Painting Accent Walls

Painting Accent walls

accent walls

Have you ever wondered how to pick the right color and which wall to feature as an accent wall? On occasion, customers ask for an estimate to paint “accent walls.” We’ve all seen accent walls in magazines and model homes. In these photos, you’re only seeing one part of the space. You see a well-staged room, but remember, you must think of the wall in relation to the rest of your home.

People want to decorate and have a home that is on trend, without spending thousands of dollars. Accent walls are a great addition to a project but need to be executed correctly. If done poorly, it can be a disaster!

Just accent walls?

I have had several customers over the years call me with the typical, “builder white” walls. In this scenario, all the ceilings and walls are the same flat color. When I have been called about this, I am often asked to additionally paint a few accent walls. Adding a few “pops of color” will not always deliver the intended look. In order to achieve a certain look, all of the colors and the decor in a space must be carefully considered.

When simply choosing to paint a few accent walls, you are ignoring the other walls that most likely should also be painted. Most homes, unless it is a brand new home, have wear and tear that need attention. Unless you and your spouse are empty-nesters or require your children to wear gloves in the house, your walls will also take a beating on a regular basis.

Selecting the right wall to accent.accent wall

Besides the topic of “just painting accent walls,” you’ve got to know how to select the right wall to be the accent wall. I have a few rules of thumb. Most accent walls should only be done for two specific reasons:

  1. The wall is symmetrical.
  2. The wall has an architectural detail you want to highlight, like an art niche, a fireplace detail, or special moldings.

Accent walls grab attention and should be chosen for a specific reason. If the wall is odd shaped or ordinary, it should not be chosen.

Picking the right color for an accent wall.

Customers always want to know how to pick the right color for an accent wall.  Now I am no color expert, but I have selected a TON of colors for customers over the years.  In fact, I used to do all the color selection for our customers and was even named as one of the best resources for color design in Denver by a major home décor magazine.  When selecting an accent color, I usually look for colors that are already present in the space.  For inspiration, I will usually look at pillows, pictures, rugs, drapes, or bedding.  Often times, I would recommend a color that we would use in another part of the home for an accent color.  For example, the living room and dining room might be one color while the main space or family room is another.  I would use the living room/dining room color as an accent in the family room, whichThis works well to bring unity and cohesion in the space, without letting it get too busy. 

One big mistake I often see other “color designers” do is make an accent color two or three shades off the main color.  As a painter, it drives me crazy, as you can barely see the color change due to shadows and different light directions.  If you want to accent something, go big or go home I always say.  The worst is when we are asked to use one color number off of the main number.  You would look straight at the walls and not notice anything.  My feeling is that some color designers feel the need to select a lot of different colors to justify their fees.  I believe less is more and to keep it simple.  I like using multiple colors, but you need to be thoughtful and be sensible.  If you can hold two color cards out with straight arms, separate them (not hold them right next to each other), and are unable to tell a color difference, you need to select one of them and terminate the other.

Accent walls can be tricky to select, but if done right, they can add interest and excitement to a space with little additional money.  I would suggest not to over think it and not to force it.  If you want an accent wall, go back to my two rules of thumb: Is the wall symmetrical? and/or does it have an architectural detail you would like to highlight?  I have literally had to tell customers that they have NO good walls to accent.  It’s okay.  Just make sure to use other types of décor in order to spice up the space. 

If you are looking to paint accent walls in Denver, and would like some assistance, please reach out to us, we would love to help.