Back in the day, accent walls in interior design were unheard of. All four walls were the same colour and, generally, it was a subdued, conservative shade only. Oh, but 3 wallpapers were used, all uninspiring. A wainscot style wallpaper for the bottom three feet, then an upper floral, then a border just under the ceiling. This happened at a time when there were actually beautiful and creative wallpapers available, but the over-riding trend was to an overly feminine triplet attempting to revive the Victorian Age. During  the Victorian Age, there were a great many creative wallpaper and furniture designers, but what survived was an overly lacy and feminine look. These great designers are fodder for a different article. Anyway, an accent wall showcasing a truly beautiful handmade grasscloth, a stunning and dramatic mural, or even just a dynamic colour can go a long way to help a room design. Just keep an open mind. A paint colour consultation may lead you to consider a few newer ideas than you had previously considered. Wallpaper is certainly making a comeback, but simply adding a dynamic painted feature wall may be enough to get you started on a more interesting approach to your very own home. Marguerite Roberts of Mulberry Interiors is a Colour Specialist. She often introduces quite dark colour choices to clients, while assessing whether they are truly ready for such a daring step. There is no shame in sticking with lighter colour shades. when availing yourself of a Paint Colour Consultation, be sure that you will be comfortable living with the new colour choices.

There are very interesting and dramatic mural choices available these days. They may be just a small wall tucked away in a bathroom, perhaps a bedroom ceiling, maybe even a long, tall dining room wall in a loft condo. Wrapping this lovely oversized mural on all four walls would not overpower such an interesting room. Rather, it would lend drama and even a touch of rusticity. 

relaxed loft style condo with tall concrete ceilings with floral mural near ceiling in soft colour palette

  In the past. accent colour was only seen in decorative accessories. Nowadays, there is some debate as to whether accent walls are a thing of the past or whether they still are an acceptable design feature at least some of the time. casual contemporary living room with patterned retro armchair, grey zebra area carpet, and grass cloth feature wallIn the past it was the daring homeowner who had a red or purple sofa, but was very unlikely to have a wall in a hot colour or a daring geometric. We now live in a Golden Age of choice and clients are much more courageous than in the past, as a result of watching decorating shows on television. Our televisions are much larger and the images are in high definition, so we get a huge impact when these décor ideas are shown. Wallpaper is a classic element that can work just as well on one wall as on all four walls, depending on the client’s preference for pattern and colour. Many clients are very happy to have one wall of a gorgeous wallpaper but would be overwhelmed by the same paper on all four walls of that room. Wallpaper has such design impact that often we do not tire of it as we do a simple paint colour. Wallpaper murals are usually only used on one wall, but even this rule can be broken.   romantic bathroom with copper tub and wall muralWe are able to see with our own eyes that these ideas really do often look fantastic, and the home owners shown are often people who are similar in lifestyle to ourselves. Therefore, we are able to visualize these dramatic new ideas in our own living spaces. A great way to add colour to a space and experiment with smaller doses of brighter, bolder hues is to add an accent or feature wall. Perhaps just a tile backsplash in a kitchen or  a vibrant or interesting bit of tile flooring inside a shower or up the back wall of the shower. Remember the old days when the kitchen tile backsplash stopped timidly just under the cabinets, often ending awkwardly? A much better idea is to take a beautiful tile all the way to the ceiling! So much better! We are left wondering why we didn’t do that long ago.industrial chic kitchen with white shaker cabinetry and stainless small grey subway mosaic tile backsplash to the ceiling and bluch copper cage pendant lightsWe can also make use of the feature wall to spotlight a particular decorative accessory, a special piece of artwork, or to make an object appear more luxurious than it actually is. No matter that the room is small. Even a small bathroom can handle quite a bit of drama. We did not seem to know this in the past. Small rooms were rigidly apologetic beige or white and not much else. We have grown beyond that idea. dramatic lighting effect with round mirror and tile to the ceiling in a smaller bathroomWe are also able to delineate an area of our living space with a feature wall. Feature walls in dark colours can create the effect of depth in a room design. This is especially useful when the space is small. Feature walls just add so much impact that they really are a very useful technique in many interior design projects these days. They are a striking, unique design element in many homes. One wall of a terrific wallpaper really ups the game in just about any room. Throw in some funky accessories and some furniture with a bit of personality and your boring old foyer, say, goes from dingy and scuffed to “Hey! Look at that!” So much more fun to live with. dramatic foyer with shaped console table, natural history accessories, and black and white wallpaperLet’s not overdo it, though. That’s how we got into this discussion. Especially in the case of exposed brick, textural stone, or wood paneling one wall is often enough.” I’m a big fan of all those things, but it’s like white subway tile and white Shaker kitchen cabinets. How is that even called creative anymore?” says Marguerite Roberts, head of Mulberry Interiors, based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Too much exposed brick tends to be too much of a good thing. Less is often more. In the room below there is a stone feature wall. The mix of colour perfectly suits the colour of the square armed contemporary sofa. The yellow throw and toss cushion pick up other tones from the stone, but don’t slavishly match them. The lamp is fun and funky, serves a purpose, and the off white is in the colour range of the custom draperies. The room is casual in design so the stump tables suit the room. The draperies are properly made, rather than skimpy rags on the window. The area rug is easy care hide circles and repeats some of the greys in the sofa and stone wall. This is an example of not just repeating the same old thing. This is a room that is a pleasure to live in. It even dares to have an accent wall and tulips that are not pristine, and is much more interesting as a result!small living room with stone feature wall, Hunter Douglas window blinds, custom draeries, and sectional sofaThere is no need to overwhelm the space with colour. Generally, the colour chosen to act as a feature wall is bold and colourful, but one solid colour most often. More colour can be added to the room design in the form of an eclectic area rug with great success. Another aspect and advantage of feature walls is in helping the colour story flow through the home from room to room. We are able to seamlessly transition colour from room to room by way of furnishings, fabrics, area rugs, artwork and accessories. Bold, colourful shades are good accent wall paint colours because they accentuate a space without overpowering it. In an adult space a large, low contrast graphic design on one wall can lend impact and drama while remaining elegant. In many cases the graphic would overpower the room design if it were on all four walls. Without the striking wallpaper or dynamic colour on one wall, the overall room design may have been bland and uninteresting, rather than spectacular. upscale relaxed living room with spice terracotta wall finish, antique armchair, slip covered sofa, and large abstract artworksWhen doing paint colour consultations that involve children’s rooms, the child often chooses a colour that the parents might find unliveable. Kids love vibrant and dramatic colours. A good solution is to do one wall that the child can see often, such as at the foot of the bed, on the ceiling, or along a play area for the accent colour. This adds a lively splash of vibrancy to the room and, often, the parents loves it also. Many childrens’ toys are vibrantly coloured so they back up the colour chosen for the feature wall. The bedding also adds a layer of lively colour and  looks great in children’s rooms. Simply using a deeper version of your existing wall colour as the feature wall colour is an interesting option also if a strong effect is not wanted. A high intensity colour used in one area of the room can be wonderful as a foil to artwork and other design elements in the room design. Monotony is defeated and our interior design plan carries through the home. The inspiration for the colour used on the feature wall may come from something as small as a dot of bright colour in a painting. It is surprising how effective this can be. Simply using artwork or some other decorative element as an accent, rather than an entire wall is just as effective and perhaps more pleasing to some clients. There is a strong trend toward using very large artwork pieces even in smaller rooms. It looks terrific. This option speaks to those who feel that feature walls have become passé. elegant home office corner of living room with light grey storage furniture. artistic light fixture, and large grey abstract artworkDelineation of interior space can be achieved with colour or pattern. In for instance, an adjoining living room or family room and dining room, it is pleasant to distinguish the room functions clearly. Dining rooms tend to be a somewhat more formal space than a family room, although this is not necessary. A confident design plan allows the client to live on the edge a little without fear of having gone too far.
Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home. 
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