I’ve never been a big fan of the painted accent wall and oddly enough, that’s usually the number one question that I get asked at an initial consultation…”What are your thoughts on doing an accent wall in here”?

In most instances, I choose to stay away from the painted accent wall.  It reminds me of a bad home decorating show where they paint a random wall a god-awful color, just so they can say they did something “creative”.  Another reason I have nightmares about accent walls is that I myself painted an accent wall in every apartment I lived in, in college- yikes!

In my personal opinion, I would ONLY recommend doing a painted accent wall if it makes sense in your room and if you have a focal point that is screaming to be highlighted (like a fireplace wall, the backs of bookcases, a ceiling, wall nook, etc).  Make sure you stay far far away from doing an accent wall on a random side wall!  There is nothing worse than an accent wall that makes absolutely no sense!

However, painted walls aren’t the only accent walls out there.  I actually LOVE a fabulous wallpapered accent wall.  The key to one of these is to have the side walls’ paint color relate in some way to the wallpaper and always choose the wall that is more of a focal point in the room.

{Elle Decor}

Not to mention, you can use that more expensive wallpaper that you’ve always coveted since you only need one wall’s worth of paper!

{Nicky Hilton’s LA home- via Alkemie}

{via Little Green Notebook}

{via Design Strategies}

{Domino Mag}

{Megan’s dining room of Beach Bungalow 8}

{via Apartment Therapy}



We did a wallpaper accent wall in the guest room of one of my client’s houses and it did wonders for that small, bland room!

Also, keep in mind that when using a wallpaper with a metallic color in it (like the one below), it’s a bit more difficult to select paint (for the corresponding side walls) for it than it would be off a normal matte wallpaper (since metallics have a sheen and are always changing on us!).  Patience is key here with these glam papers!

{EJ Interiors}

I’m getting ready to do another single wallpapered wall for a client’s dining room and I can’t wait to see the impact the pattern has on the space!

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11 Comments to 'The Accent Wall Debate: Painted Vs. Wallpapered'

Kim@Chattafabulous 01 Sep 10 at 9:43 pm

I would love to do this on the “bed wall” of my master bedroom!

Nikita 01 Sep 10 at 9:50 pm

ur work is awsme.. i loved tht design strategy one..

details and design 01 Sep 10 at 11:07 pm

Excellent post! And timely…am doing an accent wall of wallpaper in my own guest bath and also agree with you that wp can be so dramatic as accent or behind shelves etc ..rather than just paint. I have never fallen out of love with it! Esp really cool ones like Graham and Brown and Clarke and Clarke..great stuff! And really like your blog!! ~~Cheryl

Decor Arts Now 02 Sep 10 at 9:03 am

I am so with you on the painted accent wall! It usually doesn’t work for me. If you search accent walls in my search box on my blog, a post will come up showing good and bad examples.

And I LOVE a wallpapered accent wall. You have collected great photos here!!

Best, Lynn

Brittany 02 Sep 10 at 10:37 am

totally agree with you on the painted accent wall!!! Wallpaper on the other hand can be the perfect touch!

Ann Shumbo 02 Sep 10 at 11:14 am

I am so with you on the painted accent wall. I know many people will disagree. I just had this debate with one of my good friends I went to design school with because she is renting a loft downtown LA and wants to do an accent wall – we were going through potential paint colors and the minute I heard accent wall – my face said it all and we had a good chuckle. I do however LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of wall paper because sometimes four walls is overkill and the examples you posted are beautiful. I love that blue / green one. I have seen Megan’s and it looks awesome.

Colleen 02 Sep 10 at 12:16 pm

I love the walls! They are beautiful and so complimentary to the decor! I love that it is NOT wallpaper!

Down comforter 03 Sep 10 at 8:49 am

Love the domino mag one, the whole room looks very hamonious

designstiles 03 Sep 10 at 7:40 pm

Ha. I ended up having a red accent wall in my old apt kitchen, but only because I didn’t realize what a hassle it was to use oil base paint. Too much trouble to paint all of it. But at least the massive window in the kitchen was the highlighted.

Mercedes Fuchs 04 Sep 10 at 8:42 pm

I love it! I can’t decide what’s my fav!!!? 1st. Elle Decor 2nd. Design Strategies 3rd. Megan

Andrea 12 Sep 10 at 4:11 pm

Can someone tell me what the green vine wallpaper is in the nursery pic???

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