Accent Walls In Today’s Interior Design – The Debate Rages

Back in the day, accent walls in interior design were unheard of. All four walls were the same colour and, generally, it was a subdued, conservative shade only. Accent colour was only seen in decorative accessories. Nowadays, there is some debate as to whether accent walls are a thing of the past or whether they still are an acceptable design feature at least some of the time.

 funky and eclectic wall graphic in light and dark greys

 In the past it was the daring homeowner who had a red or purple sofa, but was very unlikely to have a wall in a hot colour or a daring geometric. We now live in a Golden Age of choice and clients are much more courageous than in the past, as a result of watching decorating shows on television. Our televisions are much larger and the images are in high definition, so we get a huge impact when these décor ideas are shown.

upscale dramatic living room with sleek console table and graphic turquoise and gold classic wallpaper

Wallpaper is a classic element that can work just as well on one wall as on all four walls, depending on the client’s preference for pattern and colour. Many clients are very happy to have one wall of a gorgeous wallpaper but would be overwhelmed by the same paper on all four walls of that room. Wallpaper has such design impact that often we do not tire of it as we do a simple paint colour. Wallpaper murals are usually only used on one wall, but even this rule can be broken.

contemporary bedroom with clean lines and wallpaper mural   romantic bathroom with copper tub and wall mural

We are able to see with our own eyes that these ideas really do often look fantastic, and the home owners shown are often people who are similar in lifestyle to ourselves. Therefore, we are able to visualize these dramatic new ideas in our own living spaces. A great way to add colour to a space and experiment with smaller doses of brighter, bolder hues is to add an accent or feature wall. Perhaps just a tile backsplash in a kitchen or  a vibrant or interesting bit of tile flooring inside a shower or up the back wall of the shower. We can also make use of the feature wall to spotlight a particular decorative accessory, a special piece of artwork, or to make an object appear more luxurious than it actually is.

bright and cheerful Moroccan inspired tile kitchen backsplash in blue, orange and white

We are also able to delineate an area of our living space with a feature wallFeature walls in dark colours can create the effect of depth in a room design. This is especially useful when the space is small. Some photos courtesy of Better Homes. Feature walls just add so much impact that they really are a very useful technique in many interior design projects these days. They are a striking, unique design element in many homes.

dramatic foyer with shaped console table, natural history accessories, and black and white wallpaper

Especially in the case of exposed brick, textural stone, or wood paneling one wall is often enough. Too much exposed brick tends to be too much of a good thing. Less is often more.

small living room with stone feature wall, Hunter Douglas window blinds, custom draeries, and sectional sofa

There is no need to overwhelm the space with colour. Generally, the colour chosen to act as a feature wall is bold and colourful, but one solid colour most often. More colour can be added to the room design in the form of an eclectic area rug with great success.

Another aspect and advantage of feature walls is in helping the colour story flow through the home from room to room. We are able to seamlessly transition colour from room to room by way of furnishings, fabrics, area rugs, artwork and accessories. Bold, colourful shades are good accent wall paint colours because they accentuate a space without overpowering it.

contemporary condo with feature wall with metal rings wall mural

In an adult space a large, low contrast graphic design on one wall can lend impact and drama while remaining elegant. In many cases the graphic would overpower the room design if it were on all four walls. Without the striking wallpaper, the overall room design may have been bland and uninteresting, rather than spectacular.

large graphic feature wal

When doing paint colour consultations that involve children’s rooms, the child often chooses a colour that the parents might find unliveable. Kids love vibrant and dramatic colours. A good solution is to do one wall that the child can see often, such as at the foot of the bed, on the ceiling,  or along a play area for the accent colour. This adds a lively splash of vibrancy to the room and, often, the parents loves it also. Many childrens’ toys are vibrantly coloured so they back up the colour chosen for the feature wall. The bedding also adds a layer of lively colour and  looks great in children’s rooms.

childrens bedroom with bunkbeds in fresh white and turquoise with gingham ceiling

Simply using a deeper version of your existing wall colour as the feature wall colour is an interesting option also if a strong effect is not wanted. A high intensity colour used in one area of the room can be wonderful as a foil to artwork and other design elements in the room design. Monotony is defeated and our interior design plan carries through the home. The inspiration for the colour used on the feature wall may come from something as small as a dot of bright colour in a painting. It is surprising how effective this can be.

relaxed and symmetrical living room with paired etageres, paired armchairs, and large abstract artwork    living room vignette with bench and large abstract artwork with navy blue wall colour

Simply using artwork or some other decorative element as an accent, rather than an entire wall is just as effective and perhaps more pleasing to some clients. There is a strong trend toward using very large artwork pieces even in smaller rooms. It looks terrific. This option speaks to those who feel that feature walls have become passé.

contemporary large bathroom with free-standing bathtub and onyx panel stone accent wall section  upscale living room with light sofa, ottoman, and large blue abstract artwork

Delineation of interior space can be achieved with colour or pattern. In for instance, an adjoining living room or family room and dining room, it is pleasant to distinguish the room functions clearly. Dining rooms tend to be a somewhat more formal space than a family room, although this is not necessary.

black and white dining room with black draperies and marble accent wall

A confident design plan allows the client to live on the edge a little without fear of having gone too far. Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home.

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