Adding an accent wall, also known as a feature wall, is one of the easiest ways to update your bedroom. Accent walls allow you to introduce bold colors, trendy patterns, and eye-catching textures to your space, with the ability to make a small room look bigger.
But which wall should be the accent wall in a bedroom? It may seem tricky since it'll likely become the room's focal point, but it doesn't have to be.
This guide explores how to decide which wall should be the accent wall in a bedroom, plus tips on picking the best color for your home design. Keep reading to get inspired for your bedroom makeover.
How to choose an accent wall in a bedroom
Choosing the accent wall in your bedroom can lead to decision paralysis — after all, it'll impact the rest of the room! Most designs place the bedroom accent wall on the wall behind the bed and headboard. But there are other ways to choose an accent wall if you want something different.
"I believe there are very few wrong choices when it comes to placing an accent wall."
"What is your intention?" asks Matt Ross, Interior Designer at Schross Haus. "I believe there are very few wrong choices when it comes to placing an accent wall. Instead, I consider the intention at hand and how to best achieve aesthetic goals."
Here are some different accent wall ideas.
Find a wall that stands out
A wall that naturally stands out and catches your attention is a great candidate for an accent wall. It might be the wall you see when you first walk into the room or the wall that grabs your eye when you wake up in the morning.
This might not be the wall behind your headboard — look at the bedroom to see if one catches your eye. If so, it's likely an excellent spot for a different wall color, texture, or pattern.
A wall that creates balance
It doesn't matter how good the home decor idea is, a balanced design is essential if you want it to work. For example, you'll want to pick a wall that won't be too busy once you add a different color, pattern, or texture.
To decide if it's balanced, consider how it'll look if you place something in front of it — like a small piece of furniture, a plant, or wall decor. If you think it'll appear too busy or cluttered, you might want to pick a different wall.
An unobstructed wall
An accent wall should typically be unobstructed by any large pieces of furniture (like a tall wardrobe). However, a wall that holds your bed, a smaller piece of furniture, plant stands, and other accents are fine — just make sure the accent wall will be visible and stand out.
This guideline is especially important in a small bedroom. An obstructed accent wall can create visual clutter and make the room feel smaller or less inviting.
A wall that's already a focal point
Placing an accent wall behind an existing focal point creates a backdrop that can enhance any bedroom design. A focal point is a place in any room that your eyes are naturally drawn to. This could be something like:
Wall art or decor
"I love accent walls because they can serve as an impactful backdrop to a special focal point, or they can be the actual focal point," said Leigh Spicher, National Director of Design Studios at Ashton Woods Homes. "Focal points are both objective in design principle (creating visual organization) but also personal and subjective because you can create an accent wall from any style. In short, accent walls provide people with the opportunity to personalize a space and apply a fundamental design principle."
Leigh provided this room and crib wall as an example — the crib (and, of course, the baby) is the focal point in the room. The backdrop to the focal point is the wood accent wall — the wood paneling adds texture, color, and pattern, but the crib remains the focus of the room.
Tips for choosing a color for an accent wall
"A striking accent color can break up the monotony of a space — it tells everyone who visits your boudoir: 'I have an opinion,'" said Matt Ross.
After you find the perfect wall, you'll need to find the right color. Your color choice will impact how the room looks and feels as much (if not more) than your wall choice. Color can give your bedroom idea anything from a sense of spontaneity and joy to a calm, grounding atmosphere.
Finally, according to Karen Rohr, a small room will benefit from a simple, understated accent wall, while a larger room can handle a bolder design.
Examples: Orange, yellow, red, earth tones — anything with a red undertone
"Warm, bright accent walls can enliven your bedroom and make it a space that celebrates the delight of a new day," Matt Ross told Interior Insider.
Warm colors are often viewed as stimulating, but you can choose subtle tones (like a light tan) to counter this effect. However, note that warm tones can make a space feel smaller.
Examples: Green, blue, purple — anything with a blue undertone
"Cooler, darker tones can bring a sense of refinement, dignity, and rest. But, most of all, cool-toned accent wall colors help add a sense of dynamism and a spark of freshness, accentuating the room's inherent beauty," Matt Ross explained.
Cool colors are often viewed as calming and relaxing and are more commonly used in bedroom color schemes. In addition, a cool-toned color palette can make a room feel bigger.
Grayscale vs. bright
Accent walls don't have to use vivid colors — you might opt for a neutral color like matte grey or a dark color like deep brown to bring drama to the space. These colors contrast nicely against light-toned and white walls, instantly capturing the attention.
I see a new trend emerging, and I love it! More and more homeowners are embracing their inner boldness and choosing deeper, darker colors for the whole bedroom.
"I see a new trend emerging, and I love it! More and more homeowners are embracing their inner boldness and choosing deeper, darker colors for the whole bedroom. Every wall becomes a statement making the whole room feel more like a destination, where the four walls create a kind of a cozy den environment," Leigh Spicher commented.
Wallpaper vs. paint
You don't have to choose a paint color for your accent wall — wallpaper and even wall decals are also viable options! Decals can be an excellent DIY option for renters whose landlords may not allow interior painting.
Many wallpapers feature patterns, but busy patterns could make your bedroom room appear overwhelming and chaotic, especially in smaller spaces. So instead, a subtly-patterned wallpaper with light colors, or textured wallpaper with a solid color, might be more suitable.
Whether you use wallpaper or paint, a striped pattern is a good option to make your bedroom look bigger. Vertical stripes will help make the room appear taller, while horizontal stripes can help it look wider.
Does the accent wall in a bedroom have to be behind the bed?
"If you're seeking to ground the space, placing an accent wall directly behind your headboard can create a firmly-settled, restful space," explains Matt Ross.
While most accent walls in the bedroom will go behind the bed, it's not a must. You can also place the accent wall in a spot you see when you wake up in the morning or a wall you can see from the door.
Can you have two accent walls in a bedroom?
While many rooms work well with a single accent wall, adding a second (or third) accent wall can sometimes improve the design. Matt Ross recommends thinking in terms of designated spaces instead of arbitrary numbers.
Here are a few cases in which two or more accent walls might be ideal.
Accent walls to define a zone or space
Adding an accent wall is one of the easiest ways to define a space in a room, making it stand out and giving it its own atmosphere.
"When deciding how many walls to paint, it's crucial to consider: where does this 'region' or 'zone' of the room begin, and where does it end?" explained Matt. "You can use the backdrop of an accent color behind a specific zone to clarify its boundaries. Sometimes, an accent color can occupy three out of four walls, as long as it intentionally delineates space and adds coherence to the room."
Accent walls in a large bedroom
"If you have a big bedroom, mixing and adding character throughout with more than one accent wall is okay," Karen Rohr told Interior Insider. "For example, you could paint one accent wall a bold color and the other a more subdued shade. Or, you could use two different patterns or textures on the accent walls. The important thing is to make sure that your accent walls work cohesively together in the large space."
Accent walls to enlarge the space
A small bedroom with four walls usually works best with one main accent wall; otherwise, the look could become cluttered and heavy. There are exceptions to this rule, though — for example, if you paint the fifth wall (the ceiling) the same color as your accent wall, it can help lengthen the room.
Another example of using multiple accent walls to enlarge your bedroom is if you paint half of the wall. This approach can be used on two or three walls to widen the room while making them appear shorter.
Are accent walls good for bedrooms?
Accent walls are great for any space — living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms can all benefit from an accent wall. They can personalize your bedroom, giving it more style and charm. And if you have one or more guest rooms, they're an excellent way to make each bedroom stand out.
Accent walls provide visual interest. I liken them to statement jewelry or an accessory to a simple outfit.
"Accent walls provide visual interest. I liken them to statement jewelry or an accessory to a simple outfit. When you create an accent wall or a meaningful focal point, that's when you start turning a space into a home. Go bold with a favorite color or shape, or simply add a neutral texture to highlight a special focal point. Sconce lights or ambient lights are another beautiful way to create an accent wall," explained Leigh Spicher.
Where should a feature wall be placed in a bedroom?
The feature wall can work almost anywhere in the bedroom if it meets one or more of the criteria we outlined above. It can be any combination of the following:
A wall that stands out
A wall that creates balance
A wall that's already a focal point
An unobstructed wall
Accent walls are often used to draw attention to a particular feature in a room — a fireplace or piece of art, for example — but they can also help create a sense of depth or add a pop of color. Think about how you use your bedroom, what you love about it, and how you want it to feel.
"If you're a 'work-from-my-bed' type of person, an accent wall directly opposite your bed can provide a gorgeous view while you're getting things done or snuggled up with your pet," Matt Ross said. "Or, if you have a particularly impactful work of art in your space or wish to craft a gallery wall of curated pieces, painting an accent wall behind these works of art can put them into stark relief and draw in the eye."
The key to accent walls and most interior design is to give yourself the freedom to explore, have fun, and take risks. After all, if you don't love the result, you can always repaint!
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