How to plan a feature wall

We've pulled together all of our top tips for curating the perfect feature wall in your home; from patterned wallpaper to complimentary furniture

Woodland bedroom feature wall

Feature walls are still a huge trend in interiors, both as a quick update and an easy way to inject colour, pattern and personality into a room. There are lots of other benefits too. One great thing about accent walls is that they encourage homeowners to experiment with pattern – cladding one wall with a statement paper can feel less daunting than the whole room. It’s also an easy way to cover any imperfections on the focal wall of a room.

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Children's bedroom with chalk wall

Without having to paper every wall, accent walls are a cost-effective way to update décor for those on a budget. There’s less paper strip too, so less work when it’s time for a refresh.

In smaller spaces, using a dark wallpaper on one wall can trick the eye as the colour registers in the brain as being further away and makes the space feel larger.

The big question now is… which wall?

The first step to a feature wall is selecting the best wall to cover, and these steps should make it an easy job.


Find a focus

The ideal position for a feature wall is where people naturally focus their attention. Often this is opposite the doorway – the first wall they see on entering the room.

Think about where the eye is drawn. Is there a natural focal point? If so, that’s the best wall to showcase wallpaper.

Brick effect bedroom feature wall
White brick wall effect from Arthouse

Tip: If you want to do something unexpected, jazz up the fifth wall by applying wallpaper or colour to the ceiling.


Play to strengths

It’s important to think about what currently works well in the room (and what doesn’t). If there’s a fireplace or mantel already demanding attention, a feature wall can be used to exaggerate this – like how a picture frame sets off a work of art.

Botanical green living room feature wall
Botanical tropical leaves wallpaper from Grandeco

Conversely, if a wall is particularly busy with windows, alcoves and radiators, these elements will compete with the wallpaper, interrupting the design and leaving less surface area for pattern. It’s also harder to apply the paper around these architectural features.


Lay the room out for impact

How furniture is laid out within the room is another consideration – a statement piece of furniture might benefit from a feature wall behind it to draw attention to that area.

Green foliage feature wallpaper
Botanical leaf jungle wallpaper from Erismann

Beware falling into the trap of overcrowding a feature wall with furniture and accessories or it will feel cluttered and confusing.


Light and shade

A dark feature wall in a gloomier part of the room will be covered by shadows, obscuring the wallpaper design, as can harsh light coming in through a window. For optimum light conditions, choose a wall that enjoys a balance of natural light.


Which wallpaper?

There isn’t really a bad wallpaper for a feature wall. It’s down to personal preference and the kind of look homeowners are trying to achieve.

When choosing a patterned paper think about the size of the room in relation to the scale of the design. A large print can be overpowering in a smaller room, while ditzy designs can get lost in larger spaces.

Floral mural feature wall
Dreer’s large flowering mural from Surface View

Murals work brilliantly as accent walls – beach views and cityscapes can create a real room with a view feel. Geometrics are another effective feature wall design – available in varying scales to create impact and give the room a retro vibe.

Be brave with colour but match the remaining walls to one of the tones in the paper. This will tie the scheme together. Or why not try combining two complementary wallpapers within a space?

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There are some brilliant hyper-realistic wood, brick and stone effect wallpapers, and when using these, there is scope to include more accessories to dress the wall as the design won’t fight for attention.

Timber log effect feature wallpaper
Log effect wallpaper from Rasch