Feature Walls – How they’ve Changed!

From the beginning of mankind, when we were living in caves, the vertical flat surface of a wall has offered an opportunity to decorate, to draw, to write, to communicate, to record.

The history of wall covering is also long established.   It was the Chinese in 200 BC who first created paper from rice and used it to cover walls.   Over the centuries this ‘product’ has evolved and developed, adapted to exploit new methods of printing and technology, come and gone in fashion and popularity as styles of decoration have changed.   And indeed, we are currently seeing a new trend for decorating our walls.   This is probably best known as ‘wall art’.   Prior to this the fashion had been to decorate one wall with a bold and fabulous design which was called a feature wall.   So dominant would be the design that other walls in the room would be kept ‘plain’, decorated with either paint (a more affordable option) or wallpaper

Butterfly Garden by Osborne & Little Photo courtesy of Osborne & Little

Inevitably the fashion for a ‘feature wall’ became old fashioned/‘passe’.  It was surely more sophisticated to choose a textured plain effect, in a shade of neutral.    Papers featured natural looking, even real, raffia, bamboo, wood grain, silk.   Very beautiful in their own right and so much more suitable for hanging your picture, photos, mirrors.

Shang Extra Fine Sisal by Thibaut Photo courtesy of Thibaut
Fresco by Osborne & Little Photo courtesy of Osborne & Little

Thankfully and inevitably in the world of interior decoration fashions constantly change and evolve, often driven by new and innovative techniques which suggest and present new styles of design.

Herald the arrival of digital printing, offering the industry an opportunity to reproduce by photographic processes and opening a new world to designers.   It’s possible to achieve infinitesimal accuracy of colour and line and total flexibility and adaptability of scale and pattern, giving designers the opportunity to create on a grand scale, in photographic precision of detail and intensity of colour.

And so the ‘feature wall’ has evolved into ‘wall art’, murals reminiscent of the exquisite hand drawn and painted murals by de Gornay for example.   Or photographic colour reproduction so accurate as to be incredulous, exotic landscapes.

Libreria, Fornasetti Senza Tempo by Cole & Son. Photo courtesy of Cole & Son.

So now that Spring is in the air, get going with trying something new in your home.   Be adventurous and redecorate a wall with one of the huge variety of different styles on offer.   And don’t worry, these papers are usually produced on non-woven bases, which means they are really easy to hang yourself.   You simply put the paste directly onto the wall and apply the paper, with enough time to move it into position.   

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