Accent walls are a wonderful way to revitalize your home’s interior, create a sense of architectural interest, draw attention to a space you’d like to highlight, assist in distinguishing one zone from another, and help change the look and feel of a room. Creating an accent wall is a small task that has a huge impact. But can any wall be an accent wall?
Any wall can be an accent wall, but certain walls make for more effective and impactful accent walls than others. These are typically walls with a clear focal point, points of architectural interest, and those that do not have any obstructions, such as doors or windows.
Some interior design rules are made to be broken, while others are in place for a reason. Don’t let trying to figure out the dos and don’ts of accent walls drive you up the wall. Simply read this article and discover all the information you need to make an informed decision.
Can Any Wall Be An Accent Wall?
Once you’ve decided that an accent wall is what your home’s interior design plan has been crying out for, you need to decide which wall will be best. Can any wall be an accent wall, or is one specific wall more suitable than the other?
Begin by asking yourself this question: “Where is my eye naturally drawn to when I enter the room?”.
In a nutshell, the wall that makes for the perfect accent wall is the wall that acts as the natural focal point in the room. This is generally the first wall you see when you walk in, but not always. Often, if you have a point of architectural interest, this becomes the room’s natural focal point.
How To Identify The Focal Point Of A Room
If you’re unsure what your room’s focal point is, all is not lost. Figuring out a room’s focal point doesn’t have to be difficult. If the room has any architectural interest points, simply look around and decide which point is the largest or most striking.
Common points of architectural interest include:
- Chimney breasts
- Picture windows
- Built-in window seats
- Built-in bookshelves
- Reading nooks
If the room doesn’t have any points of architectural interest, then furniture is the next best focal point identifier. Suppose the room doesn’t have any furniture in it yet. In that case, an easy way to identify the focal point is to simply invite a friend, family member, or even a neighbor into the room and ask them to tell you which part of the room their eyes were drawn to.
How To Create A Focal Point In A Room
Sometimes, a room may not have a focal point. In such cases, the room is your oyster! You are free to create your own focal point with minimal effort. Creating a focal point in a room is relatively easy. Here are a few of the different tools you can use to go about creating a focal point from scratch:
- Light fixtures
- Framed photographs
Should Certain Walls Be Avoided For Accent Walls?
Some walls are the perfect canvas for an accent wall, while others simply aren’t. There aren’t any unbreakable rules when it comes to picking the right wall for the job, but you should definitely consider asking yourself the following questions to make your life a little bit easier.
Does The Wall Have Any Obstructions?
If the wall has any obstructions, it’s not easy to turn it into an accent wall. The most common obstruction found on walls is a window. Generally speaking, walls that have windows don’t work well as accent walls for several reasons.
Here are the main reasons why a wall with a window obstructing it won’t make for a great accent wall:
- If the window has a view, an accent wall will most likely distract from the view outside rather than compliment it.
- As the level of natural light allowed in through the window changes throughout the day, this will interfere with the appearance of the paint. You may love the way the light plays on the paint in the morning but find it looks dull and dreary in the evening.
- If you want your accent wall to be the center of attention, the window – and whatever it looks out onto – may hinder this.
Is The Wall Symmetrical?
Symmetrical walls make for the best accent walls. Walls that are sloped, oddly shaped, or boast a strange configuration generally will not work. While this is a general guideline for most, it will not apply to all.
Walls that aren’t symmetrical are difficult to turn into accent walls simply because their asymmetry isn’t aesthetically pleasing. Most people try to divert attention away from such walls rather than attract more to them. Unless you love your asymmetrical wall and want to make it the star of the show, avoid turning it into an accent wall.
Is The Wall A Standalone Wall Or A Shared Wall?
Making a shared wall the accent wall is also a no-no in the interior design world. A common feature in open-plan spaces, shared walls are exactly that: a wall shared by multiple “zones” of a room, which are usually rooms of their own.
Shared walls don’t work as accent walls because they’re generally too long to be considered effective. Plus, shared accent walls make it difficult to tell where one zone stops and the other starts, which defeats the purpose (not to mention the flow!) of an open plan area.
What Shape Is The Room?
When choosing an accent wall, sometimes you forget about the room it’s going to be in! You must pay close attention to the room’s shape before deciding which wall will be the accent wall.
Of course, in a square room with four identical walls, you don’t have to work too hard at figuring out which one will be right for an accent wall. But in rooms that aren’t square, you may have your work cut out for you.
In narrow rooms or those distinctly oblong in shape, you should avoid making either of the longer walls the accent wall and instead opt for the shorter wall at the far end of the room. By making one of the longer walls the accent wall, all you’re going to do is make the room look and feel too narrow, too long, or simply disproportionate.
And, lastly, if you’re attempting to create an accent wall in a round room, well, you’re going to run into some difficulty! Look to the sky for guidance in such rooms – and make the ceiling your faux accent wall instead!
3 Factors To Keep In Mind When Picking An Accent Wall
As is the case with most aspects of interior design, there are numerous factors to keep in mind when deciding which wall to use as your accent wall. Here are three of the most important considerations you must be aware of.
1. Remember The Purpose Of An Accent Wall
When choosing which wall you would like to make an accent wall, it’s imperative that you remember the reason why you want an accent wall in the first place.
Are you looking to draw attention to a specific section of a room? Maybe you’d like to highlight a point of architectural interest. Or are you hoping to use an accent wall as a sort of room divider? Is a bright backdrop for your beloved family photographs all you’re after? Perhaps you simply like the idea of a splash of color and haven’t given much thought to the specifics.
Ultimately, your reason for wanting an accent wall should guide your decision as to which wall is up to the task. Let logic lend you a helping hand here, and you won’t go wrong.
2. Think About The Room
When choosing which wall is going to be the accent wall, the room it’s going to be in is a critical consideration. Time has tested many theories, and it has also proven that certain walls make for the best accent walls in certain types of rooms.
Accent Walls In Kitchens
The best wall to make the accent wall in a kitchen is usually the wall behind your primary workstation or stovetop. If one of the walls in your kitchen boasts built-in shelves, this will make for a superb accent wall. Avoid choosing the wall behind your white goods, such as your refrigerator or washing machine, as these will hide the wall.
Accent Walls In Dining Rooms
When choosing an accent wall in your dining room, the wall that is directly opposite the point of entry is usually the best choice as it’s the first wall you see when you enter. Naturally, the table is typically the focal point of the dining room, so it’s always a safe bet to use the wall behind it.
Accent Walls In Bathrooms
Surprisingly, bathrooms provide plenty of wriggle room when it comes to choosing which wall to make the accent wall. Allow the shape and size of the bathroom, as well as its built-in components such as a basin or bathtub, to determine which wall should be the accent wall. The wall behind the shower or bathtub is a popular choice, as well as the wall behind the porcelain throne.
Accent Walls In Bedrooms
In bedrooms, the wall that is directly behind the bed is the most appropriate choice for an accent wall. This is simply because the bed is almost always the room’s natural focal point. In addition, bedrooms are mainly used for sleeping, so staring at an attention-grabbing wall as you try to drift off to sleep may not be the best idea.
Accent Walls In Living Rooms
When it comes to accent walls in living rooms, the room’s existing features are usually the decider. This is usually either the wall behind your fireplace (or the chimney breast itself), the wall behind your sofa, or the wall behind your television.
Accent Walls In Home Offices
Lately, many people have found themselves working from home more often than they’re used to, so redecorating the home office is at the top of many a to-do list. Picking an accent wall in a home office is straightforward since these rooms are typically uncluttered. The best accent wall for a home office is the wall that is right behind your desk and work-from-home setup.
3. Ask Yourself: “What About The Other Walls?”
Given that this article is all about accent walls, it may seem strange to consider the rest of the walls, but it’s imperative that you do so. A hard and fast rule of accent walls is this: there can only be one accent wall in one room. Having more than one accent wall defeats the goal that an accent wall is supposed to accomplish.
Consider the rest of the walls and how they will behave with the potential accent wall. Are you going to need to give the remaining walls a new coat of paint to complement the accent wall’s color? Are you going to leave them bare to allow the focus to firmly be on the accent wall, or are you going to decorate them in such a way that they naturally divert attention to the accent wall?
An accent wall should immediately grab the attention of anyone who enters the room. It should not have to fight for attention because of the non-accent walls around it.
And there you have it! The answer to your question of “can any wall be an accent wall?” once and for all. Again, it’s worth mentioning that the guidelines mentioned in today’s article are exactly that: guidelines.
At the end of the day, your house is your home, and you can do whatever you’d like with the walls within it. As long as you don’t have any interior designer friends, that is!