How to Create an Accent Wall

Accent walls are all the rage—but if you don’t do it right, it looks less designer and more like a game of “Which of These Doesn’t Belong?” There are many elements that go into an accent wall: choosing which wall to paint, what color to paint it, and how to decorate it. Using a few rules from the pros on creating accent walls makes it easy.

But first, there are a few things you need to know about how colors work to make your accent wall successful. Dark colors are more dramatic, and also make a space feel smaller unless you balance them with lighter colors. Same goes for large-scale prints. Bright colors and colors that contrast are going to draw your eye to them immediately.

Photo: Ty Pennington

Photo: Ty Pennington

Color changes also help define a space by breaking it up visually. This is better suited for large rooms or open floor plans. If you use too many colors in a space, it’s going to feel smaller than it is.

  1. Choose your wall wisely. The accent wall is going to draw your eye immediately, and it’s going to highlight whatever is on it. A bold color or pattern may be too much if it’s the first thing you see when you enter a room, but may work great on the entry wall. The wall facing a window will also get the most light in the room. That may make a dark color placed there seem lighter during the day. Also consider what furniture is where in the room. An accent wall can also help draw attention away from features that you don’t like in the room, making them less prominent.

    Photo: Benjamin Moore

    Photo: Benjamin Moore

  2. Pick your color carefully. Colors with high contrast are going to demand more attention. If you choose a dramatic color, try using more low-key décor and neutral colors elsewhere in the room. Also keep in mind that accent walls don’t have to be solid—prints, patterns, stripes and designer wallpapers are a great way to create interest, too.
  3. Create a focal point. Since the viewer’s eye is automatically drawn to an accent wall, it makes sense to give them something to look at. This can be done by placing a bed on the accent wall in a bedroom. You can choose to paint a wall with a beautiful picture window, a fireplace or French doors, or putting a large mirror or art piece on an accent wall to give your accent purpose. If you are using a pattern or wallpaper, that may serve as enough interest without adding other elements.
Erin Hayes Burt

Erin Hayes Burt

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three girls. She enjoys yoga and reading non chick-lit fiction when she's not translating the ramblings of toddlers or training for her next half marathon.
Erin Hayes Burt

Latest posts by Erin Hayes Burt (see all)



Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three girls. She enjoys yoga and reading non chick-lit fiction when she's not translating the ramblings of toddlers or training for her next half marathon.


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