Are you still unsure about wallpapering your room? Or have you found the perfect pattern but you think it’ll look too "busy" on all four walls of your room? Why not create a feature or accent wall instead? Read on to learn more about how to use wallpaper on a feature wall and get some feature wall ideas for your future projects!
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- What is a feature (or accent) wall?
- How to choose a feature wall
- How to choose the right wallpaper for a feature wall
- Wallpaper styles for a feature wall
What is a feature (or accent) wall?
A "feature wall" is a term used to describe a wall that stands out because they are different when compared to the other walls in the room. Often, this wall is the spotlight of the room’s design, garnering the most attention. An alternative name that is used interchangeably is "accent wall." While a room can have more than one feature wall, it is usually best to stick with one so that it can be the main focus of the design. If this is your first time working with a feature wall, simplify things by focusing on one wall.
One of the most common ways to create a feature wall is putting a wallpaper pattern on the main wall while painting the other three in a complementary colour. Alternatively, some designers like to use a small-scale or plain pattern on the other walls. The key idea should be to choose patterns and colours that work well with the feature wall and other elements in the room, such as the furniture.
How to choose a feature wall
The first step in wallpapering a feature wall isn't the wallpaper - it's selecting which wall you're going to feature. Choosing which wall should be featured is an important step since it can make or break the design of the room. The tricky part is that some of these recommendations below conflict with each other, so it’s extremely important that you consider your room usage and size, and what you want to achieve with your feature wall. Take a look at your space and consider the following:
The wall opposite the door: When visitors enter the room, they will immediately see the feature wall in front of them. Making a visual impact straight off the bat will help set the atmosphere for the room.
Sightline: When occupying the room, which direction will you and your guests look at most of the time? In the living room, this might be the wall behind the TV, opposite the couch. In a powder room, it’s most likely the wall behind the sink and mirror.
The wall that compliments your current room design: An example of incorporating the feature wall into the room design would be putting up wallpaper directly behind your bed’s headboard. Since the main focus in a bedroom is usually the bed, featuring the wall behind it helps emphasize that particular area. This option might conflict with the sightline levels from the previous tip, so it’s up to you to determine which design technique is more important to you.
In the image above, the standalone wall separating the dining area from the living room has been made into a feature wall. This makes sense since it highlights the unique set-up of the room. On the other side, the dining room has a secondary feature wall that helps add a burst of colour and contrasts the predominantly white colour scheme of the living room.
The largest wall: Wallpapering the largest wall in a room will maximize its impact. The main benefit with using a large wall is that you can be more creative with it. In the image below, the Beige Spring wallpaper is bordered on either side by two plain wallpapers to create an interesting visual juxtaposition.
Last things to consider when choosing a feature wall:
Be sure to think about what you want to achieve with your feature wall – whether you want it to be the center of attention, or help compliment other design aspects in your room. Does the wall location make sense from a visual and design standpoint? Think about how the wallpaper on the feature wall interacts with the other walls in the room, especially if you’re thinking about painting them a different colour.
The best way to "test" out wallpapers for your feature wall is to order free samples and visualize how it will look.
How to choose the right wallpaper for a feature wall
The more complex and detailed the pattern is, chances are it’ll be more suitable for a feature wall. Because the wallpaper will only be on a single wall in a room, the pattern has to be strong enough to stand on its own. In other words, it has to be interesting and engaging enough that your eye immediately goes to the feature wall. Both colour and pattern size matter when choosing wallpaper for a feature wall.
The colour for your feature wall can dramatically change the mood of your room. Bolder colours tend to be favoured because they stand out. In addition, wallpaper that is light in colour won’t make an immediate visual impact on the room’s design, unless you’re going for a minimalist effect. If the wallpaper pattern you’ve chosen is white or beige, and the pattern isn’t too noticeable, consider using the wallpaper on all of the walls instead of just one.
In the image above, the metallic gold works perfectly with the deep red colours to create an atmosphere that is elegant, refined, and romantic. This is also an example of using the feature wall to highlight the bed and the surrounding area.
Will you be using a large-scale or small-scale pattern? If a wall has a door, multiple windows, or other large obstructions, there may not be that much space leftover for wallpaper. For example think about the kitchen wall behind the stove and fridge that’s covered with rows of cabinets – not exactly a great choice for a large pattern!
Since wallpaper for a feature wall has to be noticeable and aesthetically pleasing, large-scale patterns need a larger amount of space to be visually effective. Ochre Divine is an example of a large-scale pattern that is best suited for walls with more open space.
On the other hand, you can still create a feature wall that is somewhat covered by other furniture and decor. For instance, a common feature wall in a powder room or bathroom is the wall behind the sink and mirror. Because there is some obstruction going on, this is where wallpaper with a small-scale design would be best suited. An example of this would be the Geometric Black Fan Wallpaper, which could be placed alongside off-white or black painted or wallpapered walls.
The Scratched wallpaper below has a simplistic, plain design and is in white. From a distance, the pattern isn’t very noticeable, so it’s not a good choice for a feature wall. On the other hand, if you were using wallpaper for the "non-feature" walls, then this selection would be the perfect choice to complement the main wallpaper chosen.
Wallpaper styles for a feature wall
Now that we’ve gone through the basics of feature walls, let’s take a look at some patterns that are great choices:
When there are areas of the wall that are protruding like in the image above, wallpapering a smaller section of the wall is a good choice to help put more focus on the wallpapered section. The white sections essentially "frame" the feature wall.
In the example above, the plain wall uses wallpaper that is much darker than the feature wall, which has a dense floral pattern. The colour palette maintains its harmony, as the dark brown colour is similar to the hardwood flooring.
Here is another example of a wall that has different projected layers. On the flip side, the featured wallpaper is used on the outermost layer, which helps frame the drawer and plants in the middle.
Here is an example of a room design that is perfectly coordinated with the orange painted wall matching the geometric wallpaper. Although the striped design on the wallpaper is rather simple, the energetic colour really stands out.
While the majority of the examples so far show feature walls for bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens, you can create a feature wall in other areas as well. In the image above, the main stairs lead right to the red feature wall. The two white panels on either side provide a sense of balance.
Just to recap, here’s a summary of "do’s" and "don’ts" when wallpapering a feature or accent wall:
|Do choose bold colours that stand out. The feature wall is meant to be immediately noticeable. If you decide to use a lighter colour, do make sure the pattern is visible. Plain wallpaper isn’t the best choice for a feature wall.
|Don’t forget that light or neutral colours may not stand out on an individual wall (e.g. white, light beige). Don’t ignore your current room design. Make sure your feature wall colours work well with your décor.
|Do consider patterns that are visually interesting and unique; are large and make an impact; and are complex and detailed.
|Don’t choose plain patterns that are boring or dull. Again, the point of a feature wall is to “wow.”
|Do choose a wall that is prominent and compliments your interior design.
|Don’t just go for the largest wall in the room regardless of its location.
|FINAL NOTES ON FEATURE WALLS
|Do experiment with different wallpaper colours and patterns. Ordering free samples is a great way to avoid disappointment later on!
|Don’t panic! Creating a feature wall doesn’t have to be a stressful process. Since you know your room best, chances are you instinctively know which wall is the idea choice to feature.
Of course, these are only guidelines and the most important thing is that you’re happy with your room!