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9 Accent Paint Ideas To Try In 2022

You don’t have to paint all four walls to give your room a new look. And you don’t have to limit yourself to just one color. An accent wall can refresh a room without a major commitment or even very much effort—and the options are as plentiful as there are colors and shapes.

For making a space feel more like you and your personal style, it’s hard to beat an accent wall. It’s no wonder that designers and dedicated do-it-yourselfers alike swear by them. And though they never really went away, accent walls are really having a moment right now. Want to join the club? Here are some ideas for using paint strategically with great results, shared by Backdrop customers.

1. Embrace Architectural Elements

MOJAVE GATHERING creates architectural elements. Photo: @workingholidaystudio

Above, the far wall in a large, open space painted in MOJAVE GATHERING draws the eye deeper, highlights the asymmetrical shape of the wall and creates a backdrop for the light fixture and the room’s architectural elements. 

Incorporate ductwork into the space. Photo: @cinquiemegaucheinteriors

Got exposed ductwork, a soffit or pipes in your living space? Sure, you can paint them to match your walls or ceiling, or you can play them up with a contrasting color. In this bedroom, Designer cinquieme gauche interiors, played up the shapes and lines they bring to a room. Here, DARK ARTS (pure black) adds interest. It also appears on the inside of the mirror’s frame, a nice touch. 

2. Color Block

Create shapes and a sense of play with color. Photo: @chloefleury

Play up what’s already there with accent walls. The railing and panel that runs diagonally below it are painted in bright, saturated BLUE IS THE COOLEST COLOR, complementing the cornflower blue wall below it. Electric, bright pink BARRAGÁN-CITO brings contrast and interest, too.

3. Add An Arch

Designer Brittany Elise creates a geometric headboard in SAGED. Photo: @brittanyeyelise

Shades of white and ecru make for a calming space but the addition of an oversized geometric arc in SAGED by designer Brittany Elise makes the room feel more personal, highlights the shape of the headboard and draws the eye to the room’s many textures. You can sketch your shape with a pencil or go old-school with a projector that you can use to cast the shape you cut on a plain old piece of paper. Check that the shape is exactly how you want it before starting to paint.

4. Get Creative With A Wave

Photo: @jessalyn

Another great approach is to embrace fun. NOVELTY WAVE (warm blue) flows like a wave on the adjoining white wall. This can be sketched freehand with your pencil.

5. Paint Half The Wall

Create a horizon line with continuous color. Photo: @jaysolomon

Go half-and-half with a horizontal line that stretches around the room as you see here in KISMET (dark dutch green). How to get it? Use painter’s tape to create your line. Check that it’s level by ensuring the line is the same distance to the floor at varying points along the wall with a yardstick, measuring tape, or go digital with a level app on your phone. Press the tape firmly to the wall.

Pro tip: remove the tape before the paint is totally dry for a sharper line.

JAWBREAKER adds a touch of play to an otherwise minimal space. Photo: @bbrill

Here is the horizontal color block again, this time at a height that puts a playful pop of color JAWBREAKER (rosy mauve) lower on the wall, recalling old-time chair rail and creating a harmonious line with the vanity that’s in the bathroom beyond. We also love the bedside table painted in the same color as the wall behind it. We love when walls  seem to become three-dimensional when the same paint shows up on a piece of furniture.

6. Find Inspiration In A Colorful Object

Highlight your favorite things. Photo: @chloefleury

Looking for a color scheme? You might just find it in an object you love. For example, the retro lounge chair here makes a great case for a whimsical beachy palette: APERITIVO HOUR (deep, dark peach) paired with corals, lavenders, pinks and blues that have about the same saturation.

Here is another view of the same room: 

Incorporate the ceiling into the space. Photo: @chloefleury

The key is balance. BARRAGÁN-CITO is the electric, bright pink used here and the ceiling is PABLO HONEY, a warm, bright yellow. (Ceilings present a great opportunity for color-blocking, after all.) The white wall serves as a “breather” amid all the color in the room, letting the secondary shades found on light fixtures, frames and bedding hold their own against the vibrant paint colors. 


7. Use What's Already There

Wood floors and warm walls. Photo: @mayalikes

Got wood floors? GHOST RANCH (warm terracotta) harmonizes with the grain in both the flooring and the bed frame here. It’s a shade that grounds the space, drawing the eye downward to the patterns in the wood.

8. Pick A Deeper Shade

Take a color that’s already in the room and go a few shades deeper for accent walls. Here, SENTIMENTAL REASONS (warm, taupe-gray) picks up the shadows in the sofa, giving the eye a place to rest after taking in the distinctive shapes found in the room.

9. Choose More Than One Color

Embrace a signature shade, in moderation. Photo: @dylanasuarez
Embrace a signature shade, in moderation. Photo: @dylanasuarez

There’s a color out there that’s your favorite, your signature. But maybe it’s too bold for whole-room paint or you live with someone who doesn’t quite share your passion for it. Favorite colors can be your best source for inspiration. Here, electric, bright pink BARRAGÁN-CITO brings an unexpected kick to an otherwise neutral kitchen, brightening up the space without making pink the main idea. 


Still stuck for ideas? Take a look at The Gallery for more inspiration.

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