How to Paint an Accent Wall Want to bring a splash of color into your room, but afraid to take the plunge? Try an accent wall—it’ll add a focal point to the space without overwhelming the whole room. Here’s how to get started. By Sarah Yang
Generally, an accent wall is supposed to be the focal point of the room, so select the color wisely. “I tend to work with accent colors that are within the same color palette as the space,” says interior designer Abbe Fenimore. “That way, the space has depth, looks cohesive, and is tactfully layered. If a really bold color is used, it’s important to incorporate that color around the room using art, accessories, or a great rug.” For the finish, interior designer Sara Story suggests using choosing paint with a high sheen level (which means it’s shinier), to make the wall even more interesting.
2 Prep “To prep, make sure the surface is clean—that means removing cobwebs from corners, dust, and grease or smudges if it’s a kitchen wall,” says interior designer Timothy Brown. “Then, lightly sand the surface.” Go here for more painting prep tips.
3 Paint Even though it’s only one wall instead of four, painting an accent wall still takes some time and patience. “The number of coats depends on your desired saturation of color,” says Brown. “Generally, that means one to two coats if you want a light color, and two to four coats if you want a dark, rich color. The best technique is slow and steady, especially with darker paints.”
4 Or Take It to the Next Level If you like taking risks in design, paint isn’t the only way to create an accent wall. “Instead of using paint, choose a patterned wallpaper to add texture and vibrancy,” says interior designer Amanda Reynal. “Then, paint the other three walls in either a neutral tone or a color from the wallpaper. The room will be unified and alive, and the wallpaper will act as artwork.”
5 Think About Furniture Placement After the accent wall is finished, the next task is deciding how to incorporate your existing furniture and home accessories. “For a bedroom, I would recommend placing the bed in front of the accent wall,” says Story. “For a living room, I would recommend placing the sofa in front of the accent wall.” Reynal is a fan of creating an accent wall in the dining room. “It’s a place that’s often hard to create visual interest,” she says. “By styling the wall with a mirror, sconces, and a sideboard, it becomes part of the space and acts as a beautiful backdrop.”