My first and only feature wall experiment happened in my last Vancouver apartment back around 2006. The whole place was 1200 square feet, with two different living rooms (one upstairs, one down). The downstairs one was, as a result, a nice space for experimentation. I used it to try out vintage finds and things I was a bit too nervous to go for on the main level. Like the feature wall.
I'd say it was a success. Using a can of deep blue paint, bought on sale for a mere $10 (it was somebody else's returned mistint), I did the base colour. After it dried, I used painters tape to frame out freehand squares all over the wall. I didn't use a ruler or a level, I just went for it. I tried to make the pattern random and loose, figuring I could always add to it later. Using a single tube of gold acrylic art paint from the craft store, I painted in the squares with an art brush. I peeled off the tape, and voila! Feature wall.
I truly loved this wall. I loved the way the squares reflected the afternoon light. I loved the deepness of the blue, and that it wasn't too cheery. And I loved how it made my vintage furniture look. Speaking of which, here some other key pieces in the room and where I found them:
Brown velvet sofa (bed), Value Village, $40.
Tulip base coffee table, Sellution, $200
Mid Century armchair, Sellution, $75
Brown credenza, Value Village, $19.99
I think the lesson here is that not everything has to be a big production. Painting a single wall is SO much easier and less stressful than doing a whole room. And when furniture is this cheap, you might as well be bold. Why not buy that $20 credenza? Worst case scenario: you only wasted $20 (which you could probably make back reselling the thing on Craigslist, anyway).
Oh, and in case you're wondering, the guitar is a copy of a Gibson Les Paul by Vantage. I bought it on Commercial Drive the summer I was 15. At the time, it was the most expensive purchase I'd ever made. I can't help keeping it around. To this day, it makes me feel cool.