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Are accent walls in style anymore?

Are accent walls in style anymore?

Accent walls have been a popular interior design trend for many years now. An accent wall is a single wall in a room that is painted or decorated differently from the other walls, serving as a focal point and adding visual interest to the space. Typically, accent walls feature a bold color, vibrant pattern, or eye-catching wallpaper. The accent wall draws the eye and becomes the star of the room.

However, as with all home decor trends, accent walls have waxed and waned in popularity over time. Some design experts argue that accent walls are starting to feel dated, while others insist they can still look current and stylish when done right. So are accent walls in or out these days? Let’s take a closer look at the debate.

The case against accent walls

Here are some of the main arguments made by those who believe accent walls are falling out of fashion:

– They’re overdone. Accent walls exploded in popularity in the early 2000s and became ubiquitous in many homes. After nearly two decades of accent walls everywhere, some argue they’ve become cliché and trite.

– They can limit future options. Painting just one wall a bold color or papering it in a wild print makes it hard to later switch up your room’s look. With a more neutral palette on all four walls, it’s easier to change things up with less hassle.

– They can be distracting. In small spaces like apartments or bedrooms, a brightly colored accent wall can sometimes feel overwhelming or make the room feel smaller. A muted, calming color on all walls may be preferable.

– They’re hard to get “right.” Choosing the right color or print for your accent wall and making sure it works with the rest of your space can be tricky. It’s easy for accent walls to come out looking gaudy or mismatched if not done carefully. Going for a more simple, streamlined look may be a safer option.

– Trends are moving away from them. As many minimalist and industrial design aesthetics come into vogue, accent walls can feel cluttered and outdated in comparison. Clean lines and negative space are “in.”

The case for accent walls

However, there are still plenty of compelling arguments that accent walls can be stylish, modern, and worth including in today’s homes:

– They add personality. Accent walls are an easy way to infuse a room with your personal style, favorite colors, or patterns that express your interests and hobbies. They allow you to put your individual stamp on a space.

– They can elevate neutral backdrops. Pairing a neutral white or beige palette with one vibrant accent wall adds a pop of color without overwhelming. The neutral walls keep things simple while the accent wall packs a punch.

– They highlight architecture and features. Accent walls behind beds, fireplaces, bookshelves, or TVs draw attention to those focal points in the room. They emphasize and complement important areas.

– Variety is key. If accent walls are overdone in one particular style, like chevron stripes or geometric prints, that may start feeling stale. But choosing new and interesting applications for accent walls like textured paint techniques, natural wallpaper, modern graphic prints, or unexpected colors can breathe new life into the trend.

– They’re budget-friendly. Painting or wallpapering an accent wall is relatively inexpensive compared to redecorating an entire room. The simple addition of an accent wall can go a long way in changing the vibe.

– Professionals still use them. Many cutting-edge interior designers still incorporate accent walls into their high-end projects. They know how to include them in ways that feel fresh and current.

Pros of Accent Walls Cons of Accent Walls
  • Add personality and style
  • Elevate neutral backdrops
  • Highlight architecture
  • Budget-friendly refresh
  • Can feel overdone or dated
  • Limit future redesign options
  • Distracting in small spaces
  • Hard to execute well

Best practices for modern accent walls

If you want to incorporate an accent wall that feels fresh and current, keep these guidelines in mind:

– Choose unexpected colors like deep greens, rich blues, or muted earth tones instead of primary colors.

– Lean into minimalist patterns like wide stripes, abstract shapes, or tone-on-tone designs. Avoid cluttered prints.

– Use textural interest like 3D tile, wood accent planks, concrete, or faux bricks instead of flat painted walls or wallpaper.

– Incorporate natural materials like wood, rattan, cork, stone, or plants for an earthy bohemian vibe.

– Paint a graphic mural or modern artistic print rather than generic geometric shapes.

– Wallpaper the inside of built-in shelves or the back of bookcases rather than an entire wall for a subtle effect.

– Consider painting your accent wall black or dark charcoal grey for an edgy, dramatic look.

– Use accent walls sparingly, in moderation, and where they make the most impact. Don’t overdo it.


At the end of the day, the enduring popularity of accent walls will come down to personal preference. If you love the bold look of an accent wall and take care to choose colors, materials, and prints that feel versatile and modern, there’s no reason an accent wall can’t look just as chic and on-trend today as other interior design styles. But if you feel accent walls are overplayed or prefer a more streamlined aesthetic, skipping them is certainly an option.

The most important thing is choosing decor you genuinely love rather than following trends that don’t speak to your personal taste. An accent wall is one tool that can be utilized beautifully and effectively as part of a well-designed space if executed thoughtfully. But accent walls are not a must-have element to create a stylish, fashion-forward home. At the end of the day, choose what brings you joy and fits your lifestyle. There are no single “right” way to decorate!