When faced with a deeper-than-deep pool of decorating inspiration, these feature wall ideas for your living room will help you to take the plunge.
Whether it’s to help you highlight a period fireplace or to draw attention to a less-obvious aspect of the room, a feature wall can be your sitting room’s saviour.
Image Credit: Martyn Lawrence Bullard
What is a Feature Wall?
The clue is in the name - a feature wall lets you draw attention to a single wall in the room. In other words, to make a feature of it.
There are different reasons for walking this decor route. You may have something of architectural interest, such as a contemporary floating fireplace or original, oversized sash windows, that you want to make the overriding presence in the room.
Though, some designers argue that a feature wall here is unnecessary and can even be a distraction from the item that you wanted to highlight in the first place. Equally, an accent wall in a living room can serve as an introduction to colour and pattern.
If you’re shy of the prospect of using a stronger shade or a burst of beguiling florals, glamorous damasks or smart stripes, then keeping them to a single wall room makes it much less overwhelming – for you and your scheme.
Image Credit: Elicyon
As with many interior design options, there are no obligatory rules to follow when determining which living room wall will become your showpiece. Generally however, feature wall design begins with locating the space to which your eye is naturally first drawn.
Interestingly, this doesn’t necessarily equate to the largest expanse of wall in the room – a common living room feature wall misconception. Depending on your room’s angles, the doorway and the natural path you’d follow around the room, it might be that a smaller section of wall is where your eye first falls.
Another key determining factor is whether or not you wish to focus on an existing feature or to pull attention away from it. For example, if you have a suspended marble mantelpiece, you can use a feature wall to dramatise it, providing you use a colour that introduces high contrast; this means they act as a foil to one another.
On the other hand, if you prefer to shift the focus to a different part of the room, challenging what the natural focal point is, use a colour that will help the mantel to blend in, moving the contrast to a different area.
Image Credit: Jonathan Rachman Design
And a final consideration – it’s wise to avoid an accent wall in a living room that’s on the smaller side. It has the effect of making it feel smaller still.
Should size be on your side, these feature wall ideas will guide you to the style that most suits your scheme.
1. Painted Wallpaper
Feature walls and wallpaper go hand in hand. As do accent walls in a darker tone. But one of the unsung heroes of lounge feature walls is melding the two together.
Painted wallpaper treatments are an accent wall idea that invites attention because of their decorative character and because they’re less commonly seen in our homes. They have an artistic quality that helps them instinctively come to the fore.
A single, statement mirror or a series of smaller mirrors that unite to create a grid, akin to a picture wall formation, is an impactful feature wall for two reasons. Not only does it draw the eye in, but it makes the room feel larger and reflects the feature back on itself, as though you’re seeing it twice.
It’s something that’s seen really clearly in this townhouse sitting room on the Upper West Side of Manhattan designed by Interior Marketing Group. They established a dominant feature wall using the panelled mirror effect, throwing the light around the room and emphasising the open-plan layout.
Image Credit: David Hicks
There to be looked at and admired, art presents you with a plethora of ways to transform an empty wall into being your room’s anchor.
One, large-scale piece, hung centrally, makes a strong and simple statement. You can cement its accent wall status further by placing other objects in the same colour or material as your main artwork’s frame to its side, such as in the David Hicks sitting room pictured.
Or, position a small collection in a row at the same height along a wall, similar to what you might see in a gallery to help your eye move across the full expanse of the wall – a technique that also lends itself to making your room seem larger.
Image Credit: Carlyle Design
A picture wall is a third artistic approach that involves curating both art and frames into a considered assortment.
Whether you decide that they will be purposefully eclectic or uniform, their mass captures your attention and fills a wall with a large volume of colour and detail, upgrading it to feature wall status. Spread them through the full height of your wall to accentuate the ceiling height of your living room.
Image Credit: Kelly Wearstler
5. Wall Panelling
Using wall panelling as a living room wall idea typically conjures up an image of Georgian-style drawing rooms where wooden panelling would run across every wall.
But a more contemporary depiction of wall panelling can involve intricately carved sections of wood but with geometric motifs, lines and arcs instead of cockbead moulding and beading.
This approach, as shown in the Kelly Wearstler living room with the blush pink cocktail chair pictured, on just one wall in your front room with the rest of the walls coloured in the same tone, adds depth and hidden dimensions to your living’s scheme and marks this as the wall to watch.
Let this be the area where most of your decorative pieces are stored, or where you want to define the tone or the personality of the room. For example, a book-filled storage piece announces a very different point of view to one lined with curious spirits and cocktail barware.
If however, an adjacent wall has a large and beautiful sideboard with a flower-filled vase on top and a mirror hung above, there’s a fight between which is the dominant piece of storage and which is therefore the feature wall.
This is one way to avoid having a clear feature wall, if that’s the design direction you prefer, but if this isn’t the case, keep to having solely one, principal piece that isn’t asked to share the limelight.
This final lounge feature wall idea is a way to strengthen how art, mirrors and storage perform in your sitting room. By presenting your statement twice, their presence feels more profound.
Two mirror-image pieces of art from the same artist’s collection in identical frames side by side quickly become doubly impactful; one large piece of storage split into symmetrical sections has more stage presence.
Even using wall lights either side of your feature piece of artwork will help your wall to rise to the top of the food chain, because as human beings, our biological makeup is drawn to all things balanced and symmetrical.
Discover more inspiration with our living room walls decor ideas.