Accent Wall Ideas

Sure, a room can look stylish and elegant without an accent wall. But once you add a concentrated splash of color and pattern, you'll take the design to a bold new level.

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Wallpapered Accent Wall

An accent wall is a portion of a room that has a special treatment—and therefore garners special attention. Some walls become a focal point by default because they house the wide-screen TV, fireplace, or another naturally dominant feature. A deliberate accent wall has a decorative component to it: It may be painted a bold color that's different than the other walls. It might be the only wall covered in artistic wallpaper. Or you might choose to arrange your complete collection of vintage posters on an accent wall. The effect of this narrowly focused dose of design is to boost the room to a new level of liveliness. And it doesn't have to cost much. The point of an accent wall is to pack tons of style into a small area, so you often don't have to invest in a lot of materials to make the wall sing. As you can see in this room, the accent wall pushes aside the utilitarian feel of the space by introducing pattern and a touch of femininity—all with just a few feet of wallpaper.

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Be Bold

Choose a roll of solid-color wallpaper or a quart of paint to amplify the color and pattern in a room. The trick to creating a single-color accent wall is to choose a color that is boldly different but still works with the overall design of the room. A random wall of raspberry pink won't make sense unless there's something else in the room that ties in to that color. The bright orange hue of this bedroom accent wall is picked up in the pillow pattern and the duvet. This accent wall performs an important function: It helps highlight the dramatically large headboard. Pushed against an ivory wall, the ornate headboard shape would not stand out and be as appreciated.

Architectural Accent Wall

Accent walls don't have to scream at you to get attention. Though bold treatments can be a lot of fun, a subtle shift in color, pattern, or texture is also effective in elevating the design of a space. In this bedroom, vertical pieces of wood attached to the wall create a paneled look behind the bed. Painted all one shade of cloud white, it's a soft-spoken, gentle approach that still draws the eye.

Maximize a Focal Point Feature

When choosing where to put your accent wall, it makes sense to take the natural focal point in a room and exaggerate it. Picking another wall sets up an uncomfortable competition, and you're left wondering what you should be looking at—the television or the decorative paint treatment. In a living room, this feature might be the fireplace, so the accent wall treatment should incorporate it. In a bedroom, it's the wall around the headboard. In a kitchen, the focal point is often the range or cooktop. Here, the design of the kitchen establishes the range/vent hood as the attention-getting feature, and it makes an accent wall statement out of bright tiles. Rather than stop at the backsplash, the tiles continue up the wall, integrating the hood and establishing visual dominance.

Shiplap Dreams

Farmhouse style is here and here to stay thanks to its signature feature, shiplap plank walls. This unique wall covering modernizes the barnyard look with crisp white and lots of natural light, though you can opt for shiplap in a darker color for a dramatic effect. Shiplap gives your walls depth and texture you can't recreate with a quart of paint. To really make your shiplap stand out, only accent the lower half of a wall. The split look draws the eye in and gives your kitchen or dining room that sought-after cozy country feel.

When in Doubt, DIY

It's tough finding the right paint or wallpaper that stands up to the vision in your head. To make sure your accent wall is done right, take matters into your own hands with a weekend DIY project. If your hidden talent lies in the arts, try out a new painting technique, such as a sponge or ombre effect. For those not so artistically inclined, consider a wall patterned with washi tape designs or try your luck at stencils. No matter what you choose, be sure to practice, practice, practice before you even touch the wall. With a little planning and a lot of patience, the best feature in the room can be something envisioned and created by you.

All Natural

Make a statement indoors that's inspired by what's outside your windows. Trendsetters have embraced accent walls of floor-to-ceiling reclaimed wood planks for their ode to nature's beauty. The wood brings out gorgeous red tones and can be dressed to fit masculine or feminine styles alike. This look also complements the thriving indoor plant trend. Sit large succulents or houseplants close to your wood wall for a rustic vibe that's equally cozy and trendy. Although this accent wall might be more difficult than a quick coat of paint, its stunning effect is worth it.

Mural, Mural

Find your passions and let them surround you. Murals are great for adding personality to your home in a look-at-me kind of way. Buy larger-than-life murals from a home retailer or have one custom made to fit your family. World travelers can map out their next destination, and budding photographers can mount their favorite work for nonstop inspiration. No matter what you choose, you can bet this accent wall idea will be a conversation starter for years to come. 

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