When it comes to color, sometimes the design potential to be had from it comes in how that color contrasts others in a space. That’s why the accent wall is a popular choice in 21st century interior design. There’s great power to be found in a bold accent color, balanced against a neutral background.
But, how do you use that power responsibly, for good and not evil?
Writer Alvina Lopez is here to help you figure it out.
Peter Parker’s uncle once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The wisdom in that saying applies to a great variety of situations, not just the use of superpowers.
Take accent walls, for example. Accent walls make a powerful statement in and about a room. A canary yellow wall in an otherwise white sun room, for example, fills a room with cheeriness and draws attention to both the form and function of the room itself.
While accent walls have the power to transform a room, it isn’t always for the better. Choosing the wrong wall, a conflicting (rather than complimentary) color, or a number of other choices can turn a good idea into a horrible, evil thing that you can’t even stand to look at.
The secret is to harness the power of the accent wall for good, not evil. Here are a few ways to use the power responsibly.
Appraise the space
Before you even think about colors or other schemes, you need to understand the space you’re working with. If the room is uninhabited or empty, look for the natural focal point of the room — often this will be a wall with a window, but if there are any architectural peculiarities, those might take focal precedent. Fireplaces, stairs, outcroppings, and other similar elements all have a strong visual presence that should either be highlighted or matched.
If the room is going to stay empty, your work will be cut out for you. Chances are, however, that the room is either a) not empty, or b) will not stay that way if it is. Still, it’s important that you identify natural focal points, whether or not the room is empty, because when you paint an accent wall, you are going to be competing with that established focal point.
If the room is not empty, locate the artificial focal point — the one created by the furnishings — and try to weigh which focal point is “heavier”. The heaviest focal point should get the accent.
Interior design is almost entirely about balance. An excellent space is one that is balanced in color, dimension, contents and so on. This doesn’t mean that a space has to be symmetrical; symmetry and balance are not the same thing. Instead, you should strive for a balance between elements — if a room is very long, for example, balance it with objects or designs that provide some width.
Balance is crucial when contemplating painting an accent wall, because painting the wrong wall can throw the entire room out of balance. If most of your furniture is on one side of the room, for example, painting the wall opposite would actually be unbalanced, because the focal point of the room is where the furniture is.
Coordinate your colors
Most rooms in your home will already have a color scheme, whether you deliberately picked it out or not. Before picking a color for the accent wall, distinguish what colors are being used, and then use that palette to choose your accent wall color.
Arbitrarily choosing an accent wall color is never a good idea, and is generally the fastest way to an evil room. Think of how many red accent walls you’ve seen that seem totally out of place because the designer just really wanted a red wall. If your rooms are empty, then you can choose a color scheme as you go, and can even base the palette of the room on the wall — but it doesn’t work the other way around. Unless you want to buy new decorations and furniture, that is.
There is some trial and error involved with understanding the power of the accent wall, but with planning, patience, and a little bit of intuition, you can transform any room into a super-room. If you want to learn more about color, design, or architecture, but don’t have time for traditional classes, consider taking a course or two from an accredited online college to increase your own powers.
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments below, or at her email Id: alvina.lopez (at) gmail dot com