Feature Walls: Dated or Desirable?

Feature wall fireplace

Feature Walls: Dated or Desirable?

For some, the painted feature wall is hopelessly out-of-date but for others, it’s a foolproof way to add style and personality to a space. So who’s right? The answer is “it depends”.

Many people don’t know how to do a feature wall well, so what we often see reinforces the view that feature walls should be left in the past. Yet in some homes, a feature wall looks stunning and sets off the room perfectly. What makes feature walls dated or desirable? Here are three reasons for and against to consider.

When are feature walls desirable?


1. To highlight interesting features

Generally, a feature wall should be used with the focal point of the room, not by itself or detracting from the focal point. Feature walls work best when they’re used to highlight an interesting architectural detail, like an asymmetrical wall or a fireplace. They can also give a room without any architectural features a focal point – for example, by highlighting the wall where the TV sits or the wall behind the headboard in a bedroom. The main point is that the eye should be drawn to one spot in the room only.

2. To define a large open plan space

In a large open-plan area, a feature wall is an ideal way to separate and define the space into two – say living and dining. Make sure you choose the wall in the one area you want to define from the rest and where there is something worth drawing attention to. A bold or warm-toned feature wall can serve to create a lively dining room or a cosy conversation corner, as long as the colour you choose complements the rest of the room and its furnishings.

 3. To add the illusion of space

Feature walls are a great way to change the shape of a room that is too wide or narrow. Painting one wall a darker colour makes it visually recede and adds the illusion of depth. Be careful though as this can also make a room look smaller (read on to see why). Midnight blues, stormy greys and matte blacks can all fake depth and look amazing in any room, while feature walls in soft cool pastels can do the trick in bright sun-soaked rooms.

Feature walls desirable

This feature wall adds depth and highlights the wall panelling and timber cabinet.


What makes feature walls look dated?


1. Your walls don’t need to be the focal point

A feature wall can be the first thing you see when you walk into a room and can distract you from everything else around it. Sometimes a piece of art or a gallery wall of smaller pieces can infuse your home with more style and visual interest than a feature wall. Not every home or room needs a feature wall.  If you do opt for one, accessories and soft furnishings in a cohesive colour palette will create continuity in other rooms throughout the house.

2. You want a trendy colour for the sake of it

While a feature wall can be a great option if you think a colour will be too overwhelming for the entire room, don’t opt for one just because you’re afraid to do the entire room in a particular colour. Trying to incorporate a trendy pop of colour in a room for the sake of it can look out of place, date quickly and make a room feel smaller and unbalanced.

3. Your space is already busy

Avoid putting a feature wall in an already crowded, bold or busy room. When there is too much going on in a space, it can be confusing to the eye and create a sense of clutter. A feature wall should be a highlight, so it needs room to breathe.

Feature walls dated when poorly placed

This room’s feature wall is not well placed and makes the room feel cluttered and narrower.

The verdict on feature walls

So are feature walls dated or desirable? You can probably see why it can be difficult to make feature walls work and the result can go either way! To ensure your home’s colour palette is cohesive and sets off your furnishings beautifully, it’s best to consider feature walls with the help of a colour consultant when you’re planning a full interior repaint.

As part of Signature Painters’ residential painting process, we offer our clients a free Dulux colour consultation with a full interior repaint*. When you’re ready to transform your interior, simply call (07) 33969766 or request a quote.


*Criteria apply. Contact us to see if your project is eligible.

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