Monday, January 14, 2008

Accent Wall Color Advice

Dear Cristina,
I need help! I have this beautiful stone fireplace in my living room and I have an accent wall. I want a color that will bring attention to the fireplace and make it the focal point. The other walls in the room are a light tan. Please offer suggestions.

(via website contact form)

Dear Lisa,
An accent wall is a large area of isolated color that repeats the color of a furnishing or accessory like a sofa or vase. Paint one accent wall and it’ll look great. It’s presence helps to focus the eye on a portion of the room.

You said the rest of your room is tan. Without seeing your room, I’m not going to throw out a color for you to use, so here are a few suggestions about how to find the color that works.

When you choose your accent color consider the colors of both the fireplace surround, furnishings, textiles, floorings, ceiling and trim colors that are in the room.

Use paint chips and identify those colors. Put them all together on a table in that room and then choose an accent color that meshes well with the existing palette. If it seems at all daunting, think of it like choosing the colors of an outfit to wear. Look for an accent color that will pop the other colors, enhancing the focal point of the fireplace.

I wrote an article about this topic for a national magazine. Here is an excerpt about using color both on accent walls and in rooms that visually connect with each other (like great rooms):

Because the isolated color of the accent wall doesn’t lead (or connect) your eye to another area of the home, flow is not enhanced. That’s not a big deal as flow may not be important for that part of the room. Paint a few more accent walls and the lack of flow (or connection) becomes a big deal. The reason a few accent walls don’t enhance flow is because the color is on only one wall surface (or plane) so it becomes a graphic or two-dimensional addition to the room. Connect that accent wall color to the same color on the ceiling or an adjoining wall and the color now occupies two surfaces (or planes), making the color part of the three dimensional architecture of the room. That’s why you aren’t sensing flow with a few accent walls. It’s simple; you’ve got to have a sense of three-dimensional space to have flow. In other words: For color to enhance architecture, it has to be on enough surfaces that it contributes to the shape of the room. Read More….

I’d love to see a photo of your finished project.
Cristina Acosta
See examples of my color consulting portfolio and articles on my website. Call me to schedule a color consulting appointment in Bend, Oregon or a phone appointment if you don't live in Oregon.

Read more of my Choosing Colors blog entries.

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