The evolution of the ‘feature’ wall

I have been busy the past few weeks going to various paint consults with my clients, it is fall and we all seem to be bringing our focus inward. Clients are desperate for colour in their homes and I think it is a subconscious bracing for winter. We know that the days ahead will be grey and dismal and our natural reaction is to bring colour and warmth into our homes to replace what is lacking outside.

The question I keep hearing is ‘Do you do feature walls anymore?’

The straight answer is no, painted feature walls are out of vogue as a room enhancer unless the paint is to be used to altering the shape of the room. A long narrow room can be visually shortened with dark paint and a small room can be enlarged with light colours on the walls and the ceiling.

The evolution of the feature wall has become more sophisticated and purposeful. The ‘feature’ has become wallpaper, dimensional tile, glass or mirrors. No longer just meager paint, the features have grown up and become textural and architectural in nature.

Cork, hardwood and bamboo can adorn any space and give you instant drama and texture. Fireplaces, ceiling detail and natural cantilevers occurring in your home are the places to be featured with texture and drama.

Tiles have increased in size and have made a debut of gorgeous pattern with an oversized scale. You can cover an entire wall with tile for a stunning visual (see the Colbray showhome for an example of this at 112 Eastpoint Dr. in Blackfalds).

Our designer Angela Orr used a 24×24 inch white tile with a dimensional wave to create a stunning visual around the living room fireplace. It is a brilliant example of how texture and pattern should be used to feature a space. The effect is instant and glamorous without a stitch of colour, simply pattern and texture to enhance the fireplace.

You can also create a ‘feature’ wall by repeating items such as framed pictures or mirrors, shelving with coordinating decorative items or any treasured collection. Any gathering of similar items will create a feature in your home and will draw the eye to the specified area showcasing your creative talent and your favorite things!

Family photos can be tricky to coordinate while still looking fashionable which is easily solved by re-printing all photos in black and white and placing them in pure white or black frames of various sizes, instant focal point with style.

Look around your home and try to spot the architectural features that already exist in your home. Bay windows, ceiling vaults, archways, art niches are already features in your home waiting for a decorative touch! I told a client this week that her art niches could use a fabulous face lift by installing small crystal mosaic tiles inside – a perfect backdrop for her already beautiful accessories. Mosaic tiles are what smoked glass tiles were to the 70s – some people STILL have those in their homes!

Today try to substitute the word feature with the word embellish and see what exciting ideas you come up with. Instead of basic paint on a wall, what other fantastic creations can you accessorize with as alternative feature wall coverings?

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext. 227 or email her at

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