Why make an accent wall?
Have a room that feels a little…lifeless? An accent wall is one of the fastest ways to quickly change the feel of a room, or create a focal point. Search for “accent wall before and after” on Google, and you’ll find thousands of room transformations — wood accent walls, painted accent walls, and so many more — and the results are dramatic.
Accent walls are also one of the few options for renters to personalize their place, too, thanks to removable peel and stick options, which also make for weekend-friendly DIY projects.
Which wall should be an accent wall?
Consider where your eye is naturally drawn toward in the room. The fireplace? The wall behind your bed? Chances are you’re instinctively pulled to the best choice. Similarly, is there an area of the room you want to draw the eye to?
Another factor to consider is what kind of accent wall you want to create, and your existing furniture and architectural features. You might love the idea of installing a wood accent wall, but if your chosen wall has multiple electrical outlets and lightswitch boxes you’ll have to build around, your fun weekend project could become a headache-inducing, multi-day nightmare.
Also, don’t make the mistake of choosing a wall that has several large pieces of furniture against it, or artwork that could be competing for attention. An accent wall is a statement, and if it’s hidden by too many pieces in front of it, it can lose its impact.
Accent Wall Ideas
We’ve divided our accent wall ideas into three of the most-popular categories: Wood accent walls, peel and stick accent walls, and painted accent walls.
Of the three, wood accent walls can be the most time-consuming and costly (depending on the project), but the effects can be jaw-dropping. Removable peel and stick options are a great choice for renters, and painted accent walls are a quick and budget-friendly option.
Wood Accent Wall Ideas
A painted shiplap wall is a gorgeous way to make an otherwise unremarkable nook in your room a feature. Find the instructions here.
Primer editor and founder Andrew Snavely created a white wood accent wall in his home office using tongue and groove fencing bought at Home Depot. Fastening three vertical boards to wall studs, and then attaching the fencing to those boards, allowed him to minimize the number of holes he put into his wall.
Like that industrial light? Read Primer's super easy DIY project!
Some more shiplap inspiration for you (see the previous accent wall for instructions on how to DIY a shiplap wall), but painted in a bold black color.
Tip: Notice that the black paint color is more of a soft black, like charcoal, and how the black is contrasted by white accents, light-colored wood and rug, lively plants, and a small, bright copper piece. This keeps the wall from looking like a black hole in the room.
This designer’s clients had a huge, blank wall in their living room, making the space feel cavernous and cold, but rustic boards lined up and nailed to the wall created a warm focal point for the room.
This designer created this incredible wall using moulding — specifically, Empire Moulding & Millwork’s 238 SQUARE pine moulding (see page 52) — and a deep, rich shade of olive green.
Create a modern-looking accent wall with this board and batten DIY. This project is a little more planning-intensive, but the results are worth it. Click here for the instructions.
Wood slat walls are similar in appearance to shiplap, but can be cheaper to install. You can find the DIY instructions at this link.
This dramatic DIY is potentially one of the easier projects on the list, if you’re careful to measure correctly (remember the old adage: Measure twice, cut once!). Read the instructions here.
The plans for this accent wall aren’t available, unfortunately, but this modern accent wall concept uses geometric blocks upholstered in crushed black velvet and outlined in gold.
Peel and Stick Accent Wall Ideas
This easy, peel and stick mural perfectly complements the colors in the rug, couch and pillows. You can find this mural, and many more, at this link.
Tempaper has aesthetic, modern removable wallpaper print choices for renters, and should not be missed if you’re searching for a removable peel and stick option!
For more amazing removable wallpaper options, check out:
Love the look of rustic wood, but don’t have the time or budget to install a wood accent wall, plank by plank? Stikwood offers an easy, peel and stick method of installation, using real, reclaimed or sustainably-sourced wood. (The room pictured above used Sandstone.)
This white, weathered board is another option from Stikwood, perfect for a rustic, modern farmhouse look.
Want a brick wall for that enviable “industrial look,” but don’t live in a repurposed warehouse with original, exposed brick walls? Fake it with brick panels. These ones from Lowe’s can be easily attached to walls using a nail gun, or these brick wall panels from Wayfair can be attached using adhesive. For either option, see this link for how to accomplish the whitewashed look above.
Painted Accent Wall Ideas
The corner: Instead of painting a full, flat wall, draw the eye to a corner by painting it a solid color. Jewel tones, like deep emerald green, contrast beautifully against metal, leather, and wood decor.
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Transform your room with simple 2x4s, some paint, and a nail gun. You can find the instructions here.
Mimic the look of honeycomb tiles with this stencil from Royal Design Studio Stencil.
This chevron pattern has a hand painted, natural look, and is an easy stencil project. Find the stencil print here.
Another great example of a half-and-half painted accent wall, we love the brass handles on the closet door, which adds a pop of brightness to the darker paint color.
This Redditor drew these designs onto her fireplace using this multi-surface pen from Michaels. If you’re also artistically-inclined, this could be the perfect DIY for you! (Not artistically-inclined but still love this look? It’s knockoff cousin can be found at Tempaper.)
Ready to turn one of your walls into an accent wall? Read Primer's How to Paint a Bedroom Accent Wall and Completely Change Your Room.