dark accent wall alongside gold striped wall of living room

10 Creative Accent Wall Ideas And Tips To Help You Choose The Right One

Morgan McBride4-Minute Read
February 10, 2021

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If you’re looking to take a room in your home from boring to totally on-trend, consider adding an accent wall. To make an accent wall effective, choose just one wall – or even a ceiling – in your room to make a big statement, then go easy on the rest of the room. Focusing on just one wall allows you to go for a bolder look than you might normally choose for an entire room. If you’ve just made over a space in your home, adding accent walls in adjacent areas of your home can tie the existing interior design elements together.

Accent walls can add texture, color and dimension to any room. Get inspired by these creative accent wall ideas and learn how to choose the right one to fit what you need in your home. 

What Is An Accent Wall?

An accent wall is one that’s usually inside the home, with a different color, texture or material from the rest of the space. The difference allows you to draw the eye away from other walls or helps you highlight certain features, artwork or parts of the room more effectively. Accent walls add dimension and style to any room, from the kitchen to the primary bedroom. Accent walls are a recent interior design trend, but can often be timeless in look and feel.

10 Great Accent Wall Ideas

There are many different ways to make a room pop and establish a focal point in the space. When selecting a wall to accent, it’s easiest to choose one that doesn’t have architectural features, such as windows or doors. While you can sometimes use those elements in the design of an accent wall, having a completely blank rectangle makes it easier to fit in your design and really transform the wall. Here are some great accent wall ideas to inspire you.

1. Use A Bold Color

pop of light blue wall color in restroom

The easiest way to accent a wall in your home is to add a bright paint color to make a statement. Choosing a single bold color can brighten up a space and make the room feel more open and dynamic. It is important to choose a paint color that complements and coordinates with your existing decor and interior design themes. Consider choosing an accent color that is on the same paint strip as your wall color, but two or three shades darker, for a cohesive but contrasting look. This will make the wall noticeable, but it won’t stick out as something that doesn’t fit.

Select a paint color that coordinates with the furniture and accent pieces in your space but has enough contrast to pop. A cream-colored wall next to three white walls won’t be much of a statement.

2. Bring Nature Inside

Living wall with various plants behind modern sofa in minimalist living room.

Living walls are a great way to incorporate greenery into your homes. Living walls are any full or partial wall covered with plants. It could be pots mounted on the wall, a planter with trellises running up the wall, or plants growing directly out of vertically mounted potting material. Most living walls are easy to care for if you choose houseplants that will thrive in your home and climate. You can also choose faux greenery to cover the wall. Buy panels of faux boxwood in the amount you need to cover the space and attach it to the wall.

3. Use Stone

natural stone wall in living room with fireplace

Adding a stone facade to an accent wall will add more texture and dimension to the space. Adding a natural stone wall can elevate a room. A wall of stone is particularly popular on the backside of a kitchen peninsula or around a fireplace. This is a great way to bring a natural element into any space and instantly give it a rustic feel. Many homeowners choose to add stone around fireplaces or in kitchens where the walls would otherwise be exposed to high temperatures, making it a beautiful and practical accent choice.

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4. Don’t Shy Away From Wallpaper

printed wallpaper on far wall of small bathroom

Adding decorative wallpaper to a wall can have just as much impact as a bold-colored paint job. Adding just one wall of wallpaper, especially on a clean, square wall, can be less intimidating compared to wallpapering an entire room. The wallpaper pattern can be as detailed or as simple as you want - think about the patterns that will work best in the space. If your wall is small, look for wallpaper designs with a smaller-scale print. If the wall is larger, you can look for a paper with larger designs. Renters can even join this trend by using temporary, peel and stick wallpaper. These days, wallpaper comes in all sorts of designs and patterns, so there is bound to be something that works with your space.

5. Elevate The Wall With Paneling

dark paneling wall behind brown couch

Another option for an accent wall is to add paneling to a large wall to add dimension to a room. Paneling refers to strips of wood or molding added to walls to add texture and dimension. Paneling often makes a room look more elegant and high-end. Molding can be added in many designs, including squares of wainscotting, vertical board and batten, or even interesting geometric shapes.

For a simple, more neutral look, paint the paneling the same color as the accent wall. This will make the whole design flow, but still stand out. For more contrast, paint the trim and moldings of a room an accent color or with semi-gloss paint. Having white walls with colored molding is really on trend and is a great way to bring color into a space. It’s a subtler touch that can really look very high-end and elegant.

6. Lay Some Tile

Black tiled fireplace mantel wall with black and white styled room.

Adding tile is a great alternative to paint. Tile is easy to clean and ideal for adding color and texture to kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and even the living room. Floor- or counter-to-ceiling tile makes a bold statement and is easy to hang yourself. Consider peel-and-stick tile if you aren’t interested in messing with grout – you can get a look that’s just as nice.

7. Accent With Artwork

gallery wall in living room above couch

Changing a wall’s color or texture isn’t the only way to create an accent wall. Arranging artwork, photographs, tapestries and other wall hangings on a central wall can be an accent wall on its own. Renters and commitment-phobic homeowners can make a less-permanent accent wall by decorating with movable objects, such as mirrors and picture frames. For a bold look, hang an intricate gallery wall that goes from floor to ceiling. Get a cohesive feel by repeating the same colors and materials throughout the hanging decor, such as all black-and-white photos or all gold frames with assorted items.

8. Embrace Your Creativity

Dining room with long mural above chair rail.

For homeowners with an artistic side or with friends who are artistically minded, painting a mural can be a good choice. A mural can be any style or design that you want and effectively turns an entire wall into a unique piece of art. Murals are especially popular in kid’s rooms such as bedrooms and playrooms and are a great way to bring whimsical style or a very specific theme into a space. Choose a theme that works with the space or, in the case of a child’s room, what their favorite subject is. These can take time and a lot of planning, but they are custom and unique and will always feel like you worked hard.

9. Consider The Ceiling

Wood paneled ceiling in open airy kitchen.

Your ceiling can also be an accent wall of sorts. Homeowners can even make the ceiling the accent area by painting it a different color other than white or adding wallpaper. If you really want to take your ceiling to the next level, consider adding beadboard or tongue and groove boards for a really bold, textured look. These options are easy to install and remove if you ever wanted to change the look; however, they do require more tools.

10. Use Shelving To Draw The Eye

White built in shelving along entire wall of sitting room.

Large shelves can easily become a focal point in a room. As a bonus, shelves are super functional and they allow homeowners to display collectibles, photographs and anything else you want to showcase with ease. You can build shelves yourself, buy pre-built units or hire a professional contractor to install them. Think about shelves that aren’t just even, straight boards too, like hexagons or alternating lines.

Another way to highlight one wall is by creating a built-in entertainment center or wall of bookshelves. This is a popular idea for a living room or anywhere where you might put a TV. When possible, add some hidden storage such as cabinets with doors to keep this type of shelving from looking too cluttered.

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How To Choose The Best Statement Wall Ideas

Before committing to an accent wall, you will want to sit down and carefully make a plan. Looking at inspiration photos is a great way to decide on the look that you prefer. Some accent wall designs will work better for certain spaces. These tips will help you choose the right design option for your needs.

Consider What You Already Have

It is important to think about the space and the features and interior design elements already in place before you add an accent wall. The wall should complement your current decor and not detract from elements they’ve worked so hard to put into place. Be sure to consider the color balance of neutral walls and the accent wall. Accent walls typically work best paired with walls of light to medium paint shades. Remember, you want the accent wall to be the star of the show.

Accent walls are a great way to make adjacent spaces cohesive. For example, if you have a green bathroom and a white bedroom, adding a green accent wall to the bedroom will help to tie the two spaces together. Stick to a cohesive theme throughout your home to help rooms from looking too harshly different.

Establish A Firm Budget

An accent wall doesn’t have to cost much but you still need to know how much you want to spend on the update. It is important to set a firm home improvement budget before picking the type of wall that you want. Paint is super inexpensive and easy to DIY. Peel and stick wallpaper is an easy DIY that can be done on a small budget for one wall. However, some types of accent walls like tile, wood paneling, stone and living walls, may cost more than other options. Also, any time that you have to hire a contractor or other specialist, your budget is going to increase significantly.

Get Creative

There’s no right or wrong type of accent wall to install in a home. Choose an accent wall idea that makes you happy and makes you feel like the space is more your own. Don’t feel like your only option for an accent wall is to paint one wall a different color in a bedroom. This is your chance to get creative and explore unique options. Remember that you can add an accent wall to less-common rooms of the house, such as the bathroom or a mudroom, that might not have space for traditional decorations or floor items. There is no limit to the possibilities!

The Bottom Line: The Right Accent Wall Design Can Transform Your Space

If you want to add an accent wall to your home, jump in with both feet! Accent walls are a great opportunity to be bold and stretch your DIY skills and personal style without committing to a project that’s too big. Adding accent walls is just one way to improve a space. If you need extra funds to add an accent wall or do any renovations on your home, apply for a cash-out refinance today.

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Morgan McBride

Morgan McBride is a DIY-lover and home decor enthusiast living in Charleston, South Carolina. She has been blogging at CharlestonCrafted.com alongside her husband since 2012, where they empower their readers to craft their current home into their dream home through the power of DIY.