The Insider’s Look at the Accent Wall

The Insider’s Look at the Accent Wall

So you want an accent wall?

Prepare yourself.

* * *Disclaimer: Accent walls divide interior designers like Social Security divides Democrats and Republicans. This article will attempt to remain bipartisan.* * *

As a rule, accent walls are done incorrectly. Many a homeowner, driven half-batty by seas of white walls, splashes the last wall with puce, and no one can figure out why the wall never truly works.The truth is, an accent wall is not chosen; it is found. Not any wall can be an accent wall, nor can any color be an accent color.

How Do You Choose the Wall?

An accent wall serves one of three purposes:

• It highlights interesting architecture, such as soffits, built-ins, fireplaces, bump-outs or large windows.
• It showcases important artifacts, such as a trophy case, guitar rack or family photograph collage.
• It remedies a room’s visual imbalances, such as a dining room otherwise too deep to feel intimate.

An accent wall must have a clearly defined focal point. If its architecture does not supply one, then you must. An accent wall in a bedroom, for instance, could serve as a headboard for a bed.

What Do You Put on the Wall?


The color of your accent wall depends on your personality. If you’re a colorphile, then you can make red and white stripes, cover the wall with geometric stenciling, or indulge your inner Jackson Pollack. If you’re a colorphobe, then you can paint the accent wall a slightly darker or lighter shade as the rest of the room for a soft tonal difference.

Whether you choose a “warm” or “cool” color depends on three factors:

The other hues in the room. To keep things interesting don’t pair colors warm-warm or cool-cool.
The orientation of the windows. Warm colors belong on walls that receive northern or eastern sunlight. Cool colors belong on southern and western-facing walls.
The proportions of the room. Whereas a warm color foreshortens your perception of distance, a cool color lengthens it. If you were to paint the end of a hallway, yellow would make it look shorter, and blue would make it look longer.


Think beyond drywall. You can slather paint on just about anything: reclaimed barn wood siding, corkboard, etched glass, porcelain tile, plywood, etc.

Accent Wall Don’ts

• An accent wall in a small room may steal its innate intimacy.
• Two accent walls may never occupy the same room.
• Elongated rooms may benefit from an accent ceiling rather than wall.

You can learn a lot on the Internet: how to fight a shark, backup your hard drive, even the fundamentals of accent walls. But some things work better with practice. That’s where we come in.  Stephens Painting, we have over 30 years of experience serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. Let’s paint that wall together. And no, it won’t be puce.