There seems to be a lot of differing opinions when it comes to painting accent walls. I’ve seen them where they don’t work at all. Either the paint was too loud, or there was no real rhyme or reason why a particular wall was painted a contrasting color.
Here are a few ways that I think accent walls (sometimes called “focal walls”) do work in design:
To define a space. You may remember that I painted a navy accent wall in our last house. The floor plan was so open, and I wanted the living room to feel cozier and more like its own space. (I used Stunning by Benjamin Moore.)
To highlight a room’s architecture. I especially like this look of defining the fireplace by painting the space around and above the mantel. I think this look works best with a deep, neutral shade, or even a deeper shade of the existing wall color.
To create a dramatic backdrop. Since the bed kind of creates its own “focal point”, bedrooms are a great place to pull out the accent wall trick. With the dark wall color, you barely notice—or need—a headboard in this room.
A patterned accent wall can also be a great way to do something bold without suffocating your entire room with pattern:
(I did something similar in my daughter’s room in our last house here.)
To warm up a light, neutral space. If everything else in your space is on the safe side, painting one dark wall is an easy, do-in-a-day project that that can add some instant warmth to your room. (Plus, it’s low commitment if you want to change it back later. . .) As you can tell from most of these example photos, I like accent walls in dark, bold colors best. They command attention and instantly make lighter upholstery and furniture “pop.”
To add depth. This photo is a great example of how adding a high contrast color in the right place can make your room feel larger or a make a little spot something special.
What do you think about accent walls? Yay or nay?