The room is nice enough, but theres just… What? Just a little something missing. Maybe it needs a bit of a mini face-lift, something you can do yourself without a big investment of time, money and effort. How about a feature wall? I know, youre thinking that old dark paneling or the knotty pine tongue-in-groove your dad put up in the rumpus room in the 70s. It was groovy then, but sort of fell out of favour. But with todays variety of wall coverings, the feature wall has morphed into something trendy, eye-catching and cool.

There are many materials, textures and colours you can choose from, depending on the room and the mood you’d like to invoke. Feature walls are a great way to add life to a space-one wall-while keeping other walls in the room neutral. If you decide you want to try something else, or if it doesn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, it’s a lot easier and faster to redo one wall.You can get funky with pops of colour without it overwhelming you. Fuchsia on one wall is inspired; on all four, it’s just purple! Because you’re doing a relatively small space, a feature wall is cost effective. Especially if you’re going for a high-end feel, you can justify more costly materials since you’re not pulling it throughout the area.

Let’s have a look at five to compare the expense, effort and effect of each.

IDEA 1: PAINT TECHNIQUES. Of course, the cheapest and still one of the most versatile wall coverings is paint. The industry provides an array of advanced products and job- specific paints; consumer demand led to low- and no-VAC (volatile organic compounds). Designers have created a selection of faux finishes, glazes and decorative techniques that result in all sorts of looks. Leanne Falkowsky of The Urban Wall specializes in faux finishing, stenciling and Venetian plaster. She’s given the «old school» techniques like sponging and ragging a new twist to achieve birch bark plaster, vertical concrete, custom life sized wall stencils, and other one- of-a-kind ideas that can add drama and dimension.

Expense

The investment can range from DIY sponging or ragging techniques all the way up to professionally applied Venetian plaster that can be brought to a polish or matte finish. Using paint and plaster are still relatively inexpensive ways to add colour, texture and interest to a wall.

Effort

With most jobs, the key is preparation. When you buy your paint, take advantage of the store’s expertise and ask their advice. Do you want scrabble, matte, gloss? How do you prep the wall? Ask what tools you need for the look you’re after. Laying out your tools and materials when you begin ensures everything is within reach. Depending on your comfort level and agility at reading instructions, there is a lot you can do yourself.

Effect

Even just a fresh coat of paint can make a noticeable difference. Bump that up with decorative painting or some eye-catching stenciling. If you love Italy, Venetian plaster will remind you of that Old World charm and sophistication. If you’re DIY handy, then give it a go. But if you’re concerned about ending up with something resembling cow patties on your wall, maybe find a good professional.

IDEA 2: SIMULATED STONE

Have a look at Quality Stone, a synthetic yet durable exterior or interior product that is lightweight enough for inside non-load bearing walls. It looks like stone, and is non-toxic, non-gaseous and odour free.

Expense

Because Quality Stone is a high-density polyurethane, it’s less expensive than natural stone and you eliminate the cost of masonry. You also don’t need any structural reinforcements as you would with real stone. Effort

It comes in staggered panels in a variety of styles. Like a puzzle, tongue-in-groove pieces are numbered so you fit them together properly.The website offers a full line of easy-to-follow installation videos, including electrical and fixture trim installation.

Effect

It looks like stone! It’s also useful as a noise and cold barrier, so if your feature wall is against an adjacent bedroom, this product acts as a good damper.

IDEA 3: WALL FLATS

We wanted to show you a specific modular product here that is a nifty idea. Much like interlocking flooring, these panels are relatively easy to install. Have a look at www. wallflats.com where you can see the different patterns and find a Saskatoon supplier.

Expense

About $3 per square foot. An enviro-friendly product, Wall Flats are made from bagasse, a by-product of sugar-cane processing, something that used to be sent to the dump or burned. It’s biodegradable and recyclable.

Effort

Pretty DAY-easy, the panels come straight out of the box onto the wall, which is clean, dry and prep pad. Even the prepping seems simple; if it’s glossy plaster or paint, you need to rough up a bit with sandpaper and wipe down with a damp rag. Read the instructions carefully; there are cautions about thinking twice and applying once. They recommend laying it out on the floor first just to make sure. Once on the wall you prime and paint them any colour you want. There are downloadable directions and tips on the website.

Effect

This feature wall covering can really make a room pop. The 3-D effect creates a very modern look and though it pops, it can have quite a subtle presence.

IDEA 4: WOOD/LAMINATE

Stop thinking about those dark brown rumpus room panels! Wood and laminate really are cool and the possibilities here, too, are almost endless.The weathered wood look is still interesting, though sway back old barns are harder to come by now. But reclaimed woods from a variety of sources can create a dramatic look.

Expense

Decide what sort of a look you’re going for and that will help you narrow your search. Like real stone, natural wood can add a lot of weight to a wall. Be sure your wall can take whatever you’re going to attach and ensure the material is securely fastened. Much like the choices for wood flooring, you can go from less expensive laminate to high-end hand-scraped spice maple at three times the cost.You can also go to a flooring refinisher or the Habitat for Humanity Restore and see what leftover odds and ends they might have. Effort

Experienced DIY types who can do flooring can also do a feature wall. Same rules apply, like knowing how to stagger the pieces so you avoid a seam all in one spot. It’s not a job for everyone with all that sanding, sawing and nailing, but if you’re not afraid, give it a go! And there are laminate pieces that literally snap together that take care of a lot of the work for you. Remember, though, that even a new home wall might not be exactly square or straight so pay attention to your level and adjust as you go.

Effect

A great thing about wood (whether natural or a look- alike) is that it can produce a heritage rustic mood all the way to a polished and sophisticated one. Sometimes the trim and finishes help you determine that feel.

IDEA 5: WALL PAPER

Those of us who worked with this a couple of decades ago groaned when it became trendy again! But as with most building materials, evolution is a wonderful thing. No longer the catalyst for divorce, easy- to-work-with wallpaper now comes in a head-spinning array of colours, textures and designs.

Expense

There’s a wide range of price points, so do some shopping around. For large selection many of the design boutiques in the city had great options, you can also look at paint and big box stores to see what they have to offer.You can spend a few dollars on low-end stuff, or hundreds for a roll of high- end fancy in materials like silk or bamboo. Decide how much of an investment you want to make, and remember you’re just doing one wall, not an entire room. Just a word of caution, if you’re not a rabid DIY person, or maybe just a bit inexperienced with wallpaper and you just bought a $300 roll of linen silk paper, maybe it would be worth it to get some expert help.

Effort

Gone are the days of pulling soaking sheets out of water- filled trays. Today’s wallpaper comes dry and you apply the adhesive to a clean and prep pad wall.There are types that are peelable, too, so if you want a change, you can have it without all the scraping and stripping.

Effect

Like the palate of paint colours available today, wallpaper has exploded with possibilities. You can have fun and whimsical in a child’s bedroom, or elegant and sophisticated with a natural lime grass or textured damask.

Like this post? Please share to your friends: