There are always rules in life (like no white after labor day) that no longer apply. Today we are a little more casual about things. Nowhere is this more true than in home decor, or specifically: Accent walls!
Here are a few tips (not rules!) to help you choose the perfect wall to accentuate in your home.
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Basics on Choosing an Accent Wall to Feature
Before we hop into different rooms specifically, here are the easiest choices for an accent wall in any room (in no particular order):
#1 – The Most Interesting Wall
If you’re lucky enough to have an interesting architectural element in your space, this is a natural choice for an accent color.
#2 – The Smallest Wall
This is probably my favorite place for an accent wall. If you can’t decide, choose the smallest wall!
Not only does this feel like less of a commitment, and make repainting down the road super easy, sometime less is more with accent walls! A color pops the most when it is in contrast to its surroundings.
#3 – The Wall Opposite of the Main Entry Point
This is the classic advice for choosing an accent wall. Theoretically this is the first place that your guests will look when they enter a room.
How to Choose the Accent Wall in Your Living Room
#1 – The Wall Across from the Main Entrance into the Living Room
As I mentioned, the traditional placement for a living room accent wall, is whichever wall is opposite of the main entry point.
The idea is to paint the wall that your eye immediately goes to, and make that the feature.
This feature wall is in the color Sherwin Williams Cascades.
#2 – Where You Want the Eye to Go
An argument could be made that the wall you immediately look at, is whichever wall you paint as the feature wall (provided it’s visible from the doorway).
If “opposite of the doorway” doesn’t suit you, or it’s not an interesting wall, choose the living room wall that you would prefer the attention go to.
This wall is painted in Sherwin Williams Rock Bottom.
#3 – The Wall Opposite of the Best Light Source
Often the entry point to a room and the largest windows are not on the same wall. If you really want to emphasize the color you’ve chosen, make the wall across from the best light source your accent.
This is going to add a little extra oomph to anything you are choosing to display on the feature wall as well.
#4 – The Fireplace Wall or Most Interesting Wall
This wall is Sherwin Williams Blue Peacock.
If you have a fireplace in your living room, this is a natural wall to accentuate! One popular idea is to paint the fireplace all the way to the ceiling:
This fireplace is painted in Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze.
If you don’t have a fireplace, but some other interesting architectural detail, make this your feature wall. This could be a vaulted wall in your entryway, a bay window, or a wall with built in nooks for display.
#5 – The Entrance Wall
One wall that doesn’t get a lot of accent love, is the wall that you enter your living room from. (Often via the front door.)
This one is in the color Sherwin Williams Cyberspace.
Many times this is the wall most likely to be seen from your furniture. Choosing this as your feature wall gives an element of surprise to your guests, and the front door is a natural focal point from inside your space.
Don’t Forget Your Supplies!
This little brush might look funny, but it’s my absolute ride or die!
Rollers like these hold the most paint and make the job faster. Get a metal roller cage for easy on and off.
DryDex is the fastest (and funnest!) way to make chips and dents disappear. (Make sure you get a small spackling tool that actually fits in the container, and a sanding sponge.)
This tool will save your back and limit time on a ladder.
Which Wall Should be the Accent Wall in Your Dining Room?
#1 – The Longest Wall
In the living room, the largest wall is often not the one that wins the feature wall, but the opposite is true in the dining room.
Choose the wall that sits length-wise behind your dining table to really show off the furniture. This is especially great if you like to put a lot of seasonal decor on your dining table.
This is in the color Sherwin Williams Retreat.
#2 – The Most Interesting Wall
This is a theme in this post, but if you have an interesting feature in a room: Feature it!
This could be a half wall, some interesting windows, or really any unusual shape.
How to Pick the Accent Wall in Your Bedroom
Choosing the accent wall in your bedroom gets a little more straightforward than in other areas of your home.
#1 – The Wall with the Bed
Whichever wall the head of your bead rests against, is the most popular choice for the accent wall in the bedroom.
This bedroom feature wall is in the color Sherwin Williams Iron Ore.
Think of it as an oversized headboard!
Typically bedrooms are laid out so that the bed (and the bed wall) are the first place that your eye goes to, so this is another natural reason to choose it.
Other Options for Bedroom Accent Wall Placement
If the idea of a headboard wall just isn’t doing it for you, you can choose to highlight another area in your room instead.
You already know what I’m going to say: If you have a reading corner, any kind of media nook, or an interesting window area, these are great choices for an accent wall.
If the color is just for you (it is the bedroom after all), you could also paint the wall opposite of the bed, so that you will see it the most.
Consider an Accent Ceiling
Colorful ceilings are very much in style right now, and if you have the guts, make that your accent “wall.”
Black seems to be the most popular, but a dark variation, a bright color, or even a textured wallpaper would be super bold.
I have a whole post where you can see black ceiling inspiration:
Should Accent Walls be Lighter or Darker?
Traditionally accent walls are darker than the surrounding walls. However this assumes that you have a light enough or neutral paint color to begin with.
Light Accent Walls
If you already have darker walls (or just want to) there’s nothing saying that your accent wall could not be lighter. A white or creamy accent wall would look amazing with a dark green or navy.
This white wall is Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.
You could also do a lighter variation of your wall color as an accent. Just make sure it’s a minimum two shades lighter. 3+ would be better, but one is not enough.
Same Color Accent Walls
Speaking of accent walls not needing to be darker, you can create an accent wall with texture instead of using a different color.
Board and batten, shiplap, textured paintable wallpaper, and geometric designs in wood, are all ways that you can create an accent wall and not need to use a darker (or different) color from your other walls.
Can You Have Two Accent Walls?
While you can have two walls painted in a different color from the rest of your room, I would still choose one to accentuate. For example: Paint both walls in the feature color, but add shelving or a gallery wall to just one in order to draw your eye to it.
But absolutely, you can use your accent color on more than one wall if you want to. It just doesn’t make both walls, accent walls.
Favorite Accent Wall Colors to Use
Here are a few of the most popular colors for accent walls:
Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black
Love it? Go read the Tricorn Black post.
Sherwin Williams Iron Ore
Love it? Go read the Iron Ore post.
Not sure on color?
The fastest, easiest, and most affordable way to test your paint colors, is by ordering a peel-and-stick sample!
Samplize will ship you a large “sticker” made of actual paint. You can reposition it to check out the color in every area of your home.
The best part? It often ends up being cheaper than buying the test pots and sampling the old fashioned way. (Plus you can order all the colors you want!)
Canadian? Hello Paint does the same thing, without the expensive international shipping.
Sherwin Williams Retreat
Love it? Go read the Retreat post.
Benjamin Moore Hale Navy
Love it? Go read the Hale Navy post.
There is no reason these are mostly Sherwin Williams colors, I just get the most requests for these. You can get amazing accent colors from Behr and Benjamin Moore as well.
Final Thoughts on Choosing Your Accent Wall
I hope that this helped you choose the perfect placement for your accent wall! I know there were a lot of options, but the most important thing is that you are happy with the look.
There are plenty of people who break the rules and choose whatever wall they please.
Before you go, you might like these posts: