Published on April 25, 2020

There are statement ceilings and painted floors, but when it comes to bold ways to add interest to a room, sometimes it’s best to fall back on the classics. Accent walls may be expected—but their popularity exists for a reason. Working on a budget? Looking to test out a daring print? Trying your hand at color-blocking? They cover all the bases.

That said, not all accent walls are created equal. It takes a masterful eye to pick complementary hues and create a setup that’s equal parts cohesive and striking. Or at the very least, it takes some strong inspiration, and that’s where we come in. These eight spaces have the art of the accent wall down.

The Pattern Play 

desk in front of pink wallpaperPin It
Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

The key to mixing two equally distinct motifs is keeping them within the same color wheelhouse; here, the common denominator is the rosy pink shade. 

The Palette Rule Breaker

bedroom with black and white wallpaper and blue upholstered bed framePin It
Photography by Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson Design

Black and blue may be a traditionally taboo combo—but as this bedroom proves, there is a way to do it right. It’s about balance: Keep one piece simple and splash out on the second. We love the bolder wallpaper, which set against an otherwise pared-back space doesn’t overpower the sunny room.  

The Dining Nook

black and white wallpaper dining nookPin It
Photography by Cody Guilfoyle and Aaron Bengochea

In an open layout, the easiest way to delineate “rooms” is to break up the area with color; or in this case, a monochromatic garden mural. Paired with similarly grayscale furniture and decor, it gives the little corner its own identity. 

The Art Gallery

green art triptych behind bed in bedroomPin It
Photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp for Emily Henderson Design

Who said an accent wall has to be defined by wallpaper or paint? In this bedroom, a triptych hanging makes the already-impressive spot (just look at that pendant lamp) even more special. Bonus points for matching the painting’s mossy tone to the adjacent throw pillows. 

The Incognito Storage

red and white striped wallpaper nurseryPin It
Photography by Amber May

Playroom organization isn’t typically the most exciting decorative outlet, but if this nursery teaches us anything, it’s that it just needs a reputation revamp. Take a page from the candy cane–like design and cover open shelves in the same paper used for the background. The 3-D effect is both practical and trippy: It almost looks like those stuffed animals are floating. 

The Headboard Hack

pink striped headboard in bedroomPin It
Photography by Sara Ligorria-Tramp for Emily Henderson Design

Tiptoe into the style with a demi-wall. Here, Emily Henderson glued a foam pad onto plywood and trimmed the striped fabric with molding to match the bed frame—half the work of a floor-to-ceiling installation with just as much impact. 

The Rustic Refresh

yellow tropical wallpaper in kitchen with dining nookPin It
Photography by Laure Joliet

Exposed wood beams, glass-front cabinets, brass light fixture…while beautiful, these features all err on the side of traditional when clumped together. The ’80s-inspired botanical print is totally unexpected. Keep the classics, but give them a facelift. 

The Nursery Jungle

botanical mural in nurseryPin It
Photography by Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson Design

A leafy mural is a surprisingly safe bet for a children’s space. In the event your little ones tire of it, it’s easier to update than an entire room. But with a motif as evergreen (sorry) as this, we bet they’d be willing to have it stick around for years to come. 

It’s hammer time: Follow @reno_notebook for easy rental updates, clever DIYs, and tips to nail your next project.

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