DIY home decorating: 7 tips for painting an accent wall

November 6, 2014

Accent walls add a conversation-starting element to any space and can tie a room together. Here are seven simple tips that will make painting your own accent wall a snap.

DIY home decorating: 7 tips for painting an accent wall

1. Go bold...but not too bold

High-impact accent walls aren't for the faint of heart. Afraid your colour is too intense? Try choosing a similar (but more muted) shade with a hint of grey, or going just a few shades darker in your colour family.

2. Guess and check

Afraid of commitment? No problem.

  • If you're nervous about painting your first accent wall, it's best to start with a "swatch test" — narrow your choices down to three or four shades, then paint a medium-sized swatch on the future accent wall to test them out.
  • After spending a few days with your colours, you'll know which one is right for the space.

3. Location, location, location

Not sure which wall to emphasize?

  • Think about your accent wall as if it were a large piece of art you were going to hang.
  • Which is the focal wall of your space, where art would best be showcased?
  • Would you hang it above your fireplace? On a large blank wall above the couch? Either would be a great place for an accent wall.

4. The little things count

Alternately, you can choose to focus on a wall that doesn't get much love, using the opposite school of thought as in the tip above.

  • Got a skinny wall that's mostly taken up by a door? Give it a little pop of contrast rather than dedicating a huge blank space to your accent colour.
  • It's more subtle, and it makes a nice "moment" out of an otherwise under-appreciated space.

5. It's all in the details

Pick your accent wall colour by thinking small. If a room is done in predominantly blue shades, painting a blue accent wall may drown out your favourite things about the space.

  • Instead, pay attention to the colours of accent objects and scope out background shades in patterns.
  • Is that a pewter-grey thread woven in among the blues? There's your accent colour.

6. Box yourself in

To add a graphic element to your space and even make it look bigger in the process, here's a tip.

  • Tape off a large proportionate rectangle rather than painting the entire wall. The extra white space will make an even more pronounced "pop" and give the illusion of depth.

7. Get off the wall

Looking for a unique way to set your space apart?

  • Try painting an accent ceiling instead.
  • A deep, dramatic colour that would otherwise darken a room can be a perfect shade for the ceiling — especially for homes with intricate mouldings.
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