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How to make a focal wall work

Here’s some tips to help ensure a great look

bedroom in a home

I often suggest using colour in the décor in small doses to begin with. Painting a focal wall is an easy way to do this without committing yourself to adding colour to the entire room. It’s a quick and affordable way to give a room new life without spending a lot of time or money. If you’ve tried this technique and were not pleased with the outcome, you may have missed a few steps in the process that will ensure a great look. Here’s some tips.

Invest in good-quality paint in a bold colour that you’ve been wanting to try but were leery to use. Bright red? Royal blue? Why not?

As you’ll see in the photograph, painting a focal wall can change the look and feel of an entire room. In a bedroom, visual pizzazz is created by painting a vivid colour at the head of the bed and a light-coloured headboard helps balance the look. The wall colour is repeated in the bedding, which makes the colour make sense in the room. This room has a natural jog on the headboard wall so if your room does not, just paint a large floor-to-ceiling rectangle wide enough to frame your headboard. Use quality painter’s tape to create clean lines. Whichever colour you choose; plan to repeat it at least once (twice is better) in the room. Whether it is in a chair cushion, bedding, artwork or accents, bringing the focal colour around the room grounds the overall look.

Bringing in another colour

A complimentary colour in hues of yellow was added by the blanket on the bed and the gold-toned light fixture. Another, smaller splash of colour, was added via red bedsheets and red flowers on the night tables.

Even though the remaining walls are white, you can see how painting a focal colour changes things dramatically. If you have plain-white walls, look for that special spot where colour can be added.

Small rooms

Many people think that a small room, like a bathroom, can’t handle strong colour, but this is not necessarily the case. While a bathroom painted black might be too much, a rich colour added to the focal wall (usually where the vanity is) can actually open up the space. Add in some new towels and a few accessories in a co-ordinating colour and your little bathroom will look grand. For very dark colours, balance the look. The majority of bathrooms contain white sinks, tubs and toilets so right there the strong wall colour will be broken up with a light colour. If that’s not the case in your home, think carefully about the colour you choose. If your vanity has an espresso finish, for example, you might not want to paint the wall behind it dark brown as that would be too dark overall.

Just a bit of paint can really transform a room. Take the plunge and choose a focal wall on which to add a rich colour. Take your inspiration from a painting, a fabric pattern or a magazine photo of a fantastic room and take a chance. Maybe it’s time for a change.

Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Gimli, Manitoba

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Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Gimli, Manitoba.

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