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lisboa cork feature wall tiles by spinnneybeck in office

The Cork Feature Wall: This Year’s Hottest Decorating Trend

You know me; I’m on a new trend like white on rice.

Even if the trend seems a little odd, I still love to read about it, check it out in people’s homes, and figure out how I might take inspiration from it for my own space – or a client’s home.

Last month on the blog I showcased three big interior design trends that are going to land this year (Extreme Nature, Urban Warrior, Muddy & Muted). But there are also smaller, decorating trends that are landing over the next 12 months.

The cork feature wall is one such trend I’ve been seeing a lot of lately, and I’ve gotta say: I’m 100% on board with it. I love experimenting with texture on walls, so it gets them thumbs up from me for that element alone (seriously, when did everyone become so fearful of doing things to their walls?).

corkboard wallpaper design in living room with white fabric sofa and industrial table lamp

Cork Feature Walls: Form meets Function

What I also love about a cork feature wall is that its so utilitarian; not only does it look good but it serves a purpose too. Functionality in any space is always a bonus, and I like that you can use the cork wall to pin things on. A home office, as you’ll see in the slideshow below, is ripe for a cork wall installation, but there are other spaces in your home that you can rock it in, too.

Too scared to use cork en masse?

No worries! There are wallpapers you can buy in cork patterns if you want to ease into this trend (stockist info here). The photo above is an example of this and it would still make an impact even in a small strip.

Cork can also be used in interesting ways outside of your walls. Think benches, tables and even on floors. I’ll show you some ideas on this in the slideshow below also, along with some ways you can use it in smaller doses on walls.

cork feature wall in bohemian bedroom with dreamcatcher and concrete floorcork feature wall in scandinavian home office with timber floorboards and custom cabinetrycork feature wall in home office with concrete floorNatural cork wallcoveringcork bench seat in warehouse apartment with terracotta pot plantscork dining table with black chairs and glass pendantcork board cutouts on wall in reading nook with mahogany armchair and black floor lamp

Style Tips for your Cork Feature Wall

  1. Cork is quite a warm material. You can easily have the room swallowed up by it unless you balance it out with some cooler colours and textures.
  2. You can apply a cork feature wall in large doses, but make sure you surrounded it with crisp white or a cooler tone to ensure the room feels balanced.
  3. It would also be wise to pair it with harder textures too; concrete, slate, steel, glass. Because cork is so soft and squishy, the room you install it in will feel well resolved if you introduce some of these hard elements.
  4. Black-and-white spaces (like this bedroom) bode well for a cork feature wall, so if you love a monochromatic palette, definitely give it a go.

Are you loving the cork feature wall? I’d love to get your take on this trend in the comments below.

Image credits: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Outside of writing the TLC Interiors blog, Chris is an interior stylist and author. You can also catch him on your TV screens as a designer on Channel 10's Changing Rooms. If you'd like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

Comments (3)

  • Justine

    I LOOOOVE cork! I purposely installed it in our 1981 house that we were “sympathetically renovating” (think lime green silestone benches to replace the green laminate ones etc).

    The local shopping centre has glossy cork walls with warm white LED strips and chocolate stained wood and Calcutta marble floors with brass inserts. Yum!

    My aunt’s 70/80s house came with a cork board wall in the kitchen for photos/ notices etc. she said it was what she missed most when she upsized to a new place.

    IKEA has delicious cork and black dining furniture

  • Kim

    I’m with you Justine. My parents put it into their house which they built in downstairs sometime in the early 80’s. The flooring has only been sealed once and looks as fab-o now as it did then. Plus it’s warm and acoustically brilliant.


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