Want to bring a splash of color into your room, but afraid to take the plunge? Try an accent wall—it'll add a focal point to the space without overwhelming the whole room. Here's how to get started.
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Accent walls add drama to a room—bringing in bold color that might be too much for a full room. Before you dive in, consider these ideas (and a few how-tos) to make the most of your design choices.

Ideas for Your Accent Wall

There's more to an accent wall than just slapping up some strong-colored paint. Consider these options to create a wow-worthy look.

pink accent wall in living room
Credit: Getty Images

Try a two-tone accent wall.

Two bold colors can make a strong statement on your accent wall. Choose colors that complement each other well.

Board and batten interior ideas - green bedroom accent wall
Credit: Courtesy of Ashton Woods

Add texture to your accent wall.

Board and batten or shiplap make your accent wall even more of a standout. 

Botanical Wallpaper
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Don't forget about wallpaper.

Wallpaper is back—and choosing a strong statement wallpaper enhances your space. 

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Consider paneling.

Paneling has moved beyond the '70s-era rec room look—as this bold accent wall shows.

living room with dark orange ceiling and green sofa
Credit: Christopher Testani

Do an accent ceiling instead.

Make the ceiling the centerpiece by painting it a bold color instead of traditional white. 

RELATED: Statement Ceilings Are the New Accent Wall

Bold Wall
Credit: Genevieve Garruppo

Paint in patterns.

A boldly painted accent wall is the perfect backdrop for a simply styled living room.

RELATED: 6 Things You Should Always Do Before Picking Out Paint

Bathroom Accent Wall Trend, teal tile
Credit: Robert Daly/Getty Images

Give your bathroom an accent wall.

Use colorful tile or bold colors to highlight a particular area of your bathroom.

RELATED: 8 Easy Ways to Update Your Bathroom—No Remodeling Required

Accent Wall Tips and Tricks

Ready to dive in? Strengthen your accent wall game with these how-to tips.

Trim paint colors - color wheel
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1 Choose your perfect accent color.

Since an accent wall is often the focal point of the room, select color wisely. "I tend to work with accent colors that are within the same color palette as the space," says interior designer Abbe Fenimore. "That way, the space has depth, looks cohesive, and is tactfully layered. If a really bold color is used, it's important to incorporate that color around the room using art, accessories, or a great rug."

For the finish, interior designer Sara Story suggests choosing paint with a high sheen level (meaning it's shinier) to make the wall even more interesting.

How to Prep Walls for Painting, Clean
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2 Prep your accent wall well.

Preparation is key to a good paint job. "To prep, make sure the surface is clean—that means removing cobwebs from corners, dust, and grease or smudges if it's a kitchen wall," says interior designer Timothy Brown. "Then, lightly sand the surface."

RELATED: 7 Things You Should Do Before You Start Any Paint Project 

Paint roller leaning on yellow-orange accent wall
Credit: Thomas Hauser/EyeEm/Getty Images

3 Be patient while you paint.

Even though it's only one wall instead of four, painting an accent wall still takes time and patience. "The number of coats depends on your desired saturation of color," says Brown. "Generally, that means one to two coats if you want a light color, and two to four coats if you want a dark, rich color. The best technique is slow and steady, especially with darker paints."

Zebra Scalamandre Wallpaper in red
Credit: The Inside

4 Take it to the next level.

If you like taking design risks, paint isn't the only way to create an accent wall. "Instead of using paint, choose a patterned wallpaper to add texture and vibrancy," says interior designer Amanda Reynal. "Then, paint the other three walls in either a neutral tone or a color from the wallpaper. The room will be unified and alive, and the wallpaper will act as artwork."

How to Turn Any House Into a Home
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5 Think about furniture placement.

After the accent wall is finished, determine how to incorporate furniture and accessories. "For a bedroom, I would recommend placing the bed in front of the accent wall," says Story. "For a living room, I would recommend placing the sofa in front of the accent wall."

Reynal is a fan of creating an accent wall in the dining room. "It's a place that's often hard to create visual interest," she says. "By styling the wall with a mirror, sconces, and a sideboard, it becomes part of the space and acts as a beautiful backdrop."