Living room feature wall ideas – 10 ways to add impact to a blank wall
Maximize the impact of a living room feature wall with a few simple design tricks, and put added heart into your art
Our selection of the best living room feature wall ideas include statement accents, beautiful murals and gallery wall ideas to suit every home's style – and we have included a ton of added-value design advice, too.
So whether your living room ideas open-plan or on the smaller side, there are a plethora of feature wall ideas to suit. Plus, of course, we have catered to a wide variety of styles, color preferences, and budgets, and, as ever, there are living room wall ideas you can adopt quickly – no entire remodel needed.
Living room feature wall ideas – 10 expert tips and tricks to master
From modern artwork and intricate wallpaper to decorative decals and treasured plate collections, it’s clear that you should let your walls do the talking.
These are our favorite living room ideas for walls – we've added in-depth advice from well-known designers and our own team of experts, too, so that you know how to design a living room wall that you will love for years to come.
1. Showcase your favorite art or print
When it comes to planning a living room feature wall, quite often, bigger is better. A large painting or print can anchor the living room color scheme for much of a room. The wall and flooring should reference the painting without imitating it. A common misconception is the need to match the colors of your space exactly to a work of art in order to work with it. Instead, borrow your inspiration from art.
2. Theme a group of plates
Looking for accent wall ideas to give your living room focus? A themed collection of wall-hung plates makes an attractive alternative to framed pictures. This grouping of antique designs, arranged in a seemingly random fashion, chimes beautifully with the surrounding color scheme. Hanging plates on a wall requires precision – our guide from interior designer Emma Sims Hilditch makes it easy.
Alternatively, make it sing out is by painting the wall behind it in a shade that is a total contrast to the colors within the plates.
3. Learn how to frame
When it comes to framing, there are no hard and fast rules, believes framing expert Marcus Wells of Haviland Designs.
‘Be bold and be brave – and don’t worry what other people think.’ While his personal preference is for an eclectic approach, with different styles of frames hanging together, the aim is to present the artwork in the most effective way. ‘Modern canvases actually often look better with no frame. But we use a huge variety of materials, recycling and using found objects as much as possible – bark, fabrics, floorboards and offcuts.’
4. Introduce lustrous texture with a mural
Scenic landscape murals are the biggest story in decorating today – wonderfully atmospheric and evocative, a feature wall mural will transform a space and capture the imagination.
Using wall mural ideas with a single dramatic image is a bold move, but it is a logical progression if you’ve already used patterned wallpapers. ‘A mural is a powerful tool for the adventurous,’ says Andy Greenall, head of design at Little Greene. Many mural designs are now available as wallpapers, making them easier to achieve. ‘Three drops of paper that create a whole panel gives an instant uplift,’ says Andy. Try painting the surrounding walls in a complementary color taken from the mural.
5. Start with art
Don’t be afraid to let artwork lead when it comes to choosing a color palette for a scheme. Here, the colors from the wall art carry into the upholstery of the furniture – showing that gallery wall ideas can be successsfully subtle.
'I love starting a scheme with an artwork but, conversely, some of my favorite rooms didn’t have an artwork to start with,' says interior design Rachel Chudley. 'Doing it this way round can produce such creative interiors because you’re forced to think outside the box.'
6. Install a tapestry to your feature wall
The championing of tapestry has recently boomed; over the past few years, there has been a seismic shift in individuals choosing to invest in this delicate art form for their living room feature wall ideas.
'The beauty of creating tapestries is their interaction with light, it’s a constant play,' says Geraldine Larkin, who responsible for the reinvention of the ancient craft of embroidery. 'A piece will look different from morning to night; when you’re reading the paper in the morning it promises such a contrast to when entertaining with friends in the evening.'
7. Don't be too precise
'Before hanging, arrange the pictures on the floor,' says Daniel Slowik, interior decorator, Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler. 'You don’t need to use a tape measure for precise spacing, as the tension will always be a bit different when they are hanging from a wire. A lot of the look will be down to instinct, but a good guide is to put the strongest image at the top.
8. Avoid hanging pictures too high
'Don’t hang pictures too high – we call it the Cape Canaveral syndrome, as you end up having to look up and the pictures appear like they are about to take off, ' explains Daniel Slowik. 'In rooms with fewer pictures, try hanging them lower.
'Finally, remember that not everything has to be in a frame. A colleague recently had a set of prints taken out of their frames and varnished onto the wall with overlapping edges.'
9. Create a feature wall with books
It is important to have variations of media for living room feature wall, and good book storage ideas can provide a background of color, warmth and texture. If they are deep-set, bookshelves can display more than books. Think about using the extra space to show off other objects – this is a good, contemporary alternative to a vitrine or standard display case. Piles of books elsewhere, on coffee tables or landings, for example, can introduce interest and character
10. Curate a gallery wall
When building a collection for your living room feature wall, one tip is to start small – literally. Smaller works typically have a more modest price tag, offering the opportunity to add more pieces.
‘A beautifully chosen grouping of bijou works is chic, chic, chic!’ says Jennifer Conner of the Affordable Art Fair, who also runs her own gallery After Nyne Contemporary. ‘It’s hard to go wrong as long as you really connect with the work (and stick within your budget).’
What should I put on my feature wall?
‘When deciding what to put on a feature wall, my instinct is to be drawn to what reflects the place, people and their distinctiveness and my love for beautifully crafted objects,’ says Catherine Lock, creative director of The New Craftsmen.
‘I select pieces that feel like they will endure both in quality and the fluctuations of trends. I always go for pieces that have an emotive resonance rather than feeling like they’re a good investment – although it’s very nice when the two things come together.’
How do you make a feature wall look good?
‘Simple ways to make a living room feature wall look good without it feeling staged would be to use display cabinets or bookshelves just for artwork and sculpture,’ says interiors stylist and creative director of Modern Art Hire, Laura Fulmine.
‘You can also try to incorporate plinths into the home. To stop them feeling like a gallery choose warm tones such as wood or have some made in colored Formica, resin, marble or concrete.’ When it comes to arranging, showcase fun and personal items alongside collectors’ work. ‘And don’t feel the need to only show “serious” artwork; kids’ paintings next to a collectible piece is what makes it feel like a home not a gallery,’ adds Laura.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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