Finding the right curtains for your feature wall

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Having a feature wall is an opportunity to get creative with colours and patterns in your home; they liven up a space and accentuate a room’s focal point. Here are our tips on getting your feature wall right and matching the perfect curtains with it too.

Dos & don’ts of feature walls

DON'T just select a wall at random. A good feature wall is one that highlights the room's existing focal point. A focal point is where the eye is drawn, where the TV or a fireplace and mantelpiece is in lounge or behind the headboard in the bedroom, for example.

DO make sure the colour or pattern you choose complements the rest of the room. Don’t go bold just for the sake of it.

DO make it a highlight not just another element. The key is in the word ‘feature’; it is the main event so if a room is already quite crowded it’s probably not the right place for a feature wall.

DO use feature walls to define spaces. If you live in an open plan home using blocks of colour can highlight a certain area and give it an invisible periphery.

DO consider materials other than paint and wallpaper, eg. tile, stone and reclaimed wood.

DO opt for paint when you want an easy, cost-effective way to update your space.

DON'T be afraid of wallpaper. It’s not that hard to DIY and modern wallpapers are a lot easier to remove than their predecessors.

DON'T do a feature wall in a small space as it will make it look even smaller. You're far better off covering all the walls in a small room no matter how bold or bright.

Coordinating curtains and colour schemes

Choosing the colour scheme will be very personal and it all comes down to what you want your home to look like, but here are some tips to guide you along.

Repeat the wall colour – either choose a patterned fabric in which the wall colour features or go for the same shade (or one or two lighter or darker) to blend the wall and curtains together and give the illusion of more space.

Go monochrome – this means ‘one colour’. Choose solid coloured curtains in a noticeably lighter or darker shade the same colour as your walls, eg. mint green with forest green.

Complementary colours - these are the colours directly opposite one another on a colour wheel. Choose a patterned fabric that features a complementary colour to the feature wall, eg. a yellow feature wall contrasts beautifully with a fabric with splashes of mauve. Or vice versa, a patterned wallpaper teamed with curtain fabric in a solid colour found within that pattern.

Embrace the versatility of neutrals - neutrals work well with almost every colour and with other neutrals too, regardless of whether it’s a block colour or pattern. Just make sure you have multiple shades happening around the room to avoid a stark look. Neutrals also work well to tone down very strong colours.

Anneke by Scion Levande

Fabric type

Different fabric types have different weaves, thickness and weights. All these factors affect how they drape and therefore how they look in the room with your feature wall.

Polyester – durable, lightweight and easy to care for. Good option for bedroom or living room curtains but not kitchens as it’s flammable and absorbs odors. Consider choosing a darker colour for homes with children or high-traffic areas, as it can be tricky to get out stains.

Cotton – lightweight with a crisp, clean feel. Suits traditional or modern decorating styles. Drapes well, good option for all rooms.

Silk – heavier, drapes well. Romantic, sophisticated look that’s ideal for bedrooms or formal dining rooms. Mainly dry clean only. Deteriorates with lots of natural light exposure. Rayon is a man-made alternative to silk if you prefer.

Viscose - Made from rayon, popular for its soft and silky appearance and feel. Drapes well. Dyes well so available in all colours. Economical luxury.

Linen – billowy and relaxed look and feel. Perfect for a casual dining area, airy bedroom, or contemporary living area. Typically dry clean only.

Velvet – thick, rich and heavy. Drapes well. Offer a polished, regal look ideal for formal, classic or traditionally styled décor.

Pattern on pattern?

Believe it or not, when done well, it’s not too much! It’s just a matter of coordinating and complimenting. Here are some tips on how to get it right:

  • Know what kind of look you want to go for, eg. florals have a feminine vibe, stripes can be either contemporary or classic, animal prints are exotic and eclectic.
  • Use at least three patterns in a room and vary the scale.
  • Try to use colors of the same intensity or hue, eg. don’t mix pastels with jewel tones.
  • Distribute patterns evenly throughout the room, don’t let them dominate one side more than any other.
  • Break them up with solids. Using too many patterns on top off each other can feel chaotic.
  • Patterns don’t have to be different colors, try tone-on-tone patterns for elegance with character.

Isobars by James Dunlop

Learn what to consider in picking the right curtains for your home

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