Before you ask, let’s get it out of the way: an accent wall is just one wall in a room that’s painted a different color. Usually a much lighter, much darker, or more saturated color, but not always. An accent wall defines the room much more clearly than any one color applied to all four walls can. In fact, accent walls are a lot more like décor accessories than like interior paint. A painted accent wall can also highlight something like a treasured piece of furniture or your favorite artwork. It may also help create a seamless color flow from room to room. In either case, painted accent walls are a striking design element that can transform any room from ordinary to extraordinary.
Considering an accent wall in a living room or bedroom? As with any interior paint color decisions, it helps to think about what you’re trying to accomplish. A vibrant color can bring areas and elements of a room into focus and maximize the look of a smaller space. A warm color can make a space feel cozier. For instance, in a hallway that seems cavernous, a warm color accent wall at one end will make that length less obvious. On the other side of the spectrum, a cool color can visually expand a space. A single cool hued accent wall will make any room feel more expansive.
We mentioned vibrant colors specifically because many people use an accent wall to showcase a favorite bold color safely. Worried about too much dramatic color in one space? Painting one accent wall is a way to dip your toes in without a big commitment. There’s plenty of impact but the color doesn’t become overwhelming.
How to Paint Accent Walls
Now, which wall to choose… Remember that whatever wall is painted will draw the eye toward it, so whatever is along that wall will attract more attention than before. But consider that the same wall will lose a lot of its impact if it’s mostly obscured by a big china cabinet and a massive TV. On the other hand, a totally exposed accent wall with no furniture or artwork on it can be a little much. So when you’re deciding which wall will become your new accent wall don’t be afraid to move furnishings!
If you’re still not sure which wall works best, look at the room as it is right now. Do any of the walls seem like the right choice – do you get a gut feeling that there’s one option that makes more sense? Don’t ignore that hunch! A friend can help here, too. Have them walk into the room and tell you their first impressions. Which wall do they think ought to be enhanced with a new color? Why?
Once you’ve chosen your accent wall, it’s time to nail down a color choice. Maybe you already have one in mind based on the décor of the room – but maybe not. In that case, it’s time to work on choosing a color palette for the room as a whole. To pick an accent color, think of a color you adore and google some of its different shades. Blue might be sky blue, peacock, navy, teal, or a greenish Caribbean ocean blue. You can build a color palette around the accent wall or work in the opposite direction, choosing a color that works with the existing wall color. There’s no right or wrong way to make your decision.
In fact, you can even get creative with patterns and stencils. If you’re not comfortable painting a patterned accent wall you can explore the possibilities of wallpapering a single wall for extra pizzazz. Vinyl decals are another easy option – one that’s easy to experiment with because you can swap them out any time you want.
And there you have it! That’s the skinny on accent walls, from how to pick them to how to paint them!