I am often asked by clients to suggest accent wall colors. It can be an amazing color effect, transforming an ordinary room to a unique space where your guests want to stay put and look around for spell. However, “THE ACCENT WALL” can easily be done wrong; poorly-placed and color picked accent walls can make a room unbalanced and uninviting . Here are my thoughts on Accent Wall Colors:
Certain colors have long been known to evoke subconscious emotional responses. Since the accent wall will become a primary focal point and framing device of your room, consider strongly the implications of each color. Warm colors feel energetic and enlivening. Reds in particular speak of aggression and passion, with yellows sparking vigor and feelings of positivity, oranges falling somewhere between the two.Cool colors, ranging from blue to purple to green, are more sedated overall – which may be a goal if you want your room to feel peaceful and calming. Blue is a popular choice that tells visitors they are safe and can relax, and unlike other hues, blue retains its character regardless of shade. Green has inextricable ties to nature. Choosing a light or a dark shade and saturation of most colors will adjust its impact; your best bet is to trust your emotional gut as you examine colors and find one that inspires the exact feeling you want your room to exude.
An accent wall should be bold and stand out from the other walls and ceiling in the room, so it is able to serve as the focal point it is made to be. One easy way to do this is to use the same hue as the other walls in the room, but move a few shades darker. The eye will automatically appreciate the harmony in hue between the walls, but the boldest color will draw attention first.
Alternatively, you can draw inspiration from the other decorative items you have in your room, such as throw pillows, curtains, or a secondary color in the furniture. Be very careful when using a color also in the upholstery, however: if a single color is too dominant in the room, it could overwhelm the eye rather than engage it, making what was supposed to be a dynamic space feel cluttered.
That said, it is important that you decide on an overall trend to your room before you worry about the color of the accent wall. It is far easier to adjust a paint color to work well with your décor than it is to purchase an entire room’s worth of items that must match a specific already-painted feature. In addition, make sure that any of the wall decorations or furniture near the accent wall do not blend in with it at any point. Contrast is always key.
Location, Location, Location
The first instinct of many novice decorators is to make the accent wall the first wall the eyes fall upon when entering a room. While sometimes this may be a good litmus test, there are some important considerations before deciding on a final wall to use. A traditional accent wall will be solid: doors and windows break up the space and draw the viewer outside the room, rather than get them to appreciate the space they are in.
But no rule is hard and fast in design as long as there is a good reason to break it: a majestic set of French doors or ornate window with a view like a landscape painting can themselves be prominent features of a room you want to accent. They also present their own challenge, as the color must compliment the coloring of the doors or the view outside as well as the room itself.
Usually the accent wall will, true to its name, serve to accent a particular focal point of the space. Lacking a unique portal, a fireplace is a common and effective choice, enhancing its tendency to gather a room around itself. You can also create this focal point entirely on your own: a pedestal with a favored vase or statuette or a large house plant might fit the bill. Since black and white photographs will almost always stand out strongly against an accent wall without competing with it, having your favorite family picture framed and using it as your focal point can add an appealing personal touch to the living space.
It is important that focus points on the other walls do not end up competing with the accent wall for the eye’s attention, else the overall effect you seek to gain by creating the accent wall is weakened and the room appears confused.
If you want your accent wall to have maximum impact, consider the viewing angle visitors will receive from other rooms in the house. If your accent wall can be seen often from the kitchen or hallway, in addition to the main entrance, it will resonate more throughout the home.
If your own internal muse speaks to you, feel free to get very creative when creating your accent wall. There is no law book stating that you need to pick one of the four surfaces available to you for your project: an “accent corner,” partially covering one wall before moving on to the next, can often have a similar effect as an accent wall with a more dynamic feel. For the especially artistic, a tasteful mural with a consistent color scheme can have an overall similar effect as a solid color accent wall while serving as a focal point in and of itself.
The type of paint you use can also change the impression your wall gives. Integrating gold or silver leaf can give an elegant feel to the room; metallic paints are a simpler way to achieve a comparable effect. Consider a different finish to provide some texture to the wall and change how it reflects the room’s light; imitation stone or plaster finishes are some examples. Don’t be afraid to take contrast too far, either. If the rest of your room is bright and airy, a pure black accent wall might serve to make the rest of the room feel even brighter, rather than drag it down.
Unique architectural aspects to a room often make fantastic focal points. Accenting reading nooks, dining areas, or even the whitespace behind shelving can have an excellent dual effect, drawing attention to the area while setting it apart visually, marking it as special.
While the goal of an accent wall is to be distinct, there are a few practical concerns you should take into consideration to keep the room tied together. When using a darker color for an accent wall, always used a tinted primer to keep the color true and have the paint apply smoothly – two coats of paint will never appear as good as a proper primer and one coat of paint. Also be sure to match the sheen of the existing, neutrally colored walls: if the rest of the room is semi-gloss, so should the accent wall. As with all painting, paint a small test swath and see if it matches up as well on the wall as it did in your mind’s eye before continuing with painting the whole area.
Painting an accent wall is a fantastic way to quickly and inexpensively reinvent a room. Since all you need is some paint, a brush, painters tape, and a bit of time – usually two hours is plenty – anyone can do it in their free time on a weekend or afternoon. Since it is an easy process to revert, renters and apartment residents can usually customize their living space in such a way that is easily reversed when they decide to move out.
Designing and creating an accent wall is absolutely not the most difficult home improvement task you can undertake, but this ease of production belies the profound impact a well-crafted wall has on the room. Like so many aspects of home décor, after several weeks your creation may fade from your day-to-day notice, but as visitor after visitor complements your home, you will be constantly reminded of its impact.