If you’ve caught yourself looking around your home and thinking that things are a bit dated or maybe just a little blah, now’s the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and take on a DIY makeover. But if you don’t have the time, energy or funds to put into a complete overhaul of your decor, don’t worry. A creative accent wall is just the thing to enhance your home’s look and add a great new focal point to any room. Dramatic colors and patterns can be intimidating, but you can play it safe and still make a bold statement by designating just one wall as a special focal point. Whether you use patterned wallpaper, wood boards or turn your wall into a chalkboard, these DIY accent walls are daringly different.
Choosing the Location of Your Accent Wall
Your first job is to select which wall you want to highlight. Since this wall will be covered in an eye-catching color or pattern, you’ll want to choose the place you want the eye to linger. You’re creating a focal point, so the view should be a good one. In most homes, it makes sense to choose a wall that already serves as the backdrop to something important, like a fireplace in the living room, or perhaps your media center. Accent walls don’t typically have many doors or windows in them to break up the space, but a wall with windows can work if you’re framing a great view — and not a window that looks out onto your neighbor’s trash cans.
It can also make sense to make your accent wall the one behind your room’s most prominent piece of furniture. In a living room, this would be the wall behind your sofa; in a bedroom, it’s behind your bed. Making this your accent wall draws guests directly to the seating and turns your furniture into the focal point of the room.
The bottom line? Choose an accent wall that’s in a place you want your guests to look and linger, since your stand-out wall is sure to capture their attention.
Creative Accent Wall Ideas
For some accent wall inspiration, consider these unique ideas. They’re bold choices, but these designs will enhance rather than overpower your room.
The Green Wall
Bring a touch of nature into your room by adding a green wall of living plants into your space. This idea can work in any room, but it will be most successful on the north wall of a room with southern exposure. This will provide plenty of sunlight to keep the plants healthy and vibrant.
To make a green wall, you’ll need specialized containers to hang your plants on the wall. The Wally One Vertical Wall Planter is a good choice, since it’s lightweight and easy to mount on the wall with wall anchors and drywall screws. If you’re concerned about the expense of covering your wall with planters, try placing a row across the top and planting them with ivy, which will send its long vines trailing down towards the floor. For additional plant recommendations and a how-to video, check out this blog post on Huffington Post.
Horizontal boards are all the rage for accents walls today, taking over where 1970s wood paneling left off to add the rustic charm of wood to a room. Laminate floorboards are lightweight and typically less expensive than hardwood, and you have hundreds of style choices — everything from light birch and deep walnut to the look of salvaged barn boards are yours for the choosing. This look works especially well to create a headboard/accent wall in the bedroom.
Laminate planks are installed on the wall in basically the same way you would on the floor, but with the addition of construction adhesive along the back to adhere the boards to the wall. Nail the first piece in place with a brad nailer, then snap the remaining pieces in place using only adhesive. Keep a quarter-inch space around all sides to account for expansion, and add trim all around to complete the project and hide your expansion joints around the edge.
Wallpaper is hot right now, and using it as an accent wall is a great way to enjoy a bold pattern without overwhelming your room or causing your home to feel stuffy or dated. Wallpaper is a great choice for formal dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms, but is best avoided in wet areas like the kitchen or bath.
To install wallpaper, patch any holes on your accent wall and give it a coat of wallpaper primer. Mix your wallpaper paste and cut a strip of paper about six inches longer than the height of your wall. Paint the wall with the paste and position the paper, then smooth down with a wallpapering tool to remove any bubbles. Continue adding strips around the wall, trimming as needed with a sharp utility knife.
Bold Paint Colors
Paint is the easiest way to create a stand-out accent wall, and you can complete the project in a day since you’ll only have to paint a small area. This works in any room of the house, and you can add more drama by using a reflective gloss paint or by taping off the area to make a two-toned accent wall with horizontal or vertical stripes. For a bit of creative inspiration, check out this blog post on Monica Wants It.
As with any painting project, patch and prime first. Tape off the corners so you don’t get your new accent color on the walls that you want to keep neutral, then use a paint brush to cut in around the edges before rolling the paint on. You’ll always need to apply two coats; very dark colors often require three coats to ensure even coverage.
If you’re artistic, swap out regular paint for flat black chalkboard paint as an accent wall. This allows you to use colored chalk to doodle and make notes to your heart’s content. When you get bored of one design, you can erase your handiwork and start again. This is a great look for the kitchen backsplash, where you can reserve a spot for a grocery list or the week’s dinner menu.
Use chalkboard paint as described above to paint your accent wall. To clean your chalkboard wall, erase gently with a felt eraser. If you need a bigger boost, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to a bucket of warm water and wipe across your wall with a sponge. Allow to dry for 24 hours before you draw a new design.
With some imagination and willingness to be just a bit daring, you can turn a wall of your room into a super-charged highlight of your decor. An accent wall is a great way to use your favorite color or pattern in your space without worrying about overdoing it. So relax, have fun, and get creative with your new look!