Monday, November 3, 2008

Ask Cristina: Which Wall Should be an Accent Wall?

Dear Cristina, (via my website

I was wondering, how do you know which wall to use as an accent wall? I have an oblong living room and I am having it professionally painted soon. I am trying to decide which wall would be best. I was told to use the first wall you see when you come in the room as the accent wall. I was also told that I should not make the wall behind my TV the accent wall. (This is the first wall you see). I am so confused now. Please help. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Much thanks!!

Michele M.

Dear Michele,
A focal (or focus) point is an area of a room that catches your eye. A focal point area could be a wall, window, item of furniture (like a piano or TV), an architectural accent (such as -- ornate trims, a niche, fireplace, a unique ceiling) or fixture (such as lighting or appliances). A room will have a primary focal point, secondary focal point, etc.

How those focal points come to be is a combination of architecture and interior design. And, it sounds as though in your home the architecture makes the TV wall the focal point of the living room.

A painted accent wall can enhance or create a focal point. Because your living room is also your entertainment area I recommend you work with the TV. Put in cabinets and shelving that are attractive and cover or minimize the appearance of the TV. The cabinetry should include shelves to display art, memorabilia and decor items that enrich the focal area so that the TV is not visually dominant - an important factor when the TV is not on. The idea is to reinforce the natural visual dominance of the TV wall but at the same time, subordinate the visual importance of the TV.

With the above concepts in mind here's what to consider when you choose which wall to accent with paint:
  • A colored accent wall would look great behind built-in shelves. The accent wall color would reinforce the focal point created by the cabinetry.
  • OR, if the TV wall is also the longest wall in the room, AND after you have the cabinetry designed, IF that wall is too dominant you'll want to consider emphasizing a secondary focal point to create a little asymmetrical balance.**
  • You could choose to accent a secondary focal point, consider a wall behind the seating area or a wall that frames a visually significant window.
Read more about accent walls on my website,
When you're done with your room, I'd love to see photos.

Warm Regards,

**Yes, this is a conditional answer, but it's the best I can do with the information I have. You'll need to consider these concepts when you make your decision.
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.

1 comment:

  1. I just purchased paint from Benjamine Moore 2159-40 (amber wave) and AC-9 (Nugget). These colors seem too dark. The Benjamine Moore specialist suggested that we use the Nugget as the accent wall. For some reason it doesn't look to good. Can someone suggest a color that will compliment (Amber Wave) or a color that we can use as an accent wall with the color (Amber Wave). Oh by the way the room is in the basement and it is the longest wall inwhich we plan to put the TV on.

    Looking for HELP.

    Thank you.

    Oh! you can find the color on Benjamine Moore's website