People frequently ask me about accent walls when I’m teaching my class: Choose Colors with Confidence. It’s easy to make accent wall mistakes. I decided to go into more depth on accent walls for a recent presentation. Searching for example photos I saw many sad mistakes.
Accent walls are popular because they’re featured in so many home makeovers. I believe this is because the TV decorators have twenty four hours and a budget of $1.98 to transform a room for the “big reveal.” Painting a wall in a bold color and grouping all the best pieces from the room in front it is a quick and easy solution for dramatic television visuals.
So why so many sad mistakes when creating accent walls in the real world?
Learn How to Avoid Accent Wall Mistakes. Learn the logic to successful accent walls here.
This is the first of a series of articles that will show you when to use accent walls and how to make them a success in your home.
I rarely recommend accent walls just to have an accent wall because they can visually chop-up the look of a room.
I suggest an accent wall when it is desired by a client and supports an existing or planned focal point of a room.
An accent wall by it’s nature becomes the focus of the room. Your eye is automatically drawn to that area of color. But looking at some of the photos, I noticed that I felt cheated because the furniture and artwork framed by the accent wall were bland and boring. As a viewer I wanted a bigger payoff. If you are going to use an accent wall you need some drama there. Without drama this is an accent wall mistake.
Accent walls are most successful when they:
- Frame a large and bold piece of art that is the focal point of the room
- Frame a large and dramatic headboard in a master bedroom, when there are no other competing decorative or architectural features.
- Highlght an architectural element:
- A large wall that works as a sculptural element in the space.
- A large and beautifully designed mantelpiece.
- In a very large space that has nothing architecturally or decoratively interesting in it, a bold color on a large wall can work.
This is an example of an accent wall that falls short. There needs to be more drama on that wall. And the accent wall makes the room look smaller.
Here is an example of a bold color highlighting a wall that is big and works like a sculptural element in the space.
Here is a missed opportunity. This dark gray wall would be so much more effective if it was behind the bed and framing the artwork above the headboard.
This is an example of a successful accent wall. The room itself is rather unadorned architecturally. With the artwork on the wall, the accent wall anchors and supports the bed and provides some decorative drama to the room.
Avoid Accent Wall Mistakes: Successful accent walls work in harmony with other elements to create a focal point for the room.
What experiences have you had with accent walls? Join the conversation below.
Next article: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Fireplace Accent Walls.
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