For some, the feature wall is hopelessly out-of-date but for others, it’s a foolproof way to add style and personality to a space. So who’s right?
Many people don’t know how to do a feature wall well, so what we often see reinforces the view that feature walls should be left in the past. Yet in some homes, a feature wall looks stunning and sets off the room perfectly. What makes feature walls dated or desirable?
Here are three reasons for and against to consider.
When are feature walls desirable?
1. Feature walls that create a focal point
Feature walls work best when they’re used to highlight an interesting or architectural detail in a room – like a fireplace or an asymmetrical wall. They can also give a room without any architectural features a focal point, for example, behind the TV in the living room or behind a headboard in the bedroom. The main point is that the eye should be drawn to only one spot in the room.
2. Feature walls to zone open plan spaces
In a large open-plan area, a feature wall is an ideal way to separate and define the space into two. Great examples of this can be a living and dining area or a guest room and work space. Make sure you choose the wall in the one area you want to define from the rest and where there is something worth drawing attention to. Use a colour that will complement the rest of the room and its furnishings.
3. Feature walls that add an illusion of space
Feature walls are a great way to change the shape of a room that is too wide or narrow. Painting one wall a darker colour makes it visually recede and adds the illusion of depth. Be careful though as this can also make a room look smaller. Midnight blues, stormy greys and matte blacks can all fake depth and look amazing in any room, while feature walls in soft cool pastels can do the trick in bright sun-soaked rooms.
What makes feature walls look outdated?
1. When you don’t need a feature wall
A feature wall can be the first thing you see when you walk into a room and can distract you from everything else around it. Sometimes a piece of art or a gallery wall of smaller pieces can infuse your home with more style and visual interest than a feature wall. Not every home or room needs a feature wall. If you do opt for one, accessories and soft furnishings in a cohesive colour palette will create continuity in other rooms throughout the house.
2. Don’t be ‘trendy’ for the sake of it
While a feature wall can be a great option if you think a colour will be too overwhelming for the entire room, don’t opt for one just because you’re afraid to do the entire room in a particular colour. Trying to incorporate a trendy pop of colour in a room for the sake of it can look out of place, date quickly and make a room feel smaller and unbalanced.
3. Your space is too busy
Avoid putting a feature wall in an already crowded, bold or busy room. When there is too much going on in a space, it can be confusing to the eye and create a sense of clutter. A feature wall should be a highlight, so it needs room to breathe.
The verdict on feature walls
So are feature walls dated or desirable? The answer is – it depends. If a feature wall is used correctly you can create a desirable space, but when trying to shoe-horn a feature wall into a space because you want one, or think it will add a bit of colour – you could end up making a mistake.
3 quick tips to NOT making a feature wall mistake
1. When you walk into the room where does your eye naturally go first?
2. Take time to consider the options. A feature wall may not be the answer.
3. If at all unsure, seek the advice of a professional to reduce any costly mistakes.
You can probably see why it can be difficult to make feature walls work and the result can go either way! If you would like to incorporate a feature wall but you are not confident in creating it, seek the advice of a professional.