WRITER | JEANINE MATLOW
PHOTO| KATE BENJAMIN PHOTOGRAPHY
One Singular Sensation
Though there are endless ways to enhance your home with distinctive details, accent walls add an instant wow factor wherever they land. This artistic approach can be achieved with a variety of materials, from wallpaper and paint to tile and wood. Whatever you select to make a statement, your efforts will result in a fabulous focal point.
If you need a little guidance to get started, Terry Ellis, owner of Room Service Interior Design in Troy, says this strategy works well in an area you want to draw attention to, like a headboard wall in a bedroom. In other parts of the home, the emphasis can be placed on another feature you’d like to highlight, such as a fireplace.
An accent wall can also be a clever design tool for other scenarios, like one of Ellis’ projects that had asymmetrical windows on the headboard wall in the master bedroom. In addition to draping the windows, she also had wallpaper installed on a side wall to direct the eye away from the windows. “It worked out really well for practicality,” she says.
Another candidate for an accent wall might be a monotone room or a white apartment, where you don’t want to repaint too many walls, says Ellis. A mural that can easily be removed can also be a good fit for those with a fear of commitment.
Texture can be added to the equation with dimensional wall tile or wood planks that convey that rustic feeling. Upholstered walls work especially well on a headboard wall in a bedroom, while draping a sheer fabric along an entire wall painted in a dark shade adds drama. “You get this double layer of intrigue,” Ellis says.
For a foyer, she has used graphic wallpaper with colorful stripes that makes a great first impression. “When applied sideways, it elongates the space,” she says. In a powder room, a tile accent wall behind a pedestal sink can be installed from floor to ceiling. “They’re so practical in a bathroom in lieu of wallpaper,” she adds.
Painting an accent wall with a color pulled from an oversized piece of art also creates visual interest, while lighting adds another dimension. For a teen’s room, Ellis chose a black accent wall to enhance the art. “I wanted it to have a great setting,” she says.
In general, Ellis suggests avoiding window walls as an accent, but putting the focus on the far wall in a long and narrow room can make the space feel like it has more proportion. The landing wall for a stairway can be another great spot to accentuate with paint or wallpaper. A collage of frames – even empty ones – takes the look to another level.
As Ellis explains, your ceiling can also serve as the perfect accent wall, like the deep teal in a girl’s room she designed that pops against three white walls and one finished in wallpaper. Lastly, she says installing wallpaper on the ceiling offers another option for an unexpected touch above.