Off the wall, on the wall

PHOTO: Off the wall, on the wall

Forget solid-hued feature walls to jazz up your home.

When it comes to drawing the eye to a single wall in a room, more off-the-wall ideas are catching on.

Feature walls, also known as accent or focal walls, have caught on among home owners here in the last couple of years. This is largely due to more people buying LCD televisions, says interior designer Arean Wong of Space Vision Design.

The 40-year-old says: "In the past, clients never asked us to design a feature wall. But with the LCD television, they want something that will hide wires. So we build a feature wall around the television."

He adds that feature walls have gone beyond having just a single solid colour, which was the common option when the trend first surfaced.

Citing a project he did with curvy glass panels, lit with LED lights against a black backdrop, he says: "Younger clients are also really into design, so they don't just want one colour. They don't mind trying new materials or different shapes."

Take Mr Yee Dingyang, 31, and Ms Lee Jing Jing, 29, who created a feature wall with cheery yellow stripes. A wire mesh panel runs the height of that wall and continues on the ceiling.

The married couple, who live in a four-room HDB flat in Ghim Moh Link, worked with interior designer Li Ziqi, 31, from Oats on the look.

The designer added white to the original paint colour, The Dulux All Sunshine, to create a lighter hue so that there were two shades to create the stripes. The couple then painted the stripes with MrLi, taking about five hours to complete the job.

Mr Yee, a wedding photographer who works from home, says: "We wanted to bring a little bit of the outdoors inside, so we added green, by having plants, and sunshine, through the colours."

Designer Li adds: "The decor of the whole apartment is about lines and angles, so using a single colour for this wall would be overpowering."

Besides, "it's a cheap option if you are on a budget", he says. "Paint is cheap and you can easily create the lines using masking tape."

While most designers and owners tend to stick to decorating a single wall, Architology's Bu Shukun designed three different-looking walls in the same space in a client's house.

The company was also the architect for the project.

Enter the terrace house in Upper Thomson Road and you are met with a green wall at the farthest end. Covered in lush greenery, it is fed by sunlight from a skylight, three storeys up.

Turn to the left and you will see a floor-to-ceiling television console and shelves that run the length of the room. On your right is a white brick wall with four portrait paintings that add pops of colour.

Owner Wong Siaw Wei, 33, is not worried about the room looking too busy because the white unifies the look of the space, even with the use of different textures.

The banker, who lives in the house with his wife and three young children, says: "We wanted the outside to extend to the inside of the house, which was why we chose a combination of outdoor materials such as brick walls and cement flooring.

"Our furniture also isn't matching, so three walls each with a different look in one space isn't a problem."

A pretty feature wall sometimes can be functional as well. Couple Jeannie Cheong, 28, and Jason Wong, 30, worked with interior designer Katy Chong of Artistroom to create a grid-patterned feature wall in their cafe-like kitchen.

The wall, of white tiles and black fillers, stands out in the couple's five-room HDB improved flat in Bukit Merah - all the other walls are plain white.

Ms Cheong, who entertains and cooks about once a week, says: "You don't have to worry about seeing the stains on the wall, and the tiles are easy to maintain."

Mr Jeremy Rowe, managing director of AkzoNobel Decorative Paints for South-east Asia and the Pacific region, says home owners tend to shy away from creative accents, preferring to stick to solid- colour feature walls. Others go overboard and incorporate too many ideas or hues into one wall.

He advises: "Decide which you prefer and don't overload the wall with too many design elements at one go."

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