a similar tone for a subtle, understated look, painting one large panel in the centre of your wall, with two narrower panels, one at each end.

    Separate your coloured panels by painting narrow bands of white in-between to create a dividing line. Use low-tack painter’s tape to give a crisp line.

    To enhance your colourful living room paint idea. Add cushions and soft furnishings in complementary tones with bolder pops of pink and yellow here and there.

    10. Give panelling a modern twist

    Glam living room with navy painted wall panelling and green velvet sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson

    Add architectural detail to a plain living room by installing timber wall panelling ideas over one wall. Paint woodwork a flat, matt eggshell finish, continuing the colour on skirting, architrave and doors to create a rich immersive feel throughout.

    Break up dark tones by adding statement artwork. One oversized canvas or large framed print will add more impact than several smaller pieces. Choose pale colours that complement soft furnishings with metallic accents to add sparkle.

    11. Line a wall with floating shelves

    White living room with wall to wall floating shelves and an l-shaped navy sofa

    Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young

    Combine a feature wall with smart living room storage ideas. A stack of floating shelves run wall-to-wall will give an abundance of display space for artwork, picture frames, books and decorative pieces.

    If you’re worried that a long run of open shelving might look untidy, separate shelves into sections by placing items in groups of three or five. Add height to displays by using a short stack of books to raise up smaller pieces.

    12. Try a chic half-painted wall

    Living room half painted wall in off white and brown with a grey sofa

    Image credit: Sofa.com

    Get a hit of bolder colour without committing to a whole room redo by trying a half-and-half paint treatment on a feature wall. A rich, warm colour on the lower section of wall will make a cosy backdrop for a sofa or a decorative piece like a sideboard or cabinet. So if creating a cosy living room idea is high on your wishlist, this is the way to do it.

    An easy way of updating a white or neutral room, a half-painted wall with a darker colour at the bottom (and paler colour at the top) will also create the illusion of height in a living room with low ceilings. How to paint a two tone wall is easier than you think, so give it a go!

    13. Create a wall of greenery

    House plant wall planters fixed in a grid on the wall above a bright green sofa in a white living room

    Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore

    Revitalise a tired living room by adding an indoor living wall. House plant ideas and greenery not only add colour but can boost air quality and well-being too so they are winners when it comes to living room feature wall ideas. Just choose ferns and succulents that don’t require frequent watering.

    Use the wall behind a sofa or a sideboard for your display. Pocket planters that are attached to the wall on brackets make a great alternative to wall art. Display in multiples of three or five to fill the space above furniture in a block effect.

    14. Paint a statement border

    A cream armchair with a tartan cushion next to an indoor palm plant

    Image credit: Dulux

    Try a two-tone treatment on the wall behind a sofa and paint a bold border stripe mid-way across the wall. Continuing the stripe over a bookcase or a door creates an eye-catching effect that adds even more ‘wow’. This is a great trick when thinking about decorating the wall behind a sofa.

    Try this effect in a dark-coloured room by painting the stripe in a paler colour. Or try the reverse effect in a light room, by opting for a darker colour for your stripe.

    15. Go dark with a dusky paint colour

    Living room with plum wall and red velvet sofa

    Image credit: Dulux

    Make a statement by painting a feature wall in an ultra dark on-trend paint shade. Choose a flat, matt paint in a velvety finish that will make a plush backdrop for a living room sofa and furniture and take colour floor-to-ceiling for an immersive feel.

    Try dark shades of plum or damson in a living room to create a super-cosy effect. Avoid strong contrasts to keep the mood mellow, bringing in touches of rich raspberry, soft grey and olive green, with accents of warm gold and brass to add contrast on artwork and furniture. Statement living room lighting ideas will add an extra wow element to the scheme.

    16. Run shelving wall to wall

    Living room with green wallpaper and shelf, and a teal velvet sofa

    Image credit: Sofa.com

    A patterned wallpaper is perfect for living room feature wall ideas, but adding a single run of living room shelving will take the look up a level. Paint shelving a complementary colour so that it blends in with your wallpaper design and display family photos, artwork and favourite ornaments in a cheery mix of colours.

    Hang the shelf at eye level (when standing up) and choose a slimline design or narrow picture ledge so that anyone sitting on the sofa won’t knock their head as they get up.

    17. Play with scale

    Large dark floral mural on the wall behind a blue velvet cocktail sofa

    Image credit: Sofa.com

    Supersize a favourite floral print and repeat it on a floor-to-ceiling mural to give a living room feature wall the wow factor. Paint adjoining walls in the same dark background colour to make your feature wall really zing.

    Choose plush velvet upholstery for sofa or sofa bed and armchairs in complementary dusky tones. A dark winter floral like this looks great teamed with rich garnet, midnight blue and dusky plum.

    18. Create an easy-change picture gallery

    Yellow living room wall with yellow picture ledges lined with smart black and white framed art and decorative accessories

    Image credit: Neptune

    Line a living room wall with narrow picture ledges that can be filled with favourite prints or framed family photographs. It’s a great addition to a family living room idea. Shelves are super-easy to rearrange if you have new additions or simply fancy a change at a later date.

    Paint shelves to match your walls for a chic look – it’ll make art work stand out more. Add further interest by layering in a few small ornaments here and there to fill in any gaps between pictures.

    19. Use feature stripes to widen a wall

    Living room with black and white striped wallpaper and blue velvet chesterfield sofa

    Image credit: Sofa.com

    Go bold with extra-wide stripes across one wall of a living room. Horizontal stripes will make the wall appear wider – perfect for small living rooms. Vertical stripes (both wide and narrow) have the opposite effect and will help make a wall look longer and higher.

    For a chic scheme, choose monochrome striped wallpaper. Black and white looks ultra smart teamed with just a few accent accessories in bold primary colours.

    Which wall should be a feature wall in a living room?

    Living room feature wall ideas can be used to highlight a living room’s existing focal point, such as the wall where a fireplace sits or where the TV is positioned. So when thinking about how to arrange living room furniture, you can use a feature wall to help you. Alternatively, a feature wall can be used to create a backdrop for a statement piece – such as a sofa or sideboard – with a bold colour or standout pattern used to draw attention to the item.

    Size-wise it makes sense for a feature wall to be used over a larger area to have maximum impact, so avoid them in very small rooms, where the effect might be too overpowering. In open-plan spaces, feature walls are a great trick for zoning the space – a painted panel or feature wallpaper can act as a visual divide and make the perfect break-out spot for a seating area or study space.

    What do you put on a feature wall?

    Generally speaking, paint is the easiest option, whether it’s block colour all over or a paint effect, such as stripes or painted panels. Wallpaper is another popular choice – while a bold floral or flamboyant pattern might be overpowering used wall-to-wall, a small amount in a key area can give the perfect hit of pattern.

    Tactile feature walls are another option, from traditional wooden panelling and reclaimed timber boards to walls clad in tiles, slate, marble or stone.

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