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Create a feature wall

For day-to-day living - and certainly if you need to sell your home – neutral walls just make sense. Creams, oatmeals and the palest pastels, they’re easy to live with, inoffensive and create a fresh, clean finish. But sometimes sensible just feels a bit, well, plain. If you want to make more of a statement, a feature wall may be the answer. Just choose your focal point, add a stronger, more vibrant colour and, for minimum effort, you really can have maximum impact.


Why have a feature wall?
Within a neutral colour scheme, a feature wall injects personality and excitement without overpowering the rest of the room and you can be more experimental and daring with colour without committing to one shade throughout. A feature wall is also a quick and easy way to change the mood of your living space - good news for those with colour commitment issues who are constantly wanting to redecorate - and it’s ideal for defining an area within an open-plan room.

Choosing the best wall to feature
As a basic rule, choose a wall that’s as plain as possible, without doors or windows that will break up the flow of colour. Alcoves, fire surrounds and chimneybreasts can also work well. It may seem obvious, but adding high-impact colour will draw attention to your chosen wall – so is it worth showing off? Does it have beautiful architectural features or interesting angles? Alternatively, you may just want a blank canvas to play with colour.

Colour schemes made easy
As with any room scheme, choose your palette carefully. If you need inspiration, look at the fabrics, furniture, artwork or rugs that you already have and pick out a shade you like or that will unite the others in the room. Alternatively, consult a colour wheel for the tones that go well together. For a harmonious finish, choose complementary shades that are different intensities of the same basic colour. For a more dramatic effect, pick out colours that sit opposite each other on the wheel, for example yellow and violet.

Most people think of a feature wall as taking a darker shade, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Stronger, deeper colours will make your feature wall appear closer, which is useful if you want to make a long room seem squarer. Lighter tones will make the wall seem further away and create more of a sense of space. To test out your chosen colour before you splash it on the wall, paint a piece of A3 paper and hold it up at different times of the day to see how it looks as the light in the room changes.

Paint isn’t your only option
There is more than one way to get creative on your feature wall – paint is just one alternative. Boldly patterned wallpaper can look fantastic, from vintage designs to contemporary flights of fancy, or if you’re feeling really creative why not try a retro mural, a mosaic or a dramatic light fitting? You don’t have to cover the whole wall to turn it into a feature either. Try hanging beautiful fabric or a striking oversize photograph or painting and you’ll create just as much impact – and they’re much easier to change as the mood takes you.

Create your own wall
If you have a large room and want to divide it into separate areas, you can add a decorative feature wall to create different zones within that space. And no – we don’t mean building one out of bricks and mortar. Buy good quality shelving units or wooden cubes that can be used to create a freestanding wall – perfect for displaying vases, ornaments or candles. And because it’s not solid, you can see from one area into the other and keep a sense of lightness and space. An attractive carved wooden or wrought-iron screen can work beautifully too.