Tips for Painting an Accent Wall


Painting an entire room a deep or bold color is a big commitment. If you are not ready to make it, or can't because you live in an apartment, painting an accent wall might be the perfect solution. Accent walls can make a statement without overwhelming the room, accentuate architectural features or prized possessions and correct oddly proportioned spaces. Read on to find out how to choose the right wall to accent and the right paint color.

Choose the Wall

  • There are several factors to consider when choosing the right wall to make your accent wall. In some rooms, the choice will be obvious: the wall that contains the focal point of the room, such as a fireplace, large work of art, or headboard of a bed. By painting this wall you will further enhance this special feature, but if you choose another, you will compete with it.

    Typically accent walls should not contain doors or windows, which break up the block of color, unless it is a special window that you want to enhance, like arched, stained glass, or one that frames an amazing view. Also, consider the shape of the room. If the room is long and narrow, avoid accenting a long wall as it will only emphasize its length. Instead, accent the short side of the room so it appears to come forward and mediate the odd room shape.

Choose the Color

  • An accent wall should be at least three shades deeper than the surrounding walls. For a modern effect, choose a bold red accent color to contrast with white or pale gray walls. A more subtle statement involves painting the accent wall a slightly darker shade than the surrounding walls, such as pale green walls with a deep green accent.

    The color you choose should complement your decor but not match the largest items in the room, such as couches or chairs. Otherwise, the accent wall will lose its impact if the contents of the room blend into this background. If you have trim, such as baseboards and cornices, keep them a consistent color around the room; don't paint them to match the accent wall.


  • Painting an accent wall is much like painting any other wall. Since you are using a bold or deep color, you should get paint in a matte or eggshell finish rather than satin or gloss. Carefully tape off trim and adjoining walls. You will probably need to apply at least two or three coats to get proper coverage with an intense hue.

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  • Photo Credit Enrico Corno
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