How to paint a feature wall


Photo courtesy of Quality Furniture Center

A huge style staple right now, feature walls offer an easy way to highlight one aspect    of the room. How do I love thee, feature wall? Let me count the ways:

  1.   It can make a room more eye-catching.
  2.   It's cheaper than painting the entire room.
  3.   It's a great way to try a new color without having to commit to painting the whole room.
  4.   Renters can create a unique look and easily paint it back to its original color when moving out.
  5.   It can highlight a feature point in the room.

Here are our answers to some common questions about feature walls:

"How do I pick a feature wall?"
Whichever wall you choose, it should ideally be the first one you see when you walk in the room. A feature wall should immediately draw the eye. Is there anything in particular you are trying to highlight? A fireplace? An art piece? A bookshelf? You could paint an alcove-or the inner back of a shelf-if you want to play it even more safe while experimenting with a new look. You could highlight a picture window as well, but it's a less popular choice for designers because a window or door breaks up the wall. However, it can still look great. A common feature to paint is the chimney breast (the wall above the fireplace).

"What color should I choose?"
It's a feature wall, so make it a unique color or shade in the room (or it could match one other sparse color, like pillow accents). Get familiar with the color wheel and color theory or get the opinion of a paint professional. For less contrast, two tones of the same color, with the darker one on the feature wall, can give you a more subtle look.

What if you want high contrast? Choose colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. Do you want a cool or warm look? Cool colors, such as blues, are better for bathrooms and bedrooms;  whereas warm colors, such as yellows and orangey reds are great for a living room. Take into account the color of your furniture, flooring, and fabrics. If you're painting a small room, use lighter colors around the feature wall to create the illusion of space.

Try this color scheme designer app for inspiration: or upload a picture of the room you want to paint and test the colors in this useful app:

"What kind of paint should I use?"
Decide if you want a glossy or a matte finish. You could also go for specialty paints, such as metallics. Prefer a pattern? Alternating stripes are a good, simple choice. If you're doing it yourself, make sure you use a level and painter's tape to get even stripes. If you decide to paint a design, opt for a bold one with a large pattern for a more striking result. Textures can be visually appealing as well; layer two colors, opt for a faux finish, or paint a simple stencil.

"What else can I do to make my feature wall stand out?"
On top of the considerations suggested above, you could add extra lighting fixtures on the feature wall - lights beside the fireplace, over the art piece, within the shelving unit-if you have something in particular you want to highlight on that wall.

Cover photo courtesy Windemere Interior Design & Property Styling.