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Interior designer Jennifer Scott recently spent a month in Morocco searching for unique and unusual items for her clients back in Vancouver. When the principal of A Good Chick to Know stumbled upon a vintage wedding blanket in Marrakesh, she knew exactly what she was going to do with it.
“This beautiful blanket is now hanging on the wall in my bedroom,” says the sought-after guest speaker at several home shows. “It is quite large… it hangs from the top of my ceiling to where the pillows are on my bed, creating a stunning signature feature wall.”
Whether you call it an accent or feature wall, incorporating one in your condominium is a perfect way to highlight or emphasize a room’s architecture or to instill a sense of extraordinary in an otherwise plain room.
“With a feature wall, you have the ability to inject your own individuality in a typically cookie-cutter condo,” says Scott. “Whether you want to make a statement, or simply have a small space that needs to impress without overwhelming, feature walls can produce that.”
Adding textures such as brick, wood or other materials are a great way to incorporate that extra something without too much in the way of imagery or vibrant colour that might overpower a small space.
The rise in reclaimed and whitewash wood is a movement that is growing stronger in BC. Scott says she’s seen a huge trend in reclaimed barn-wood accent walls. “We are moving the wood from the floors onto the walls in bedrooms and dining rooms. In condos, go a little lighter, such as bleached greys, or more natural tones, because heavier, dark woods will make your room appear smaller.”
A brick wall can add untold timeless beauty in a room or can look really out of place in a contemporary condo, advises Scott.
“Brick can be a beautiful design feature when it speaks to a loft conversion,” she adds. “I believe original brick lends itself best to a heritage building which has been converted to lofts or apartments.”
The rise of the industrial look has made concrete a popular choice for a unique feature wall.
“I love the warmth that a textured concrete wall can bring to a room with its rough finish that is one of a kind,” says Scott. “I am also a big fan of the polished concrete look which is incredibly smooth and gives rooms an edgy feel as well as a crisp, clean and modern look.”
There is a huge revival in wallpaper feature walls, most notably, custom wallpaper designs.
When wallpaper designer Markella Mildenberger works with a client to create a custom feature wall her first consideration is to ask clients how they will be utilizing their space, what their colour preferences are, what existing hard features exist such as flooring, lighting, hardware etc., what the furnishings are like, and the client’s personal taste in art in order to get a clear idea of what they are after.
“Often, we aren't always sure exactly what we want as a feature wall; however, we have ideas of what we don't like and what we do like,” says the principal of The Red Palette.
Mildenberger encourages her clients to select shades, tones and colours that are pulled from the undertones in a main piece of furnishing or finishes in your space. For instance, use the gold specks in a granite feature or a secondary shade in a marble one as a jumping-off point.
“When we want something bold, that is really that statement piece, there can be many routes to go,” she went on to say.
Achieving the Wow Factor
Whether you are thinking about full-sized painted or printed murals, wallpapers, fabrics, textures or large-scale art for a feature wall, there are certain things to contemplate first.
Ultimately, when you want to design a focal area in your condominium, concentrate on ones that can afford more drama and dazzle.
“If my clients want to redecorate a space, such as a hallway that sees frequent traffic, then I suggest they don't use too many furnishings, otherwise the eye just doesn’t know where to go first,” she says.
Mural-sized images that take inspiration from photos add interest. However, Mildenberger says err on the side of caution when selecting imagery and make sure all copyrights are adhered to. Ultimately, you want to choose an image that you can live with every day and not tire of. An outdoor or scenic image can do wonders to relax, but your décor and furnishings will need to forever compliment this.
Scott agrees with Mildenberger and says, “Remember that with smaller spaces large-scale patterns with less structure (stripes are passé) work best.”
She adds, “A two-foot repeat rather than a six-inch repeat gives the pattern room to breathe and looks great in a condo. The key to a successfully designed feature wall isn’t about recreating something; it’s about showcasing your story, what makes you distinctive and injecting that into your décor.”