ACCENT WALLS..Some Ideas for Painting or Wallpapering an Accent Wall in your Home

Personalize your home with accent walls

Personalize your home with accent walls

Have you ever come across a bold patterned or dark-colored wallpaper that you just loved? Would you like to paint a room a bright or deep color, but are afraid that in the end it would be too much? Instead of putting that paper or paint on all four walls in a room, do it as an accent wall instead.

By painting or papering a single accent wall you have the best of both worlds. You get to have the bold, bright or dark, but to make it easy to live with you will be pairing it with lighter paint colors.

Places to locate accent walls.. Accent walls can be located in every room in your house. You can do an accent wall in a front hall, another place for one could be behind the sofa in the living room, or behind the buffet in a dining room if you have one. An accent wall is great in a kitchen. To counter balance a lot of cabinets on one side of the room, do an accent wall on the long wall directly opposite them. Bathrooms are another place where you can have an accent wall. Paint the wall directly behind your sink(s) and mirror(s) in a dramatic paint or dark, bold or busy wallpaper. Having a mirror, or mirrors in front of it, you will only see part of the wallpaper pattern or paint color, so the intensity of the color or paper pattern will be cut. Bedrooms are prime candidates for accent walls. The wall directly behind your bed, where you place your headboard can be boldly painted or papered.

Accent walls let you add more of your personality to your space which makes your home different from your friends, relatives or neighbors.

Picking the Color for your accent wall… When interior decorating a room you need to / should have one predominate color, one subordinate color, and one or two accent colors used in that space. (Click here to read a full post I wrote covering that topic). When picking a paint color for an accent wall it can be pulled from the predominate (most often seen fabric used in that room). It can also be taken from the subordinate (second most seen fabric used in the space), or from an accent fabric (used sparingly here and there in the room).

The decorative items where you will be able to pull the paint color for you accent wall from are…
(1) Patterned carpeting that is multicolored
(2) Patterned fabrics used to upholster furniture
(3) Colors taken from Granite, Marble, Corina or Formica counter tops, fireplace fronts or stone or ceramic floor tiles
(4) An inspiration piece like a painting, Chinese screen or large decorative vase, etc

When picking a paint color to go on the companion walls in a room where you have a wallpaper that is used on an accent wall, which has a bold pattern or is bright or dark toned, pick one of the lighter colors that is used on that paper. You don’t have to use the exact tone on the paper, but you can use a lighter tint of that color. If you have a bold patterned paper with a light toned or soft pastel, white or cream-colored background, think about that as your color for painting the other walls in the room.

Now let’s look at two samples of fabrics that I am using as inspiration pieces for pulling the color(s) from for an accent wall, and the companion walls in that room. The samples could also be patterns on wallpaper that would be used on the accent wall, that you would pull your color from for the companion walls in the room. The samples could also represent patterns of veining and colors on stone used for floors or kitchen counter tops that you would use to start pulling your colors from for the room. img321

The first is a fabric that has paislies as part of its design. The two predominate colors on the fabric are a golden tan and an aqua-teal blue. When picking the color for the three companion walls for the room, pick one of the lighter tones on either of the strips. For the accent wall go one, two, or even three tones darker. Let’s say you pick the color numbered 2 on either of the strips. An easy choice for the accent wall would be the color number 4, on either of those strips. If you are really brave and bold colors number 5 on either of the strips would be quite dramatic. The main thing is that you want to see a marked difference between the accent wall and the companion walls in the room.

Looking at any of the paint color strips for this post, you have the darkest shade on the strip that I’ve numbered 7, and the lightest tint on the strip that I’ve numbered 1. The lightest tint #1 was achieved by adding a lot of white to the darkest shade #7, and all the colors in-between the darkest shade and lightest tint are made by adding varying amounts of white to the shade. img322

The second sample shows the whimsical monkey. The three strips of paint color samples show colors that appear in that fabric. Again, any of the lighter tones of brown or golden brown on two of the strips could be used for the companion walls in the room if the fabric sample were a wallpaper, and any of the darker colors on any of the strips could be the accent wall if you had this fabric to pull your colors from for both the accent and companion walls in the room.

An accent wall does not necessarily have to be done in a solid paint color. It can be painted in a row of horizontal or vertical stripes as seen on the cover illustration for this post. If you are interested in doing a painting project like that, I have three color paring options you can easily work with…

Option One…. Take the color that you choose for the companion walls and use it with a darker color taken from the same paint color strip, that you pick for the accent wall, and make your stripes using the two colors.

Option Two….Take the color of the companion walls and pick a another color from your inspiration piece and use the two colors together. You could use colors that are next to each other, like any of the paint chips numbered 4, as seen on the whimsical monkey fabric sample just looked at. All the paint colors are about the same tonal quality, but different enough to be interesting together because they are from different color families. The inspiration fabric will also unite / bridge the colors used in the accent wall.

Option Three….Pick a color from one paint color strip and pair it with a color from another strip that is one or two shades darker. In the case of the monkey, you could use together the tan or golden browns numbered 3 and pair it with the rusty-red color 4 or 5.

When painting horizontal stripes on a wall, first measure the (wall surface) distance from the ceiling or bottom of the crown molding to the top of the baseboard / woodwork. Divide that number by five, for an eight or even nine foot tall room, or by 7, 9, or 11, etc for a really high, cathedral or double tall room. If you have an even amount of stripes (4, 6, 8, etc) you stripes will divide the wall in half. You want an odd number of horizontal stripes on the wall so you have a stripe exactly in the middle of the wall, and the exact amount of stripes above and below it. When painting the wall, make sure you have the darker of the colors on the middle stripe and a darker stripe at both the exact top and bottom of that wall. (Look at the stripes on the cover illustration for this post). The dark color strips will frame the accent wall and give weight to that wall.

When painting a wall in vertical strips take the length of your wall and divide it by an odd number like 5, 7, 9, 11, etc, so all the stripes are the exact same width as they go across the accent wall, and there is one stripe exactly in the center of the wall, with the exact amount of stripes flanking it on both the left and right.

I hope this post was inspiring to you. This post is the 127 article I’ve written and marks the Third Anniversary of Fred Gonsowski Garden Home.Com

Companion Posts
It’s EASY to Paint Horizontal Stripes on a Wall, step by step instructions 11-8-2013,
Picking the Perfect GRAY PAINT…A Popular Color Choice of the Moment 2-15-2014,
Picking the Right Paint Color to go with the Wood in your Home..Color Theory 3-9-2013,
Paint a room a Dark Color, then add light Accents 3-27-2011,
When Decorating a Beige Room, think Tone, Texture and Sculptural Interest 3-16-2011,
Interior Decorating is All about Equal Balance 2-27-2011,
Looking at Patterns used in Interior Decorating on Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting 3-10-2012,
Pick (Use) Four colors when Decorating a Room 3-7-2011


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Interior Decorating Principles, Picking Paint Colors Interior / Exterior / Front Door / Roof. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to ACCENT WALLS..Some Ideas for Painting or Wallpapering an Accent Wall in your Home

  1. joyfuljan says:

    Your post was timely and very helpful!! We are in the process of building a new home and I am in the process of choosing paint colors. I so enjoy your blog as I am able to use something from most every post in my home. Thank you for the help!!

  2. Lou Thomas says:

    Hi Fred,

    I am going to paint my large living room which has a 12 ft.cathedral ceiling. I was going to use an accent color on the fireplace wall, but there is a single window on either side of it. So my first concern is whether I should reconsider accenting the fireplace wall because of the windows.

    My second question is this. The opposite side of this living room is my dining area with a standard 8 ft. ceiling where I plan to install a chair rail. If I decide to paint the LR area fireplace wall an accent color, is it OK to paint the wall space above my chair rail in the dining area the same accent color? The bottom of the chair rail will have picture frame molding and will be painted semi-gloss white.

    Perhaps I should do one or the other? Or neither?

    I thank you in advance for your help, and I’m looking to getting your honest, professional opinion. Most people just tell me, “it’s your house, do whatever you like”. This is NOT very helpful. I want to approach it from a serious design standpoint.

    Lou Thomas

    • Hi there Lou, First I would paint the fireplace wall the accent color, but I would also paint the windows and their molding, on that wall, the same color as the wall, so they kind of disappear, versus being painted a color like white where they would be highlighted and stand out (paint the windows and their trim a semigloss like the other woodwork in the room).

      Secondly I would paint the upper part of the dining room wall, above the chair rail, the accent color from the living room. In decorating it is all about moving a color around a space, not isolating it. Have you read my other posts titled Pick (Use) Four Colors when Decorating a Room and Paint a Room a Dark color, then add light Accents, those posts might help you. Best luck with your project ;-}

  3. Sharon Adams says:

    I have moved two walls in my kitchen which were wall papered. That paper is now discontinued – it is red with gold late flur de Leis on it. under the chair railing is a White Linen paint which has a creamy yellow tint to it. Can I use the solid paint on my other two walls? One of the walls has a French door to the outside and the small wall on the outside will have a 6 foot window.
    This red wall paper is our all time favorite and we hate to lose it.

  4. Pingback: One of the best tutorials I’ve seen explaining accent walls — which colors to f… | 1000 – Modern

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