Why It Works: The Accent Wall

Julia Millay Walsh

Just because your room has four walls doesn't mean you have to paint them all. Sometimes an accent wall (or two) can make a bigger impact. By painting, wallpapering, or applying another treatment to a single wall, you can  add color, experiment with bold shades or pattern, and/or highlight the architecture of the room. Here are five reasons to create an accent wall in your home.

_1 If your home has distinctive architecture -- for example, if your fireplace stands out from the walls behind it or you have a floating wall that acts as a room divider -- painting an accent wall can highlight that architecture and celebrate it. Put the emphasis on the most unique parts of your home!


_2 Painting an accent wall can have the effect of creating a backdrop for a piece of furniture or a living area that you'd like to be the focal point of a room. The most common cases for this would be the wall behind a bed or a sofa.
_3 If you have fallen deeply madly in love with a pattern, wallpapering a single wall is a great way to introduce it without going overboard with pattern and covering all four walls -- which can often feel too overwhelming. We love moments of playfulness in interior design, and this is great example of it.
_4 If you have an open-plan living/dining room, or even a kitchen with a breakfast nook, you can create more definitive areas within the space by painting the accent wall as the focal point of one of the living areas. This will help to designate the dining area, for example, as distinct from the living area, despite the fact that nothing actually separates them.


_5 If for no other reason, an accent wall can be a wonderful way to add color. If your home is notably neutral, or all-white, painting one accent wall will instantly warm it up. Doing so can also help to create contrast against your furniture; for example, if you have a chair or sofa that's light in tone and appears to almost fade into its surroundings, painting an accent will help it stand out.


dix_blue hot_pink_zero summer_nights
"Dix Blue" #82, From $95, Farrow & Ball Behr "Hot Pink Zero" #100B-7, $27, The Home Depot "Summer Nights" #777, From $37, Benjamin Moore


wallpaper wallpaper_1 wallpaper_2
"Dinner Party", Price Upon Request, Jill Malek Façade Self-Adhesive Wallpaper, $100, CB2 "Botanical Flora" by Kelly Hoppen, $60, Graham & Brown
Do you have any accent walls in your home? Tell us in the comments where it is -- and what color you painted it or wallpaper you used.

Photographs: Architectural Digest, The Design FilesBetter Homes & Gardens, Better Homes & GardensCamilla MoldersDwell/The ApartmentArmelle HabibHeydt DesignsHGTVArmelle Habib for Home LifeGhislaine VinasNuevo Estilo, The Design Files

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