An accent wall is an excellent way to break up a large space, accentuate architectural features and artwork and add a sense of depth and character to an otherwise ordinary space.
But adding an accent wall isn’t just about painting one wall red. It’s about adding thoughtful, visual interest to a space. You don’t need a huge budget to create a fabulous custom look in your home with an accent wall. There are accent wall ideas no matter your taste or budget. Paint and wallpaper are the obvious choices, but there are other options.
Let me offer a few.
1. Choose a wall that’s farthest from the room’s entrance to be the accent wall. You will find that you are drawn into the space.
2. Don’t go overboard. Limit yourself to one fantastic accent wall per floor.
3. Choose the right color. How? Here’s my checklist to get that right:
▪ Choose a color because you love it, not because it’s currently trendy.
▪ Don’t be shy about it. Beige is not an accent. Pick a color that says “Hello, there!”
▪ Choose a color that will complement other colors in the space.
▪ A dark accent wall can add presence and maturity to a light or otherwise bland room. Consider tying in a few darker items in the room for balance.
▪ Always choose washable, high quality paint. Keep in mind that flat paint will attract dust and dirt, and does not reflect light.
▪ Avoid using dark colors in a small room with few or no windows so you don’t feel confined in the space.
4. Wallpaper isn’t just for walls. Think about applying it to the fifth wall: your ceiling. A ceiling can also be painted a color other than white. Paint your ceiling a soft blue, warm beige or even a shade with a hint of coral for a rosy glow.
5. Add some visual interest to a wall of built-in bookshelves by painting or wallpapering the back wall of each shelf to create an accent wall, and leave the shelves as they are. The items on the shelves will stand out in contrast.
6. A large-scale wall hanging of fabric and beaded trim creates an instant focal point.
7. Think about that wide, open stairwell wall. Why not jazz it up with color and texture?
8. Using monochromatic furnishings against a colorful accent wall can further increase its visual impact.
9. Keep in mind that choosing bold wall patterns in vertical stripes can make your ceiling appear higher, and horizontal stripes can make your room look larger.
10. Select a nature-based mural scene to add charm and character to any space.
11. Paint a fun chalkboard accent wall in a child’s room, kitchen or even a home office for added functionality.
12. Consider the bedroom headboard wall as a focal point for textured wallpaper with a geometric pattern. Even if the wallpaper is the same color as the other walls, it will add visual interest.
13. Who wouldn’t enjoy a large-scale old world map for accenting a wall in the den or study?
14. Changing the color, texture or lighting design on an entire fireplace wall can completely transform an ordinary wall into a major center of interest in the space.
15. Wrap your favorite fabric over a large, wood-framed canvas, or mix up the size and shapes of them to create an interesting art grouping for an accent wall.
16. Use different shapes and sizes of mirrors in a grouping to create an accent wall to reflect light and make the space feel larger. The frames do not need to be matchy-matchy. Go eclectic and mix your styles. Visual balance is key here.
17. Fabric can be used in a way similar to wallpaper to create a memorable accent wall. In a bedroom, an accent wall could even double as the headboard.
18. Make a statement using natural materials, such as tile or stacked stone, floor to ceiling, for a stunning, sophisticated look. (Make sure to have a professional installer do this for you as there can be additional reinforcement requirements.)
19. Using stencils and the combination of flat and glossy paint that are the same color can provide a look of luxurious wallpaper.
20. Reclaimed wood planking on an accent wall can add an interesting, earthy effect. Use it stacked close together or spaced with the exposed wall painted a different color. Mix it up.
Smart choices for accent walls
▪ Stikwood products are cost-effective peel-and-stick wood planking, made from reclaimed and sustainable wood and sourced within the United States. It costs $10 to $14 per square foot. stikwood.com
▪ Tempaper is a type of temporary wallpaper that is self-adhesive and removable. It uses a water-based adhesive that is environmentally safe and friendly. It’s convenient for renters and those who don’t want to make a long-term commitment. It is available at Target for less than $15 per roll.
▪ Paintable White Wallpaper is strong and durable and covers minor cracks and bumps on walls. It can be painted with any interior paint to complement your style, and it’s washable. What a simple way to add texture and visual appeal. It’s available at Home Depot for about $20 per roll.
Don’t be afraid to get creative by adding color, texture and pattern to a room. It can be fun, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot as it’s just one wall. You will be surprised by just how much you’ll be drawn to that space.
The designers who participate in the N&O’s Meet The Designer series are members of the Alliance of Interior Designers, allianceofinteriordesigners.org.
Meet the designer
Deborah Beaman is the owner and lead designer of Interiors by Deborah Beaman LLC, located in the Crabtree Valley Mall area of Raleigh. Contact her at 919-423-0162 or at BeamanInteriors.com.