How to Choose an Accent Wall
Read enough home improvement and decorating blogs, and you will quickly realize that adding an accent wall is one of the most commonly recommended home improvement projects. They’re perfect for adding color, pattern, or texture without overwhelming the room. The problem is that everyone is happy to provide examples of accent walls, but no one tells you how to choose a wall that should be the accent wall. Take the plunge and add an accent wall in your home with this helpful guide that will help you choose the perfect wall.
The Basics of Choosing an Accent Wall
There are three basic rules to follow when choosing a wall to turn into an accent wall:
- Focal point
- Inside Corners
Following these three rules will help you choose the right wall and avoid choosing the wrong wall. Adding an accent wall should be purposeful and enhance the room’s design. Choosing the wrong wall will either have no impact or a negative impact on the visual design of the room.
Typically, the best wall in a room to be the accent wall is the first wall you see when entering a room. This is the front and center wall and usually the focal point. This ensures that your work doesn’t go to waste because the accent wall is the feature in the room. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the focal wall in the room isn’t the first wall you see when entering the room. Instead, it’s the wall your eyes naturally travel to when standing in the room. This could be the wall with the fireplace in a living room. It could be the wall behind the bed’s headboard in a bedroom.
The wall that you choose should have symmetry to it. Sometimes, this is the focal point wall, and sometimes it isn’t. If the focal point wall doesn’t feel quite right, it is probably because the symmetry is off. Draw an imaginary vertical line down the center of the wall. The left and right sides should mirror each other. There shouldn’t be an odd placement of doors or windows. The top of the wall could have an angled slope from a vaulted ceiling. There could also be an uneven geometric shape to the wall.
Keep in mind that symmetry is not a hard rule. Sometimes, a non-symmetrical wall looks great as the accent wall. Therefore, it’s best to consider each wall on a case-by-case basis.
If you want your accent wall design to look purposeful, stick with a wall that’s bordered by two inside corners. It’s easier to transition from one color to another or from a wallpaper to paint when it is on an inside corner. This is why a nook makes a perfect accent.
Homes with open floorplans present a challenge with this rule. It’s significantly harder to transition an accent wall when one side has an outside corner. It can be done, but it’s significantly more challenging to create a professional finish on the outside corner side.
Consider the Size of the Room
Adding an accent wall breaks up the visual lines of the room, so adding one to a small room can make the room feel even smaller. This means that accent walls are best done in larger spaces that can support the visual weight of an accent wall.
In addition to size, you also should consider the shape. For example, if you have a long and narrow rectangle-shaped room, turning the furthest short wall into the accent wall will visually shorten the room, helping it to feel more balanced. Conversely, making one of the long walls the accent wall will accentuate the length, making it feel even longer.
Look For Architectural Details
An accent wall should be as solid as possible. This means it’s not broken up by doors and windows. These break up the wall and reduce your accent wall’s impact on the rest of the room. This is why the wall behind a bed or sofa are popular.
While looking for architecture to avoid, you should also look for details that signal the ideal wall. For example, if a wall has a fireplace or is a nook, these are details that signal you are on the right track for choosing the best wall in the room to be an accent wall.
Think About Furniture Placement
If you have a large piece of furniture covering most of a wall, this isn’t a great option for an accent wall. Walls that are already covered by the decor, furniture, and window treatments won’t benefit from being an accent wall. If you’re going to go through the investment and trouble of adding an accent wall, it should make an impact on your room. Instead, look for a wall that’s mostly open, allowing you to clearly see the accent wall.
What Is the Room’s Function?
If your home has an open floorplan, you can use an accent wall to visually define the space. Look at the different areas of the open space and how you use each area. Adding an accent wall visually breaks up the space. This creates a subtle signal to the eye that each space has a different use. Now you have more of a zoned space that helps each space to feel more intimate.
Accent Ceiling Instead of Wall
If all else fails and you can’t figure out a suitable wall for your accent wall, you have one option left. Instead of choosing one of the walls, consider the ceiling. This is considered the fifth wall by some interior designers. Painting the ceiling is a perfect option for a room that doesn’t have a natural focal point or isn’t symmetrical.
Painting the ceiling of a room a bright and bold color can transform the space while also creating the illusion that the ceiling is taller than it really is. You can paint the ceiling in large or small rooms. A light or bright color in a small room can help the room to feel bigger. A darker color in an extra-large room can help it to feel more comfortable and cozy.