Check out our 5 reasons to add an accent wall to your home and a few ones not to add one to help you decide what’s right for your living space.
All white rooms or solid-colored rooms tend to get boring after a while plus they may reduce the value of your home. You may like the white walls and the red ceiling, but you’ll be alone. So, understanding colors and how they complement or contrast each other is important. If necessary, consult a professional or use an online tool to work out which colors to use.
Sherwin Williams offers an online tool that helps you visualize what colors and different types of paint look like once you paint them on your walls. It is simple to use and may prevent you from making some terrible painting mistakes. Otherwise, talk to the people at the paint counter at your local home supply store or find color schemes online.
We urge you to spend some time online or with a decorator before you decide on the placement and color for an accent wall. If you get it wrong, you may lower the value of your home and end up spending more money on repainting a poor choice. That said, it is your home, and you get to pick the colors and paint scheme. Still, we’re not convinced hot pink shutters make a good choice.
Reasons to Add an Accent Wall to Your Home
Many of the reasons people add an accent wall to a room end up being personal reasons. They like the idea or want a specific look, and there's no reason not to paint your home your way. However, there may be other reasons that make an accent wall a good idea. Personal decisions aside, let’s look at the reasons an accent wall is a good idea starting with:
Adding texture: there’s no definition that says an accent wall is a painted wall. Brick, wallpaper, stone, and a number of other wall treatments. You may get lucky and be able to remove a barrier to expose brick or stone behind it. Usually, this only happens when a brick home gets a new addition, and the bricks walls were covered over. The goal is contrast and separation.
An accent wall may end up as the best way to break up an area without adding new construction. For instance, a large room with more than four corners is an excellent example since you can paint the room different colors on each end and separate the ends with an accent wall. Granted, some other things need to be in play like an exterior wall with many windows or a large door to make this work well.
Adding one darker color to a single wall in an otherwise solid, light-colored room will amaze you. Add a dark taupe wall to a space dominated by white paint and may be amazed at the difference. The same goes for rooms with dark color only in reverse. Avoid harsh transitions if you plan to sell your home and add the accent wall for this purpose.
A roof leak, accident, small fire, or a host of other things may happen that only damage one wall. For instance, let’s say a roof leak damaged a wall while you were on vacation and you replaced about ten square feet of the wall. Matching the paint may seem simple but adding an accent wall is easier.
We often see accent walls around a fireplace or built-in bookshelves. The reason for this is the owner wants to hide or highlight these features. A light-colored stone fireplace in a room with dark paint is ugly, but an accent wall painted the right color helps it blend in and removes the harsh contrast. The reverse of this effect is possible as well.
Don’t start painting accent walls in every room just yet. Consider all the reasons to make sure this is the best option for your room or rooms. Frankly, walking through a home with multiple accent walls may seem like a trip through the funhouse at the carnival for some people. Overdoing the accent walls may lower the value of your home as well.
Accent Wall Mistakes
While you mull over the reasons to add an accent wall, you need to consider the reasons an accent wall may not be the best idea for your home. If you often socialize at other people’s homes, you’ve probably noticed an accent wall that just didn’t seem right or makes a statement that’s a little too bold. Don’t be that person.
The biggest mistakes you’ll see is adding an accent wall to a busy room. Rooms with a lot of furniture or things on the wall make poor choices for an accent wall. The room gets too busy at this point and possibly confusing to the eye. Use the furniture, painting, and other items to create accents and make the room stand out or look larger.
Don’t add an accent wall to a sunroom or any room with a lot of windows on opposite walls unless you plan to keep the wall colors neutral. Contrasting walls in a well-lit room with a bunch of windows remove the focal point and makes the room confusing to the eye. It may even work backward and make the room seem smaller.
We mentioned it before, but it deserves a note in this section; don’t forget all the other wall treatments and styles available for accent walls. This is likely one of the biggest mistakes people make when they decide to add an accent wall. For instance, why not make the entire wall around a fireplace into a stone wall to match the fireplace?
If you change the color of your rooms often, don’t use the last piece of advice above. Consider how often you repaint or plan to turn things around before you commit to something drastic like adding stone or brick to a wall. Changing those things gets difficult, and sometimes they lose their appeal quickly. Wallpaper is easier to adjust but messy, so avoid that unless you are sure it works for you.
Selling your home is a trying process, and it won't go the way you've imagined. A lot of things come into play when a potential buyer is looking for a new home or investment. They may plan to repaint or remodel the house, but your design gives them clues about how things might look in the end. Poorly designed rooms may push them away.
Other Ways to Add Accent to a Wall
We love a well placed and designed accent wall but using some other options may suit your home or needs better than painting a wall. The key here is adding some contrast and using a wall to separate the room a little bit. Paint, stone, brick, and wallpaper make great accent tools, but you may need storage space or an entertainment center which also make great accent tools.
Bookshelves, not a library, add contrast to any room. They’re usually big and bulky, so use them sparingly and in large rooms for the best effect. Well framed built-in bookshelves may end up being a better idea for smaller rooms. Avoid going bookshelf crazy, or your house may suffer for it, plus filling those bookshelves up gets expensive.
Like bookshelves, shelves or cabinets offer some of the same benefits, and you can store stuff in them. Try not to cover more than 70 percent of the wall with exterior shelves or cabinets. Built-in shelves and cabinets offer more forgiveness if you want to include more of the wall with them. This idea works very well in large rooms with more than one corner.
Some Final Notes
You have a lot to consider before you add an accent wall or add accent to your walls. We outlined some don’ts but remember it’s your house and you don’t need approval from anyone if you’re happy with the way it looks. We don’t recommend it, but if you want red bookshelves over a black and white striped wall, go for it.
A key thing to remember when you’re designing your home’s interior is the style and personality of the house. Some homes accept accent walls and features better than others. A-frame homes with an open loft may get confusing to the eye if you add too much contrast. Furniture, lighting, or floor coverings probably make better accent tools for these types of homes.
Remember, you are stuck living in this house, and it needs to feel like home to you. Fixing home design mistakes gets expensive if you go after it using the trial and error method. If you don't know or can’t make up your mind, consult a professional decorator and let them help you make decisions. If you explain your plan to the people at the paint store and they look at you in horror, rethink your strategy.