How to Create an Accent Wall

BEHR BedrOne of the best ways to create interest in your home décor is with an accent wall. A popular choice for using this design technique is a den or bedroom. However, you can have an accent wall in any room of your home.

Choose the Right Wall

When deciding which wall to use, keep in mind that a solid wall that isn’t broken up by windows and doors makes the best accent wall. That doesn’t mean you’re limited to only solid walls.

Other accent wall choices:

  • Wall with door on one end
  • A fireplace wall, even if it’s flanked with windows or doors
  • Bookcase wall
  • Wall behind a bed
  • Bathroom sink or shower wall
  • Buffet or china cabinet wall in dining room
  • Staircase wall

The four most common approaches to this type of focal point don’t require a lot of work or time. The end result will give your room a unique designer look.

BEHR den

#1 Painted Wall

The easiest dramatic way to create an accent wall is to paint it a different color. This design feature can be used for a solid wall or one that already holds a focal feature, such as a fireplace, bookcase or art collection.

  • Fireplace: Choose a color that will contrast with that of the fireplace color(s).
  • Bookcase: Paint the bookcase and accent wall the same color.
  • Art collection: Choose a color that will be the perfect backdrop to highlight your wall art.

#2 Wallpaper, Mural or Decal

Adding a wallpaper, mural or decal to one wall can give your room greater depth and texture.

  • Choose something as simple as a subtle stripe, colorful floral or geometric pattern.
  • Use a more dramatic accent wall with a scenic photo mural or a stylized one.
  • Decals are another easy way to make one wall stand out. Use a graphic or word art decal.

#3 Stencil Wall

If you prefer to create your own original look, go with a stencil.

  • Stencil over the existing wall color with a contrasting color.
  • Give a touch of subtlety with a darker or lighter hue of the existing wall color.
  • Use a complementary color, such as red stenciled on a green wall, purple on a yellow wall or orange on a blue wall.

BEHR kitchen themed art

#4 Art Themed Wall

Another stunning accent wall can be made up of wall art. One way to create this type of accent wall is to design it around a theme. This can be any theme you desire as long as it fits with the rest of your décor in colors and style.

Think of the wall as a canvas for a collage. You want to place various types of wall art within that space. Keep in mind the overall look you wish to design.

Coastal and Beach Theme

You can design a highly textured accent wall using this theme.

  • Hang a fishing net in a diagonal and add glass buoys, seashells, starfish and driftwood.
  • Use original watercolors of beachscapes and ocean scenes in driftwood colored frames.
  • Shadowboxes featuring sand dollars, seashells or starfish can be included.
  • A couple of driftwood shelves with roping can also support vacation mementos or framed vacation photos.

Woodlands Theme

This is another great way to add texture and interest to a wall.

  • Black painted metal cutouts of cedar trees, bears, fish and other wildlife.
  • Plaid matting for paintings and photos of forest scenes or wildlife.
  • Hand-carved and hand-painted duck decoys can be placed on rough-hewed shelves.
  • Shadowboxes of pinecones, nuts and berries add to the mix.
  • Grapevine wreath with pinecone and pine bough accents and a plaid bow.
  • Relief plaques or distressed wooden plaques.

Other themes include:

  • Southwest
  • Photography
  • Flowers
  • Birds
  • Animals

Accent Wall Design Feature

The key to a successful accent wall is to personalize it. Your taste and design style will shine when you focus on using accent pieces you truly love.

All photos: Behr

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Sally Painter

"Everyone can have a beautiful home decor. It just takes a little creativity," says author and freelance writer Sally Painter. This former commercial and residential designer is also a Feng Shui practitioner and believes that, "Everything you choose to put in your home should resonate with you emotionally. If it doesn't - get rid of it!"

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