So far, you’re tickled pink. You’ve found just the right decadent fluffy bath towels and a killer kiln-fired bamboo rug for the living area. The built-in bookshelves look oh-so-you with their sweet display of well-loved novels and travel souvenirs. The kitchen is coming together: You have a positive flow for everyday meal prep, as well as the occasional entertaining stint. Perhaps it’s time to pull everything together by painting accent walls in your home.
Are there some structural quirks you’d like to remedy? Is light enhancement a consideration? What color makes you feel happy every time you see it? Painting an accent wall is the perfect cost-effective way to add both style and symmetry to your living space.
Placement of your accent wall depends on several factors. In general, it’s best to consider a location that doesn’t have distracting architectural features like floor-to-ceiling drapes, wainscoting or pocket doors. However, if your home has a unique element you’d like to draw attention to — such as a period fireplace or exposed beams — designing an accent wall around it will heighten the appeal.
Do you have a room that is long and narrow? Accenting the far wall will give it the illusion of being closer and make the overall space feel less tight. How about an irregularly shaped area? Consider painting the wall that appears skewed — this will help the room seem more regularly proportioned.
What about your ceiling? Accent color draws the eye upward and plays with height perception.
Traditional accent wall design trends focus on bright, shocking pops of color. But the underlying idea of an accent wall is to elicit texture and play in a room. You can achieve this effect just as well with a neutral color or one several shades lighter or darker than what you have on your existing walls.
If you are working with neutrals, consider a deep, earthy brown for your accent wall. Want a more subtle look? Identify your current wall color and collect paint chips three or four shades lighter and darker. Whatever you choose is certain to add notable shading depth to the original color scheme.
Warm hues — red, orange and yellow — elicit energy and intensity. They pull you in. By painting accent walls of an elongated room a warm color, it will appear more equally measured. Characteristically active living spaces — such as the kitchen, playroom or exercise studio — are ideally suited for warm accents.
Cool hues, on the other hand, lengthen visual draw. Blue, green or purple accents widen skinny rooms and make short areas appear longer. Natural light from north or eastern exposure is also cool. If you are considering an accent wall in a naturally cool lit room, warm options are your best bet.
Accent walls need not be painted a single, uniform color. In fact, including a textural design such as contrasting stripes or checkerboard blocks considerably ups the wow-factor ante. If you’re into DIY, consider sponging your accent wall. Or, look into fun faux finishes such as color wash and woodgraining.
Priming your accent wall before any paint project smoot uneven surfaces and prevents structural inconsistency. While priming assures effective paint bonding, many homeowners overlook this initial step. Often, the decision to skip priming centers on time and resource constraints. If you’re similarly pressed, try to find quality self-priming paints. Recent Consumer Reports paint ratings point to significant product improvement comparably.
While you’re researching paints and primers, do yourself a favor: Check for products that not only fulfill your design needs, but are good for your health. Paints that are low in VOC — volatile organic compounds — release significantly fewer toxic emissions than traditional options. Low gas-off effect persists years after application, which is excellent for our carbon footprint as well.
Want to try something that has zero VOC levels and can be made at home? Milk and chalk paints are water-based, fast-drying and odor-free. Available for use in many colors, these paints dry with a low-sheen and remain super-resilient. Both options produce a thick coating you can use to create a variety of finishes, from antique distressed to a multi-leveled opaque wash.
Are you currently renting under a no-paint policy? No problem. Consider designing an accent wall with fabric — perhaps a noise-reducing woven blanket or favorite family quilt. Not a big cleaner and worried about the dust-accumulation potential? Perhaps arrange artwork or photographs with adhesive, removable hooks. Maybe scope out one of many temporary wallpaper options. You can switch patterns as your pocketbook and moods allow!
Accent wall options stand among the most flexible decorating tools to date. Whether you’re up for crazy and bold or peaceful and comforting, you can enhance your living space efficiently and with flair by attending to one single wall — and tickle yourself whatever hue you desire!