A feature wall — sometimes called an accent wall — is the surface in a room picked to stand out. Its purpose is to be the focal point of the room; the space that draws the eye. Any room can have a feature wall, but they’re usually found in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.
Creating this feature can be as simple as painting one wall a different color than the rest, or as complex as installing a wall full of bookshelves. It can be pricey or relatively inexpensive.
There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to feature walls. What they become is entirely up to you. Keep in mind that the wall will be a reflection of your taste and your eye for decor. Plant lovers may consider a vertical garden to showcase their green thumb. It definitely draws the eye, but a wall like this will require constant attention. Think about the time you spend mowing and caring for your lawn and garden. A vertical planter will take just as much time.
Some believe the feature wall was born in cities where old buildings were re-purposed into modern living spaces. Decorators discovered that leaving one well-aged brick wall exposed gave a room a homey and nostalgic charm. Brick is still popular for feature walls and the absence of actual brick isn’t even a deterrent! Easy-to-apply wall coverings or wallpaper now replicate the look in vinyl, panels and other materials.
Design manufacturers offer nearly every look you can imagine, from beadboard to rustic shingles and scenic landscapes. Some vinyl coverings even replicate full-wall bookcases complete with old leather-bound books! With so many possibilities, you should consider your options carefully. You can start here with these accent wall ideas.
Here are five questions you should ask before creating a stunning feature wall:
- Which wall should get the make-over? Generally, you have four to choose from. The best is usually the wall that draws the eye as soon as you enter the room because of its size or placement. A wall tucked away from sight may not be the best choice and isn’t worth the time and investment.
- Is the room actually a good candidate? Small spaces, such as a tiny bedroom, may be overwhelmed by a feature wall. But a wall in a child’s room might be ideal for a coat of chalkboard paint. Then they can do their own decorating!
- Is your feature wall going to get lost in the crowd? Rooms that are overly busy with furniture and knick-knacks may lessen the wall’s visual impact. Consider rearranging things or getting rid of some of the clutter. On the other hand, with careful planning, some things — a fireplace or even a large TV — can be worked into the scheme.
- What works for you? A wall with a bold contrasting color might look great, but a subtle shade might be appealing, too. When making your choice, remember: you’re the one who has to live with it every day!
- What are you willing to spend? Used brick with a touch of old mortar might truly be stunning, but so can the cost of materials and labor! Chances are you can find alternative treatments that achieve the same effect at a fraction of the cost.
Feature walls can be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. They can act as visual separators in rooms that have multiple purposes. For example, many homes have combination living-dining rooms. A feature wall can subtly delineate them. Likewise, they can turn a portion of your bedroom into a reading nook.
Go online and get some ideas. Keep in mind that styles change. If your project involves more paint and wall covering than demolition and construction, it will be easy to change when the time comes for redecorating.