A Foolproof Formula to Make Any Blank Wall Sensational

published Jul 6, 2017
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(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Blank walls are BORING. To turn that situation around, don’t just stop after a coat of paint or a piece of art. Keep layering until you get a composition that adds visual excitement to the room. I recently saw a perfect example of a beautifully layered feature wall, and it’s a design formula anyone can use to turn a blank wall into a sensational statement wall.

(Image credit: Anna Spaller)

Li Ward and her husband Dan share a 1,380-square-foot home they’ve owned for ten years in Boston’s South End neighborhood. Full of well-appointed rooms, there’s one spot that really stands out: the fireplace wall in their living room.

Yes, the marble fireplace and mantel are stunning and show-stopping, but it’s what Li added that makes the spot spectacular. The buttery yellow wallpaper above the fireplace is a small and energizing pattern. Below the molding that bisects the wall is a grayish blue color. Blue is opposite yellow on the color wheel, and when they’re next to each other — as they are here — the two colors nearly vibrate with energy. But Li didn’t stop her color palette at just two shades, she added another blue…a surprisingly bright shade in an interesting spot, inside the fireplace! The combination of two blue colors unexpectedly blended together in such a small space adds to the excitement. Instead of camouflaging the nonworking fireplace interior, the peppy turquoise turns an ugly spot into a bold one.

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The last layer is the cherry on top of the layered cake: a white faux deer head. It’s enough of a statement to complete the composition, but not too big or dramatic to steal all the attention away from the wallpaper.

So how can you translate this feature wall’s ideas into your own home?

1. Pick a pattern first. It doesn’t have to be wallpaper; a painted stencil or creative use of tape work, too.

2. Next, expand your color palette across the color wheel, picking a subdued hue and a really bold, almost tropical shade. Mixing these three different colors together will instantly increase the sophistication of your composition. If you don’t have a fireplace or molding, make your own wall division using paint or pattern.

3. Then, top off the entire design with a signature item — an art piece or a fun accessory — that will put the finishing touch on the whole wall, but not steal the spotlight from any one element.

Follow this formula and you’ll have your own spectacular feature wall in no time! And find more design inspiration from Li and Dan’s Boston home.