It's amazing how a pop of color transforms a space, and a fresh coat of paint can totally change the vibe of a room. However, choosing a non-neutral accent hue can seem daunting. It's difficult to visualize the final result, much less predict whether you'll enjoy living with your design choice for the foreseeable future.
When it comes to your living room, the place where you hang, entertain, and spend a lot of time — you know, live — try adding a splash of color that lights up the space but doesn't come on too strong. An accent wall, when bordered by walls painted in a more subtle shade, is the perfect way to set the mood without being overpowering. Plus, it's easier to integrate into your existing decor. The beauty of this approach is that you can go as bold as you want — fuchsia, emerald, cerulean — or try a more subdued shade —lavender, baby blue, mint. Either way, it makes a statement.
Thinking of adding an accent wall but not sure where to start? Before you dash to the paint store, do your due diligence. Read on for expert advice from interior designers who've seen (and decorated) it all.
"If you’re looking to try a totally new color scheme and go more out of the box with your color choice, I’d suggest going bold," says Nicole Gibbons, founder of Clare. She points out that shades like Clare's Current Mood (a "mysterious, moody green"), Goodnight Moon (midnight blue), and Deep Dive (dark teal) are gorgeous options for making a statement.
Shelby Girard, head of design at Havenly, agrees that rich hues are a great way to refresh a room. "To me, accent walls are all about introducing some contrast in a room, so I'm currently loving dark shades and muted hues, like deep green, muted pink, and black," she says. "These tones draw your eye in and are a great backdrop for artwork, a light sofa, sconces, or mirrors. They can also stand alone, less adorned, as a form of art in your room."
Pick The Subtle Color First
If you're still indecisive about choosing an accent hue, deciding which shade you'd like on the other three walls may be an easier place to start. Perhaps you prefer warmer creams or cooler grays with blue or green undertones.
You can then choose your accent color according to the softer shade or neutral you like best. Gibbons says going the monochrome route can lend a more sophisticated look and feel to your space. "I love working with contrasting shades of the same hue," she adds, suggesting, for example, pairing a color like Deep Dive, a dark teal, with Headspace, a pale, airy blue (pictured above).
Make Things Interesting
If you really want to push the envelope — or you're looking to add depth to a small space — Girard says there are other techniques you should consider. "When deciding to do an accent wall, think outside of the box and consider a two-toned wall (for example doing black paint 2/3 of the way up the wall, leaving the top section white, as seen above) or painting over a wall with moulding in one uniform color," she says.
However, she adds that drama in your decor is best done in moderation. "Also keep in mind that it's best to choose only one wall to accent per room," she says.
Need even more inspo? Girard gives her personal color recommendations for giving your living room a pop of personality:
Bold or Muted Navy: "Navy is great for a statement wall. You can go with a deeper navy or try a more muted version that acts as a neutral. Indoor plants pop against this tone and it works well in a living room, dining room, office, or kid's room."
Black: "People tend to shy away from black paint, but it's my favorite choice for an accent wall. The stark contrast between a black accent wall and adjacent white walls can make a real statement and makes artwork pop."
Try: Clare Paint Blackest
Deep Green: "This shade can read as a serious, old-world look or a trendy fashionable one. It'd also be beautiful in a smaller powder room with brass accents or in a study, on a wall of built-ins holding books. Jewel tones and luxe fabrics like a navy velvet sofa would complement it well."
Pale Pink: "If you're not into dark walls, Calamine is another color that can act as a neutral to keep your space light and cheerful. I envision it working best in a classic space with lots of light, neutral furniture and decor or in a more bohemian home with a lot of bright colors and patterns."
Try: Farrow & Ball Calamine
Dusty Purple: "This tone isn't for everyone, but it's a really unique color to introduce into a space with neutrals or a more muted color palette. I see it working well in a living room or nursery if you're looking for an unexpected color that's tranquil and cozy."
Remember: Be True To Yourself
Whatever you do and wherever you land on the color spectrum, make sure your home is a reflection of you at the end of the day. "Most people, when painting their homes, already have existing furnishings that they’re working with," explains Gibbons. "So rather than following trends, I recommend focusing on colors that complement your existing decor." There you have it.