Painting Accent wallsHave you ever wondered how to pick the right color and wall to feature as an accent wall? We at Walls by Design get this question a lot. In fact, on occasion, customers have us come out to give an estimate only to paint “accent walls.” We have all gone to a model home or seen a home featured in a magazine with a dining room or hallway with a stunning accent wall. The problem is, you are only seeing part of the picture. You may be seeing a well-staged room, but you have to remember you live in your home and you need to think of the space as a whole. Cost can be a driving factor for many people to want accent walls. People want to decorate and have a home that is on trend, but they don’t want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars. Accent walls can be a great addition to a project, but they need to be executed the right way, or they will stand out and feel off.
Just accent walls?Over the years, several customers have come to us with the typical “builder white” walls: all the ceilings and walls are the same flat color. In this situation, I am often asked to “just paint a few accent walls.” I almost always talk the customer out of this for a few reasons. First, the finished product will look unfinished. The home will look exactly as you have asked, just a few walls painted. It will seem as though you didn’t have the money to paint the entire house. In the model home, all the colors would be designed to work together along with the décor. Adding a few “pops of color” to the old framework will not get you to your intended look. If you don’t believe me, how often have you gone shopping wearing your “normal clothes,” picked up a colorful sweater or scarf you liked, added it to your outfit for a “pop of color,” and it magically just worked? Almost never. Instead, you would construct a whole outfit involving that accessory so everything matched. In order to achieve a finished look, all of the colors and the décor in a space must be considered. By simply choosing to paint a few accent walls, you are ignoring the other walls in your home that likely need attention. Most homes, unless it is brand new, have wear and tear: walls get grimy. My wife and I bought a house two years ago, painted all the walls, and already our upstairs hall looks terrible due to two teenage monsters that inhabit the end of the hall. Unless you and your spouse are empty-nesters or you require your children to wear gloves in the house, your walls will also take a beating on a regular basis. Now that you know the entire space must be taken into consideration, you might be wondering how to select the right wall as an accent wall. I have a few rules of thumb. Most accent walls should only be painted if they meet one of two specific requirements:
- The wall is symmetrical.
- The wall has an architectural detail you want to highlight, like an art niche, a fireplace detail, or special moldings.