orange feature wall

You Choose

If you want a valance over the kitchen window, put one up. If you want to paint one wall of your living room orange, go ahead and do it. If you still love that peculiar 1990s floor lamp whose bobbing arm tentacles seem to take over the whole room, leave it in place.

1990's kitchen valance
An out-of-fashion valance can make the whole room look a tad tired.
updated kitchen valance
Or you could update to a bit more current style.












More frequently than you would think, I am asked if a particular decor item, style or element is ‘in’ or ‘out.’ I think the things that go ‘out’ — and tend not to come back, — are trends. These things date your home. Sometimes you want to keep them, and it’s OK to do that, but realize that your room will look dated with dated, trendy elements. Like wallpaper borders of fruit bowls or chickens marching around the ceiling in the kitchen. Or stacked glass backsplashes.

kitchen with chicken border
But, if YOU like it, who cares?
What decade was this installed? That's called 'date-stamping.'
What decade was this installed? That’s called ‘date-stamping.’









Or feature walls. And it’s probably not a bad idea, generally, to avoid these things. They can really date-stamp your home. If that is something you care about.

orange feature wall bedroom
What was the first thing you noticed about this room? I bet it wasn’t the pretty bedspread.

Good interior decorating starts with function, and that includes how the decorating fits the lifestyle of the homeowners. If orange fits your lifestyle go ahead and use it, just maybe not a whole wall would suffice.

nice orange bedroom
Orange, yes, but the bed is the focal point, not the wall.


I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on feature walls, but here is what I know about them:

Way back in the 90s, the housing boom gave us big rooms in big houses which were built quickly, seemingly without one iota of thought given to style. So there were no architectural interests in most rooms. Like fireplaces or arches, or bay window seats. Just big rectangular rooms.

So, to give these rooms a focal point, we painted one wall a contrasting color. ( Eye goes to the area of greatest contrast first; just like it did in the orange feature wall room.). Gradually, we learned to create interest with art, area rugs, furniture groupings, spectacular beds and great accessories; the odd-colored wall became a hindrance and was painted out. And for that I am, personally, thankful.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t have one. I’ll repeat:”If you want to paint one wall of your living room orange, go ahead and do it.” Just please be aware of what you are doing, and how it will affect the room, before you do that. There are online free sites from the paint companies that allow you to upload your own photo and paint the walls. ( one is It’s a lot less expensive than a few gallons of paint. Or, better yet, call someone like me who can do renderings for you of what the room will look like with the new color, and who can advise you on alternatives.

William Morris, (the “grandfather” of modern interior design), said: “ I do not believe you should have anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”


morris print upholstered sofa
A print designed by William Morris in 1876. Good design never goes out of style.



So there is my rant about in and out. I’ll keep answering the question, I’m sure, but it would be really great if you would stop following trends and just do what you want to do. Do what feels right, do what makes you happy.

After all, you live in your home — not a bunch of advice-giving self-described poo-bahs.

And remember, too, that free advice is often worth what you paid for it.  (Samuel Goldwyn)



Here is the orange wall before and what it could look like without the orange. It’s not a perfect reproduction, but you get the idea. On the orange-walled room, your eye zips to the orange and white fireplace, in the other the sofa catches your eye first. And that is what makes it inviting, your eye says ‘here is the place to sit and chat.


 2 rooms orange wall

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