Ruth Chafin Interior Design

The Inland Empire's "voice of Experience" since 1979

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An accent wall adds dimension to any space

During my recent trip to the Las Vegas Market, I walked through a LOT of showrooms. As I peruse vendor displays, I not only pay attention to the products on display but also to the displays themselves. Space being a premium, vendors must make creative but efficient use of their display areas in order to showcase their whole product line. One technique used by nearly every vendor somewhere in their showroom is the accent wall — one wall with a special treatment, a contrasting color or fabric, which sets the display apart from others.

A room is a box

Any room is, basically, a plain box: four walls, a ceiling and a floor. (Of course, many rooms are not symmetrical and have more than four walls.) The displays in the showrooms of our Las Vegas vendors often did not have four walls to work with. Perhaps there were only two, or perhaps the display was simply a corner of the showroom floor. Designers would use an accent wall to create the illusion of dimension so that it “appears” that one is looking at a whole room.

Create a diversion

This same technique can be used in your own home. The wonderful thing about accent walls is that they can be used at any scale: a small powder room, the end wall of a hallway, a large living or bedroom. Accent walls work because they afford visual relief by creating a diversion. For this reason, accent walls work particularly well in rooms that lack any significant architectural feature such as a window. A basement play room, the middle bedroom, or the half-bath tucked under the staircase would be excellent candidates for an accent wall.

Accent wall take away

  • an accent wall is one wall with a special treatment, a contrasting color or fabric;
  • an accent wall can afford visual relief by creating a diversion;
  • an accent wall can provide dimension to a space;
  • an accent wall works at any scale;
  • an accent wall works particularly well in rooms without significant architectural features.


Below are some excellent examples of the utilization of the accent wall from Houzz. How have you created an accent wall in your home? Let us know about it in the comments!

Contemporary Kitchen by Other Metro Architects AMP Architekten


Traditional Bedroom by Los Angeles Architects & Building Designers Shigetomi Pratt Architects, Inc.


Midcentury Dining Room by Brooklyn Architects & Building Designers CWB Architects


Transitional Nursery by Chicago Interior Designers & Decorators SuzAnn Kletzien Design