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Accent Wall: Cheap, Easy Total Room Transformation

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How to Add an Accent Wall
Accent Wall

Accent Wall - Living Room

© Sherwin-Williams; Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams
The accent wall is the ultimate DIY painting project. It's fast (rarely takes more than a couple of hours); it's easy (paint, roller, and masking tape); and can even be done in apartments (easy to undo when you move). In this article, you will learn the basics of accent walls and get a few ideas about accent wall designs for your house or apartment.

What's an Accent Wall?

An accent wall is one wall within a single room that is markedly different and more interesting than the other walls in the room.

Typically, the accent wall is painted, though this is not always the case. The accent wall usually has a richer color than the other walls, as well.

Accent Wall Basics

  • The accent wall is usually the first wall that you see when entering a room.
  • It can help to anchor or define a separate area within a larger space. For example, within a large, open-plan house, an accent wall can define a smaller area as being a reading area.
  • The accent wall highlights a large focal point on or near that wall: TV, entertainment center, bed, fireplace, bookcase. Accent walls are rarely found floating around on their own.
  • In most cases, an accent wall is a bold color (e.g., orange) against neutral walls (e.g., white). However...
  • Another version of the accent wall is a vibrant shade against other walls of the same shade. For example, a rich orange against other, very pale orange walls.
  • An accent wall doesn't mean you throw color coordination out the window.
  • Don't forget that wallpaper and tile can also make an accent wall, not just paint.
This picture shows the "classic accent wall," even down to the choice of orange (for some reason, orange has become the standard color for accent walls). The orange accent is behind the main focal point of the room--the TV and bookcases.
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