In Australia, most interior house walls are painted white, or a colour close to white like cream of off-white. But it's popular to make one wall of a room a feature wall; an accent wall in a different colour designed to create some contrast and a focal point for furniture and other items. 

In this step-by-step guide we'll explain the best way to prepare and paint your feature wall. And if you have any questions about any of the tips in this guide, or you want to buy any of the products we've talked about, have a chat with the experts at First things first...

Should I have a feature wall?

It's an important question! Before you get into the how, you should first decide whether or not a feature wall (or multiple feature walls) is right for your colour palette, decor, and existing interior design features. Do you have specific pieces of art that lend themselves to being presented on a feature wall? Do you have a colour scheme that includes a colour that would make for a suitable accent wall? A feature wall might feel out of place if you have a more traditional decor as they are an idea more associated with modern design.

Feature walls are great, but you should first make sure that a feature wall fits into the overall look and feel you're trying to achieve for your house.

But if a feature wall is really the direction you want to go, you've come to the right place. Let's get into the steps for painting a feature wall...


1. Choose a paint colour.

Colour choice is based on a few different things. For a start, your base wall colour will make a difference. If your base wall colour is closer to a cream or bone colour, a tan accent wall might look odd. Likewise, if your walls are a stark white, black or dark blue could feel oppressive or bleak.

Most interior designers will suggest a colourful wall accent colour; a bright colour you can then pick up in furniture items and accessories elsewhere in the room. Bold colours are the definition of a feature wall; something completely different when every other wall in the room is white. Bright colour paint can also provide a good background for a feature item like a television or painting, especially if the painting already has a similar colour theme. Alternatively, you could consider hanging prominent art on the wall opposite to your feature wall to really bring a room together.

A colour consultant or colour expert can help you establish a strong colour theme and can provide you with advice and guidance about the best way to blend colours to achieve the look you're after. Check out some colour swatches, consider some darker paint colours, and decide which colour suits your project. Once you've made your colour selection, you're ready to start preparing your wall.


2. Prepare your wall.


Start by patching and sanding any cracks or small holes, or replacing any plasterboard as required. If you're starting with a freshly painted room (in your base wall colour) you shouldn't have much repair work to do.

Using clean water, a clean brush, and sugar soap, clean the entire wall and be sure to remove any dust, dirt or grime. Be careful when cleaning with water around power sockets and if you're worried, you can turn your electricity off at the power box for a little while.

If you have a grey wall or white wall to begin with, make sure to remove any streaks or marks that might be visible through your new paint colour.

Then it's time to sand your wall. Use a large grit sandpaper to smooth away any imperfections, marks and scratches, then use a smaller-grit sandpaper to produce a smooth surface. Once you have finished sanding, clean the surface of your wall with a damp microfibre cloth, being sure to remove all dust. Any remaining dust or residue can affect your paint and finish quality, so this step is critical.


3. Protect other surfaces.

Especially where you have adjoining walls, it is important to protect nearby surfaces. There's nothing worse than a feature wall, and then clean white walls next to it with drips of paint in the feature wall colour. Protect your walls by applying painter's tape, following any manufacturer's instructions to ensure tape is applied right to the edges.

You can use painter's tape to hold down wider sections of protective material, and some products include both tape and protective material in one to make protecting adjoining walls quick and easy.

You'll also need to protect your floors, including any carpets, timber floorboards, tiles or linoleum. Use a canvas or plastic drop sheet and make sure to apply tape along the edges so there are no gaps. Make sure to protect your skirting boards as well as your floors, adjoining walls, and ceiling.

PaintAccess has a wide range of painters tape and surface protection products to suit every feature wall project.

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4. Paint.

If your wall has sections of different colour, or has a surface other than plasterboard and an older layer of paint, you may need to consider a 3-in-1 primer, sealer and undercoat. A 3-in-1 product might also be useful if your base wall colour is significantly different to that of your accent colour.

Start by using brushes for "cutting in" and paint a 150-200mm section around each of the edges. Paint right to the corners; your painter's tape and surface protection will ensure you don't paint where you shouldn't.

Then use a paint roller for larger areas between your cut-in sections. Use smooth, continual roller-strokes to apply paint evenly, working back and forth in the same pattern as mowing a lawn.

Though it requires additional preparation, BorisDoes has a range of DIY airless paint sprayers that make the process of painting much faster. Our experts can show you how to set them up, and how to use them which makes airless paint spraying for your feature wall a viable option.

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5. Clean up.

If you have used a water-based paint, clean-up should be relatively easy. Take care to wash any bright coloured paint out of brushes and rollers and seal them in plastic so that they can be used again. This is particularly important if you plan to use your brush or roller again to paint another feature wall elsewhere.

If you're painting your wall in a base colour first (like Dulux White on White) make sure to clean your brushes and rollers between colours and even between coats of the same colour, using a clean container of water each time.

PaintAccess has a great range of clean-up products including buckets, special brush and roller cleaners, gloves, and cleaning chemicals. Have a chat to our friendly PaintAccess team about your clean-up needs - we can ship to anywhere in Australia.



As you can see from this quick-and-easy how-to guide, creating the contemporary feature wall of your dreams is a piece of cake! Whether you're producing a classic feature wall on which to present your distinctive wall decor or you're here looking for creative wall paint ideas, PaintAccess are here to support your next project.

We have the widest range of paint and paint accessories and we ship Australia-wide. That means you can complete your bedroom feature wall, living room feature wall, or kitchen feature wall project and achieve the result you want.

And if you're in Sydney you can visit our bricks and mortar stores at St Leonards and Matraville. At Matraville, check out our Testing Bar where you can try before you buy. That's right, you can test paint and painting accessories in-store before you take them home, so you know you have exactly what you need to get the job done.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much paint will I need?

Estimates from suppliers and from our tradie and DIY customers is that 1 litre of paint will cover around 6m2 of wall surface, maybe a bit more. That means that if you're painting a feature wall in a standard bedroom or living room you'll need between 2 and 3 litres, and a small 5 litre tin should allow you to finish a wall with two coats and perhaps paint a few other furniture items to pick up the same accent colour elsewhere in the room. 

Other than painting, do I have any other options for a feature wall?

Absolutely! Plenty of Pinterest boards have wood feature wall ideas, and there are plenty of places you can buy trendy wall paper if that's what you'd like to do instead. There's no hard-and-fast rule that says you need to paint your walls, even your feature walls. But PaintAccess has all the paint and accessories you need if you want to follow the advice and feature wall ideas above.

How can I find a professional painter if I don't want to do it myself?

PaintAccess' partner business BorisDoes is an Australian task marketplace designed to connect customers who need tasks completed with the tradies and professionals capable of completing them. There are Australian painters located in every state ready to help you with your feature wall painting project. Register today, start a task or request a quote, and painters near you can provide you with estimates right away. You could be enjoying your new feature wall within a matter of days!