Posted by Dan O'Malley in Home Design

A new home is like a blank canvas just beckoning you to not only unpack your boxes, but also to unleash your personal design aesthetic.

One of the simplest, yet most poignant ways to exclaim your style and add a pinch of pizazz to any room is with an accent wall. Be it a bathroom, family room, bedroom, flex room, or study, from accentuating a fireplace or other architectural feature of your home to adding a punch of color, texture, or pattern, the opportunities to create a dazzling, show-stopping design statement are virtually endless.

Accent walls are alive and well in the interior design world. If you're looking for easy accent wall ideas or wondering where to even begin when making an accent wall, it's time to freshen up your interior, roll up your sleeves, and get inspired to create.

What Is an Accent Wall?

An accent wall is a featured wall typically highlighted or emphasized by color, pattern, texture, or design.

If you’re looking for a simple way to transform a lackluster space into one with a little more personality and style—while not dramatically altering the foundations of the room—an accent wall is an ideal interior design option.

Add Paint for a Pop of Personality in Your Accent Wall

While an accent wall could be something as subtle as painting the wall a few shades darker than the rest of the walls, don’t be afraid to really make a splash with a bold color on your accent wall—anything from deep jewel tones to light pastels or vibrant hues.

Adding paint is an inexpensive and easily interchangeable way to spice up a space.

Use a dark color behind lighter furniture for additional contrast. Deep greens, navy, black, or dark grays used in moderation can enhance the drama an accent wall exudes.

A child’s bedroom can be brought to life by painting an accent wall their favorite color. And, because preferences change over the years, it’s an easy design update later on as well.

Break out the chalkboard paint in a kids' play room to let them scribble away and let their imagination run wild! This is also fun in a kitchen as a functional place to jot down grocery lists, recipe ideas, or upcoming calendar reminders. Not only does the striking black wall add a sharp focal point and claim the attention of the space, but it also doubles as a visual art piece that could change on a daily basis.

Balance stronger accent colors with neutral colors on other walls. Bright, electric accent walls can add a modern or stark contrast, but if you’re looking for something a little more subdued yet still impactful, gray, beige, or off-white can still be utilized for an elevated and subliminal way to draw the eye.

Accent Wall Paint Ideas

An accent wall doesn’t have to be limited to just one color. What is your interior decorating style? Whether your preference teeters more toward the modern, minimalistic, farmhouse, or boho aesthetic, adding geometric patterns can add a whimsical flair.

From stripes to color blocking, elaborate murals, or intricate designs, you can easily add a touch of dimension and intrigue.

Play around with painter's tape to easily section off shapes, geometric lines, and patterns. Layer your wall color with tone-on-tone paint that can work well with any color and add a sleek accent to your space.

The sky’s the limit—or maybe in this case, the ceiling. An accent wall isn’t limited to just the four walls surrounding a space.

Have you considered adding this color? Draw your eye up with lines that flow from the wall up to the ceiling, or add a splash of color to this undervalued space.

Wood Accent Wall Ideas

Between wood planking and shiplap, utilizing wood can take your accent wall to the next level.

Ideal for a farmhouse-style aesthetic or decorative wall panels that contribute to a contemporary and dimensional appeal, this technique is simple and fairly easy, but has a big impact.

Couple your wood texture with paint for an even more impactful statement piece! From classic white to dark forest green or a powerful black, each one contributes to a different overall vibe.

Rustic white shiplap can be used as an accent anywhere from a bedroom to a family room, extra hallway, or even a study, making for a perfect Zoom meeting background.

Traditional tongue-in-groove shiplap could be added to a wall or even the ceiling for an impactful flair. Even the width of the shiplap can vary, depending on the feel you are trying to create and the size of the wall you are dressing.

Looking for something with a little more contrast? Up the ante by painting the wall a vibrant color and increasing the space between the wood just ever so slightly so that a bit of color peeks through the shiplap boards.

Shiplap isn’t the only way to add dimension and texture to a wall. Using wood trim to bring geometric patterns to life adds a sleek and novel design that captivates the space.

From a structured grid to a cross-hatch layout or an avant-garde design, the opportunities to create a noteworthy accent wall are endless. Take a look here for some DIY tips and tricks to bring your vision to live.

Make Your Home Uniquely Reflect Your Interior Design Style

If you’ve been at a loss as to what to do with that extra wall in your room or haven’t known quite how to accentuate the room, try putting a couple of these tips and tricks to the test to really let your home showcase your own authentic, personalized, and memorable style.

Read the story how one M/I homeowner created accent walls of her own and achieved the farmhouse look they were going for with several different darling wall treatment ideas.

Feeling inspired or already have an accent wall at home that brings a smile to your face each and every day? We’d love to see how you’ve made your house a home. Share a photo of your favorite accent wall and tag @mihomes!


Dan O'Malley
Dan O'Malley


Dan O’Malley is the Vice President of Product Development for M/I Homes.With over 30 years of expertise in residential architecture and design, Dan has been overseeing the product needs of the company's 16 divisions located throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Nashville and Texas for the past 12 years. Before joining M/I Homes, he was a partner in the Chicago office of BSB Design, a national residential architectural firm, for 14 years. Dan is an expert in all aspects of single-family and multifamily design and has received several awards for his successful projects. He is also a popular speaker at various industry events, including the International Builder’s Show, Midwest Builder’s Show, and Multi-Housing World.

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