Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStockphoto

Twenty years ago, you couldn’t open a magazine or flip to HGTV without seeing designers wax enthusiastic about feature walls. Most of those late-1990s versions were stenciled with grapes or sponge-painted in Day-Glo shades, mind you, so the memory elicits a well-deserved cringe.

Fast-forward to today and a tasteful feature wall has more decorative pros than cons – bad paint techniques aside. First, it allows you to experiment with print or colour without going all in. Think of a feature wall as your in-home design lab: If you can live with that paint or paper on one wall, maybe the other three should join the party? The humble feature wall is also easy on the budget, allowing you to splurge on a more expensive wallpaper to cover a smaller surface area.

When paint is your accent, use it strategically to draw attention to built-in shelves, cupboards or closets, to highlight a fireplace wall, accentuate ceiling height or mark a transition between private and public spaces, like a hallway or stairwell. And don’t forget the ceiling – it counts as a wall, too.

Story continues below advertisement

To keep the look from veering into throwback territory, stick to dark colours (matte black, deep blues and greens) or pale hues (chalky blues or pinks). Adding these kinds of moody or subtle accents will result in a very of-the-moment approach – not a sponge in sight.

When it comes to using wallpaper for your wow moment, I think the application is most successful in cozy niches, the wall behind a bed or sofa, or even as a backdrop to a dining bench or banquette. If the print feels too overwhelming, break it up with art or a mirror to achieve balance. For the commitment-shy among you, there are rolls upon rolls of great removable wallpapers and murals to give you that “here for a good time, not a long time” effect. Retailers like Home Depot, Wayfair and Anthropologie are a good starting point and offer a selection of patterns that range from pretty florals to fun geometric prints.

Finally, keep in mind that accent walls aren’t limited to paint and wallpaper. You can achieve the same effect, albeit in a more permanent way, with wood, mirror, stone or tile.

See? The feature wall is back and it’s better – and more creative – than ever.

Need some advice about interior design and decor? Send your questions to personaldesigner@globeandmail.com.

Sign up for the weekly Style newsletter, your guide to fashion, beauty and design, and follow us on Instagram @globestyle.

Related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies