Its True, Accent Walls Are Here To Stay
I’ve noticed several interior design trend forecasters recently declare that painted accent walls are “over.” Now, first off, I believe you should decorate your home the way you see fit, regardless of what’s considered fashionable. Very few of us have the time and money to redecorate on a whim to keep up with each passing design trend. Secondly, I continue to evangelize for accent walls because they are one of the quickest and easiest ways to inject your own personality into a space. I’m going to make the case that painted accent walls remain a smart way to add fresh color to a room.
1. Quick and easy. A can of paint, a free afternoon and some reasonable DIY skills are all it takes to dramatically transform a space.
I especially like placing accent walls in bedrooms on the headboard wall because they really help to anchor the bed in the room. In a pinch, if space is too tight for a headboard, the paint can stand in as a two-dimensional version of one.
2. Affordable. The only thing I love more than a decor change that’s quick and easy is one that’s also wallet-friendly. When I design for a client with a moderate budget (myself included), I like to mix high-end materials and furnishings with super affordable items. So while I may choose to splurge on countertops or appliances, I’ll suggest bringing in an accent paint color instead of more expensive materials such as wall tile. This burst of orange above the hood ties in the juicy color of the range and is more cost-effective than tiling all the way up the very tall wall.
3. Bold, in moderation. As in the previous example, this space plays host to a bright accent color that would likely be a bit too harsh if it adorned all four walls. But a dash of it, as a partial accent wall, keeps it fun and vibrant without going overboard. Not everyone is a fan of almost-neon colors, but for those who do enjoy decorating with them, an accent wall or accent area is a great way to use one in moderation.
4. Unlimited colors and patterns. I’m currently picking out materials for my own remodel and, despite the many options out there, still having trouble nailing down the exact flooring, countertop and tile finishes. I’m struggling to find the specific colors, sizes or patterns that I envision. I think that’s why I love paint so much — the only limit is your imagination. You can literally get any color you want, and if you create a pattern for your accent wall, as was done here with colorful stains on pieces of wood, your options are even more diverse.
5. Creates a focal point. I recently caught the documentary film The First Monday in May, about the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 2015 exhibition and gala. In a segment on the proposed design of the exhibition, filmmaker Wong Kar-wai critiques how visually busy it is, commenting, “Seeing too much is seeing nothing.” I loved this quote so much I wrote it down and have been using it as my own design mantra going forward.
My take on it in terms of home decor is that if you attempt to add an attention-grabbing element to every nook and cranny in a room, you risk having nothing stand out because everything is standing out.
A well-placed accent wall helps coax the eye to a focal point in the space. Here, we see how you can use even the deepest and darkest of hues while keeping the room’s vibe light and inviting.
6. Flexibility. Another attribute of paint is that it can be used on almost anything. If a simple painted accent wall isn’t your cup of tea, think about painting an accent color inside open shelves or in a wall niche. It’s such a small chunk of color that you can get away with something unusual or vibrant. Just be sure you’re calling attention to a part of the room worthy of the focus, such as a display area.
7. It’s fun! I have to admit, I became a designer partly because I wanted my work life to be a little more fun. My previous position as a copy editor was certainly fulfilling, but I grew tired of critiquing and tweaking another person’s creative output.
Designing and decorating your home should be fun. If you love an all-white room or floor-to-ceiling beige, go for it. If you want a splash of a less-expected color, such as lime green, then by all means give yourself a healthy dose of it. And by adding it as an accent wall, you’ve got an easy, affordable, flexible design element that reflects your unique personality.