A guide to feature walls and stone panels

Well...not quite! For so many years we have been told to ensure our walls are painted in as neutral a colour as possible if we want our houses to sell. Keeping to a colour palette that does not criss-cross the rainbow will give you the best chance of appealing to as wide a buyer’s market as possible. But there is more to life than beige, and injecting interest can help sell your house- by Françoise Murat

Well...not quite! For so many years we have been told to ensure our walls are painted in as neutral a colour as possible if we want our houses to sell. Keeping to a colour palette that does not criss-cross the rainbow will give you the best chance of appealing to as wide a buyer’s market as possible. But there is more to life than beige, and injecting interest can help sell your house.

It’s all about texture! Yes, wall paper can give us this wonderful mix of texture and colour but there are other ways to infuse your interior with a more architectural design and contemporary look.

FEATURE WALLS

We’ve all heard of feature walls – but what are they? A feature wall is a statement wall, a visual highlight in a particular room. It can be painted a different colour to the rest of the room, or wallpapered. It can be a bold contrast to a neutral palette or a subtle highlight to bring out the best of the room’s furnishings and features. In older properties it can form a fantastic backdrop to a focal point such as a fireplace and surround, but don’t ignore the potential to show off any feature you may have in a more contemporary room such as a smart gas fire.

STONE PANELS/CLADDING

More about fires later but first let’s look at the wall itself. Dreamwall.co.uk, a company based in N.E. England near Grimsby, has come up with some exciting stone panels that are a light as can be, don’t break the bank or look like an unfortunate seventies throwback! They look like stone but are not stone; the panels are made of high density polyurethane, polyester resin and real marble stone powder which make them both extremely lightweight and durable. There are currently over 60 styles, colours and textures available to allow you to drastically change the feel of a room. Delivered with mastic and paint to patch up the joints, it’s as easy as making up a puzzle! Each panel only weighs around 5-6kgs and come in 1m² panels, so much lighter than stone walls and a definite plus if you live in an apartment, have stud walls or want a feature wall on the second floor.

I like these walls because to update your living room, bedroom or special room it’s a quick and relatively simple DIY job for anyone. Although Hannah Coleman started the company in 2003 to target the residential market, the panels have been used by big names like Selfridges and River Island, amongst others, to create dynamic feature walls within their stores. From screamingly modern designs to a more rustic look, the panels are a fabulous way of inserting a little chic into any interior.

HIGHLIGHTING A FIRE

Not all cladding panels are created equal, and if you are thinking about using them around a fireplace ensure they have an M1 fire certification. Some of the more modern walls such as the White Cubic Panel from Dreamwalls (above) would look great with a contemporary fire. Modern fires have come a long way and designs are available to suit any property, from flueless gas fires, super “holes in the wall” designs and fire ribbon burners for example. Companies like www.cvo.co.uk produce contemporary, stylish designs and they are made in the UK.

Highlighting a stunning fireplace with a feature wall would make a real statement in anyone’s home.

Françoise Murat & Associates specialise in interior, garden & landscape design.

For more garden and interior design information visit us at www.francoisemurat.com