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Feature walls that make rooms special

Feature walls that make rooms special

Feature walls are simple but high impact ways to transform any room in your home. Take a look at our 10 best ideas to add a dramatic focal point to a space, from shimmering metallic and bird-inspired wallpapers to shiplap-style cladding and simple paint effects.

Feature walls provide a canvas for trying out a colour or a design on a small scale that you would never go for on a larger one. For this reason, feature walls can be little blasts of colour, pattern, sheen and shine that can bring a truly individual style to any room in your home.

Choose your feature wall with care. Chimney breasts are the obvious choice because they tend to be set centrally within a space and are likely to already be the focal point of a room, particularly if they have a fire fitted. Decorate the front face only or the sides too.

If you don't have a chimney breast, pick out a single wall instead. Think about the furniture in your room and how it will look once your feature colour or design is in place. You may find it best to go for an emptier side of the room, or one that features a doorway or window for added interest.

In a smaller or busy space, try giving just a section of wall over to a feature treatment. This can work particularly well in a corner. Mask off carefully if painting, or define the space by adding a hard edge, such as an architrave.

Paint and wallpaper are the most popular and simpler choices for creating a feature wall. Go for contrasting colours and bold designs for impact, or toning shades and muted patterns for a gentler approach. Pick out any featured colours and include them in soft furnishings or accessories so that the feature wall is part of a cohesive design scheme. There are lots of tromp l'oeil wallpaper designs around, giving you the look of panelling or book shelves without having to resort to carpentry.

If you don't want to be too bold when it comes to paint colour, why not use a paler shade but apply it in a different way - paint it in a strip horizontally or vertically or continue the paint over woodwork or up over a section of ceiling.

Don't overlook real tongue-and-groove panelling as an option and consider using decorative accessories to make a wall different. Try hanging mirrors or picture frames and make those the feature.

The joy of a feature wall is that you can try out wallpapers, paints, finishes and accessories that might normally be outside your budget because you are only buying small quantities.

Feature wall with pale blue paint finish (above)

Create a feature wall the easy way - with paint. In this smart living room, powder blue transforms the front face of a chimney breast. The introduction of a contrasting colour also helps to foreground existing features, such as the alcove shelving either side and the geometric rug in front.

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Photograph by Jonathan D Jones

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