Accent Walls

Accent walls have been all the rage in decorating for several years.  Some people swear by them, others hate them.  Even professional interior decorators have mixed opinions in using accent walls. 

For those who are not familiar with accent walls, it’s using a different paint color on one wall in a room.  Sometimes it’s done for a special effect, sometimes it’s done to add a splash of color and other times you wonder what the heck they were thinking.

There are situations where an accent wall can work.  Here’s a rundown of a few ideas for using accent walls in your budget decorating project.


If you have a stairwell that extends into the hallway and could use a major pick-me-up, an accent wall may be just what the decorator ordered.  Make sure the stairway is worthy of an accent wall though.  You don’t want to call attention to a narrow stairway with dingy carpet.   Consider adding a handsome runner and choosing one of the color in the runners for the wall.

Optical Illusions

Colors can work wonders in creating optical illusions.  Light colors make a room look larger, darker ones can make it look cozy.  The warmer colors, such as reds and yellows can make colors advance, or seem closer.  If you have a long narrow hallway, you may want to consider painting the far end of the hallway a warm color, to make it seem closer.

Focal Points

If you have a room that needs a focal point, using an accent wall can help create one.  Focal points are natural areas in a room to which the eye is first drawn.  In a living room, a fireplace can be a focal point, in the bedroom, normally the bed is the focal point.  If there is no obvious focal point within a room, you may need to create one, and an accent wall can help.  Painting an accent wall behind a seating group can define a living area, much like an area rug would.

Wide Open Spaces

With larger, multi-purpose rooms, such as a great room, an accent wall can help define areas and transition décor.   When the room is an odd shape or transitions to another area, the accent wall can help you decorate and show where one room starts and the other ends.  It can also help the room look cozier if the accent wall is painted in a warm color.

Bottom Line

Accent walls can work in the right decorating situation.  For standard square or rectangular rooms, it can be difficult to pull off an accent wall.  For large open areas, hallways and odd shaped, rambling rooms, an accent wall may bring the design the punch it needs.