Accent walls are one of the most misunderstood tools of interior design. Plainly put, an accent wall is a wall in your home that is painted a different color than the rest of the room; whether that difference is subtle or dramatic varies largely from owner to owner. Accent walls have been largely considered by many as somewhat of a gimmick, allowing people to experiment with color without fully committing. If done poorly, it can even come off as lazy, implying that the owner wanted to save time and effort by simply painting one of the walls instead of putting in the work to do the whole room. However, adding an extra color for the sake of just trying something different isn’t really the purpose of an accent wall. It’s all in the name.
At PaintPro, our seasoned Austin painters understand how to use an accent wall effectively, allowing it to become the focal point of the room, or the “accent,” so to speak. This can be the perfect way to draw attention to a unique feature in your home, such as a curved wall or built-in fireplace. It can also be effective in adding some excitement to an otherwise plain area of the house. But that’s just the beginning.
How to Use an Accent Wall
1. Highlight Interesting Aspects of Your House
Does your house have any unusual architecture? Especially in older houses, you might find you have some pretty uncommon features. Sometimes there are functional structures built right into the wall, such as a large brick fireplace or some built-in shelving. These can easily become a stunning focal point in the room with the addition of an accent wall.
In other cases, you might have sections of the wall itself that seems to pop out or form recesses. They may even be composed of strange shapes formed by all sorts of arches, rounded corners, decorative beams, and sloped ceilings. It can be tempting to try to hide these features by keeping everything monochromatic and plain, but chances are they’ll still stand out to a degree. Instead, you can use those features to your advantage by highlighting them in color. This allows you to take a seemingly random aspect of your home and turn into a unique and powerful statement of individuality and creativity.
2. Liven Up a Plain Room
Regardless of how much effort you put into decorating your home, chances are, you’ll have at least a few plain areas, especially in spaces like hallways. Adding an accent wall to such a space works well because it isn’t competing with any other powerful element. Instead, it adds visual interest to a part of the house that would otherwise be easily overlooked.
Additionally, if you have a room that’s intentionally sparsely furnished to provide extra open space, such as a TV room, using an accent wall can add some much-needed contrast. If you decide to go with a dark color, it can also help to decrease the contrast between the items that are on the wall, such as said TV, and the wall itself, without forcing you to darken the entire room.
3. Designate Separate Spaces
Unusual architecture isn’t just limited to certain features of a room. It could refer to the layout of the house as a whole. There are plenty of situations where a space is large enough or shaped in such a way that it serves a dual purpose, with different sections dedicated to different functions. One such example might be a space divided into a dining room on one end and a living room on the other. Using an accent wall to designate one of those spaces as separate from the other is a clean way and visually appealing way to make such a distinction.
This can also work for smaller areas of a room with a very niche function, such as a small computer workstation in a larger family room, or a little cocktail bar tucked into a corner of an entertaining space. It effectively demonstrates the separation between the areas without being overly distracting or intrusive.
Do I Need an Accent Wall?
There are many ways to make accent walls work for you, but even so, you might still be hesitant about taking the plunge. To make a decision, you need first determine if you genuinely want to highlight the space or the items within it. If you’d rather focus on key pieces of décor spread throughout the room, then an accent wall might end up detracting from those items. Alternatively, if you’re working with a small budget and can’t spend much on decorations, accent walls could be an affordable solution. They can also liven up areas that inherently aren’t heavily decorated
Tips to Create Your Accent Wall
1. Look for Symmetry
While this is by no means an absolute rule, symmetry can go a long way to making an accent wall work. For most spaces, choosing an asymmetrical wall will give you a much more aesthetically pleasing result. For asymmetry to work, it has to be very intentional. Subtle asymmetry, such as having oddly spaced windows in a room, can leave you feeling unbalanced or thrown off without fully understanding why.
2. You Don’t Have to Stick to a Wall
The term is accent wall, but that doesn’t mean the wall itself is the only thing you can paint. In cases where you have built-in or pop up structures that are fairly large in size, you could consider painting those instead of the rest of the wall to draw attention to them. Other creative options for awkwardly shaped spaces include ceilings and doors.
3. Consider the Effects of Your Color Choice
Choosing the right color is probably the most important step in the process. However, it’s not just about selecting a color that you think is attractive. Painting an accent wall is all about the contrast between said wall and the rest of the room. Some element of contrast is necessary, and a bold choice in colors can make a real statement. But if the contrast is too high, it can be uncomfortable to the eye, making it seem like the components of the room don’t mesh. Other things to consider are the effects of using lighter or darker tones and cooler or warmer hues.
If you’re thinking about transforming your house with the addition of an accent wall but aren’t sure where to begin, the professionals at PaintPro can help. Contact us today to speak to an interior painting specialist in Austin. We’d be more than happy to go over the details of your project and figure out what will work best for you.