Popular in Expert Advice

Accent Wall Ideas

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

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 these focal points by default because they house the wide-screen, 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 laundry room, the accent wall pushes aside the utilitarian feel of the space by introducing color, pattern, and a touch of femininity -- all with just a few feet of wallpaper.

Do It Yourself: Wallpapering 101

continue reading below

Play with Paint

A roll of wallpaper is a great way to amplify the color and pattern in a room, but you can do just as much with a quart of paint. The trick to creating an accent wall with just paint 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. In this bedroom, for instance, the robin's-egg blue hue of the 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.

Do It Yourself: How to Paint

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.

More Expert Advice


Loading... Please wait...