Accent walls, they have long been the subject of debate. Considered very non-cool for quite some time and to be honest back in my early days of designing spaces I hated them too. Most that I had seen made a room feel outdated. To be fair my first experience with an accent wall was a living room in our first house that had a faux painted texture and the accent wall was a darker version of brown faux texture. So ewww!! (not my doing! phew I can’t take credit for that one) Hence I wasn’t a fan, UNTIL I began exploring other ways to create a focal wall and how to make it fab! I am now a big proponent of them (if done right) as they can create so much interest in a space as it allows you to really go big and make a statement without a “whoa, what were you smoking?” comment from all who see it.
Some still hate them and that’s totally ok but I think it’s kind of like wallpaper, if you pick the right way to do it (pattern, colors, etc) you can totally transform a space for the better. Here are my tips for making an accent wall work, what I’ve done and some thoughts on what to avoid.
A shot of our dining room with the statement mural, I chose a complimentary gray for the walls around it. (I spy one of our pups Charlie, sneaky!)
TIP: One of my favorite ways to do a focal wall is a wallpaper mural. There are SO many ah-mazing murals out there and if wallpaper scares you check out Etsy! There are literally thousands of peel and stick murals to choose from in every style, color and pattern. You pretty much hang up a giant sticker with no commitment, it doesn’t get much better than that! You can always just grab a corner and peel it off if you change your mind or want to do something different.
TIP: Think complimentary to the other things you have going on in the space. If you go with a mural, pick a color from it that you love and is calming. For me I tend to pick big and bold accent wall colors/patterns so I go for a softer color for the rest of the walls. This does 2 things; it lets the mural shine without distraction and it keeps the room from feeling like too much is going on. Same goes for paint. I always choose a lighter shade for the remaining walls as a nod to the accent wall and DEFINITELY get a sample can (more on that below)
Here’s a shot of my Mom’s Oasis room, you can see how I chose the colors and the tester blocks of color on the walls here.
TIP: Paint. If you choose to do a focal wall with paint, see back to the last tip. Make sure it’s complimentary and looks GREAT together with the other wall color, it will give your space a feeling of cohesion. Get a sample can in the color you want to use for your accent wall and paint it right next to the color of the other walls. Do a nice big block and give it a couple of days. That way you can see it in different lighting and give yourself some time to walk by it, see it and really develop a sense of it being right or wrong. Our initial reactions aren’t always the right ones with design (trust me I know, I’ll just say it involves a bright sky blue master bedroom, a sad day a very sad day)
Here’s our basement family room, it was previously painted all the same soft gray color (BM’s Revere Pewter) which I love, but this space has no natural light, it was uninviting and felt expansive. Everything in here felt lost. By choosing a medium gray with purple undertones for the main wall, it grounds the room giving your eye somewhere to land and guides you to “come hang out here.” It’s not overwhelming or overpowering it just does a fab job of warming up the space and subtly anchoring everything.
Here is the master bedroom, a paint treatement that we did using bronze paint with patina (check out how here) The other walls are a very soft lavender color, which is very soothing and calming while the bronze treatment gives drama and glam.
TIP: Paint treatments. There are a variety of them and all are options. (just be sure you love the effect and compliment it with the other walls) I’ve done 2 metallic effects paint treatments as accent walls in 2 spaces. (Master Bedroom above and Family Room below)
Here is the family room wall with a copper paint and patina treatment (tutorial here) The other walls are (BM’s Revere Pewter) soft gray, since this whole area is open to the kitchen, dining, hallways, entry and bar I had to use a color that would look good with the copper treatment and not compete with it while going with the mural in the dining room. It’s all about balance and thinking of all the spaces together as a whole.
Bathroom accent wallpaper
TIP: How about using a patterned wallpaper? (regular or peel and stick) Think standard pattern not a mural, and stopping at the natural break of the walls. (again I can’t stress enough the complimentary tip above!!) Here I have a big bright pattern in our powder bath and only did one wall. Funny story it was supposed to be the whole room but SOMEBODY (I won’t say who, maybe me) didn’t order enough paper and found out during installation.
Of course being the big thinker on my feet, I decided to do the back wall (since it’s what you see from the door) and use large frames to frame pieces of the leftover paper for the other 2 walls. I know, I’m a genius (just forget about the mistaken order business). It turned into a happy accident as I think the hubs would have hated/been overwhelmed with this print covering the entire bathroom. But it made a HUGE difference in making this previously cavernous, no window, tiny space feel bright and airy!
TIP: Another idea, if you’re not a wallpaper fan, is using a stencil to create a focal wall. There are thousands and thousands in different sizes, shapes, styles and prices to choose from online. Or you can create your own (see how we made our own stencils for our diy plywood floor here). A cool effect for paint choices with a stencil would be a metallic gold, warm silver or brass colored pattern over a soft color. The sky is the limit with this one, you can create exactly what you want!
Wallpaper accent in the master bedroom closet
Accent walls are definitely a way to give a room depth, dramatic effect and completely change the feel/vibe of the space. I am a big fan, just consider the tips above and dive right in! I give accent walls a big YAY!!
Have you done an accent wall? What are your thoughts on them, are you yay or nay? I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences below! And if you’re inspired to do one after reading this post I’d love to hear about that too, new projects are always the bomb!!