9 DIY Accent Wall Updates

Back in that misty time between the era of avocado refrigerators and Corian countertops, the accent wall was born. When showing up at work wearing mismatched earrings was trendy rather than a sign that you’d overslept and gotten dressed in a tearing hurry, it was considered the height of style to paint one wall of a room an intense, dramatic color like rust or deepest mauve. In fact many of those who did it may have been motivated more by fear than fashion – fear of painting the whole room or, in the case of renters, fear of what their landlord would say to a total immersion hunter green paint job.

Well, what goes around comes around ... and in the second decade of the 21st century, accent walls are back. But they have a modern twist to them. No longer monolithic slabs/blocks of color, today’s “focal walls” are lighter, sometimes textured, and frankly more interesting than their precursors. Here are 9 dazzling DIY examples of the accent wall updated.

1. Bold Blue

The Shabby Nest/HometalkThe Shabby Nest added character and energy to her boys’ bedroom by painting an accent wall. The bold blue color is tempered by the white stripes. A great young look for a kids’ room, this avoids falling into the cutesiness rut and so will serve her sons well as they grow up.

2. Color Blocks

Sarah Desjardins/HometalkA very different accent wall was painted by Sarah Desjardins for her children. She brightened up a basement playroom with fun blocks of contrasting paint. The finishing touch was cutting happy, hopeful words out of vinyl and sticking them onto random corners of the color blocks. One tip Sarah suggests to anyone inspired by her wall art: “If you aren’t too cheap to dedicate a paint tray and roller to each color, it will be really fast.”

3. Ombre Effect

Lolly Jane B/HometalkA pair of twin sisters who share a blog and a love of DIY home improvement, Lolly Jane B, painted a cheerful ombre accent wall at one end of a boring hallway. The gorgeously gradated shades of aqua make this small space pack a punch. And since it was done with leftover odds and ends of paint, the project cost next to nothing.  

4. Chevron Stripes

Two Zero One/HometalkTwo Zero One gave impact to an even smaller space – her powder room – with a focal wall of black and white chevron stripes. This was part of a succesful effort to jazz up her home’s boring builder grade bathroom using inexpensive fixes, like the pop of red an attractively framed mirror provides.

5. Stenciled Chic

Seaside Shelter/HometalkOriginally looking for a wall covering to accent one of her walls, Seaside Shelter was unable to find what she wanted. So she got creative with a stencil and some snazzy gold paint to realize her dream. Easy to use and much more cost-effective than applying wallpaper, stencils are an excellent DIY alternative to wallpaper.

6. Glass Tiles

Paint Speckled Pawprints/HometalkWho says an accent wall needs to be painted? Despite her blog name, Paint Speckled Pawprints used glam glass tile for an impact wall that made her already good-looking bathroom truly special. The tiles, which came in sheet form for easier application, were sealed with grout where they met the tub edging and combined with pallet wood shelves to inject an interesting texture.

7. Board and Batten

Keep Calm and Decorate/HometalkAfter a six-year experiment with a dark wine-painted accent wall, Keep Calm and Decorate decided to go a lot more subtle. She repainted in soft gray, then installed white board and batten for a wall that makes a statement without shouting.

8. Reclaimed Wood

Pretty Handy Girl/HometalkPretty Handy Girl set the perfect mood for a craft room to share with her children by building an accent wall from pallets plus bits of scrap wood. The warm and cozily casual wall is the perfect backdrop for artistic expression and family fun.

9. Tin

Crafty Texas Girls/Hometalk Crafty Texas Girls took the accent wall idea to the great outdoors. A sheet of tin imparted visual interest to her suburban Dallas fence, while fitting in with the very cool overall theme of industrial chic.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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