Create Contrast with a Dash of Dark

There they are. Four glorious white walls enclosing your new bedroom, awaiting your design decisions.

Like most homeowners, you seek to open up your home, create a sense of space and maximize the appearance of your square footage with light colors. But you’re underwhelmed by the 15 shades of white you brought home from the paint store.

Accent wall, you think. Maybe that’s it. A nice contrasting tone could bring the room to life and show that I’m a little more creative than to just blanket the walls in cloud white — and a little more practical than to go all flower child on it.

That’s where a dash of dark comes in.

The bedroom is a perfect place to start with an accent wall because it’s a private area and, therefore, relatively risk-free for you to try something new. And most bedrooms include a headboard against a wall and a bed, a natural focal point in a room. That’s key because accent walls naturally draw the eye and should highlight key features of your home.

Consider this contemporary design. The white walls, ceiling and natural light provide a sense of space while the dark accent wall provides contrast that helps the other colors, such as the pink flowers and pink pillow designs, pop out.

Another attractive option is to provide some texture to contrast with the flatness of white-toned walls. This bedroom uses recycled timber boards that provides a sense of calm with the gentle lighting.

Accenting Attributes and Minimizing Problematic Spaces

Since accent walls draw attention, it’s important to carefully consider which wall you pick.

In some cases, a dark accent wall can emphasis interesting architectural features, such as fireplaces and mantles. In this example, the homeowner used a dark tone accent wall in the bedroom to offset the natural light and emphasis the luxurious fireplace just beyond the foot of their bed.

Similarly, many designers use accent walls to showcase their clients’ art collections. The darker tones, in certain cases, provide a nice contrast to the colors of the art work. In a museum, white walls typically the norm to avoid distraction. But, in a home, the darker walls act more like a unique backdrop to the art. Here’s an example of how the contrast can make art pop.

And such dark tones also provide an opportunity for unique wall sculptures, particularly white ones, which are common in modern interior design.

Or for DIY wall painting in a nursery like this.

This homeowner used a dark accent wall to show the size and height of the irregularly shaped rear wall while also really drawing eyes to the gentle tones of the abstract art.

Here’s an example that shows off an interesting sculpture.

But, that brings us to a point of caution.

Don’t Go Overboard If You Plan to Sell Soon

Of course, you want to make your home your castle. Design it your way and let your personality shine.

That’s perfect if you don’t plan to sell or have a little money set aside to tone any really eccentric design elements down for potential buyers who could be turned off by a wildly artsy accent wall. But, while an appropriately placed accent wall can add a bit value to your home for many potential buyers, the wrong design choice could require a costly makeover.

Also, remember, those accent walls aren’t loved by all. Consider this blog by the Decorologist in 2009.

“I’m certainly not against having an accent wall, but you need to think about why you want one,” the author writes. “Sometimes I think people are too scared to paint the entire room the color they really love. So they paint some wimpy neutral, then paint one wall the color they really wanted.”

Be wary of using really strong colors, unless you just have to have them, because too much dark tone can make a room feel smaller, and because dark colors absorb light, provide an almost overcast feel.

For example, this may be one person’s dream color scheme, but it probably wouldn’t have much broad appeal.

Darker paint colors are also more difficult to bring back to their lighter color state. It typically requires a couple coats of primer and a high-quality paint to avoid shadowing and tone problems that conflict with neighboring walls.