A feature wall is a simple but effective way to give a room a focal point and, depending on the effect you choose, can be quick and easy to do.
You can create a feature wall in pretty much any room - chimney breasts, alcoves and walls behind beds - but there will be some rooms without a suitable wall, so it's something to decide on a room-by-room basis.
Adding colour and/or pattern to one wall is the most obvious way to create a feature. When choosing a paint colour, it pays to try out some tester pots first to see how the colours work with the other walls and the rest of the room.
If you need to use masking tape, FrogTape (from £6.98, B&Q) is a good choice because it uses PaintBlock technology, which reacts with emulsion to form a barrier that stops the paint from bleeding under the tape.
Painted stripes look fab on a feature wall, but you'll have to use low-tack masking tape, or wait a few days between doing adjoining stripes - try a tester piece of tape first.
Wallpaper is another great way to create a feature wall - if you want stripes the easy way, buy a striped design.
Feature walls enable you to go to town with wallpaper without it overpowering the room or making it look too busy. You can even create a horizontal feature on all four walls by hanging wallpaper between a picture rail and cornicing, between a picture and dado rail or, more traditionally, below a dado rail.
Perhaps you like the idea of adding texture to a room but not necessarily colour? This is easy to do with wallpaper - use a paintable textured wallpaper for your feature wall, and paint it the same colour as the other walls. Textured wallpaper is also an effective way to conceal a less-than-perfect wall.
Murals are similar to wallpaper, but usually depict a scene (a beach, city, jungle, mountains, fields, etc) or a large-scale design, such as typography or a map, rather than a more conventional pattern. Unlike wallpaper, which can be hung on as many or as few walls as you like, a mural is usually designed to be used on just one wall.
You can have one of your own photos made into a mural, or choose an off-the-shelf image/design or one from an image library - some offer thousands of choices. Murals come in standard sizes or made to measure (perfect for a feature wall) and you can even get them for ceilings, doors, garages and more.
Feature walls can be practical as well as pretty. For example, you can have a tiled one in a bathroom or shower room, and a chalkboard one in a kitchen or playroom. Chalkboard paints are available in different colours, so your feature wall doesn't have to be black.
If you'd prefer something less permanent, how about a chalkboard sticker? Wall stickers in general are fantastic for feature walls because they come in so many different designs, colours and sizes, enabling you to create a unique look.
For a really personal feature wall, which is especially nice at this time of year when friends and family are visiting, group together lots of framed photos on one wall. The key is to have a theme, such as all black and white prints, or frames the same colour, to avoid it looking a mishmash. This will take some time and trouble to get right, but the effort will be worth it.
Product of the week
If you fancy giving a wooden floor a new look for the new year, how about painting it? Nothing beats the purity of white walls and white-painted floorboards.
Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Paint in White (£29.98 for 2.5ltr, B&Q) works on stone and concrete floors, as well as floorboards, and the finish is hard wearing and slip, scuff and scratch resistant, so there's no room it's not suitable for.
It's also designed to resist flaking, peeling and chipping, as well as dirt, grease and bleach. Best of all, it's water based, so it's really easy and nice to apply and it dries quickly, perfect if you need to use the room again soon.
Before painting wooden floorboards, apply a couple of coats of wood primer/undercoat.
The first coat should be diluted with around 10% white spirit so it soaks into the wood better.
If you're painting new floorboards, save yourself time and effort by using quick-drying Ronseal Knot Block Wood Primer & Undercoat (from £11.99 for 750ml, Screwfix, www.screwfix.com).
Unusually and cleverly, it seals the knots for you, meaning you don't have to apply knotting solution to them first. Because it's usually dark brown, knotting solution is hard to conceal with pale paint - you have to do a lot of coats - but Ronseal Knot Block is white, so covering it isn't a problem with a pale-coloured topcoat.