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A Complete Guide to Feature Walls

Why Create a Feature Wall?

“Feature walls are still a huge trend in interiors as a quick update and to inject colour, pattern and personality into a room. There are lots of other benefits too.

“One great thing about accent walls is that they encourage homeowners to experiment with pattern – papering one wall with a statement paper can feel less daunting than the whole room.

“It’s also an easy way to cover any imperfections on the focal wall of a room.

“Without having to paper every wall, accent walls are a cost-effective way to update decor for those on a budget. There’s less paper strip too, so less work when it’s time for a refresh.

“In smaller spaces using a dark wallpaper on one wall can trick the eye.  The darker shade registers in the brain as being further away making the space feel larger.”


Which Wall?

The first step to a feature wall is selecting the best wall to cover and these four easy steps should make it an easy job.


  • Find a Focus

The ideal position for a feature wall is where people naturally focus their attention. Often this is opposite the doorway – the first wall they see on entering the room.

Think about where the eye is drawn. Is there a natural focal point? If so, that’s the best wall to showcase wallpaper.


  • Play to Strengths

It’s important to think about what currently works well in the room (and what doesn’t).

If there’s a fireplace or mantel already demanding attention, a feature wall can be used to exaggerate this – similar to how a picture frame sets off a work of art.

Conversely, if a wall is particularly busy i.e. with windows, alcoves and radiators these elements will compete with the wallpaper, interrupting the design and leaving less surface area for pattern.  It’s also harder to apply the paper around these architectural features.


  • Lay the Room Out for Impact

How furniture is laid out within the room is another consideration –a statement piece of furniture might benefit from a feature wall behind it to draw attention to that area.

Beware falling into the trap of overcrowding a feature wall with furniture and accessories or it will feel cluttered and confusing.


  • Light and Shade

A dark feature wall in a gloomier part of the room will be covered by shadows, obscuring the wallpaper design, as can harsh light coming in through a window.

For optimum light conditions choose a wall that enjoys a balance of natural light.

Accent Wallpaper – Which to Choose and How to Apply it

“There isn’t really a bad wallpaper for a feature wall, it’s really down to personal preference and the kind of look homeowners are trying to achieve.

“When choosing a patterned paper think about the size of the room in relation to the scale of the design.  An oversized print can overpower smaller room, where ditzy designs can get lost in larger spaces.

“Murals work brilliantly as accent walls – beach views and cityscapes creating a real room with a view.

“Geometrics are another effective feature wall design – available in varying scales for impact and a retro vibe.

“Be brave with colour but match the remaining walls to one of the tones in the paper.  This will tie the scheme together.  Or why not try combining two complementary wallpapers within a space?

“There are some brilliant hyper-realistic wood, brick and stone effect wallpapers and when using these there is scope to include more accessories to dress the wall, as the design won’t fight for attention.

“Jazz up the fifth wall by applying wallpaper or colour to the ceiling.”

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