Friday, May 21, 2010

Yay or Nay

The term "accent wall" has always kind of grossed me out/given me the creeps.  I have no particular idea why, but it just conjures up images of baaaad 90s-early 2000s house farm/McMansion decor.  It shouldn't, though.  We actually had a great accent wall (shiver) in our old house, Lil Harms.  In fact, it was quite the showstopper.

There must be a reason, however, that I pause to create a new accent wall in our home.  I am not alone in my slight reservations (in the deep recesses of my mind) as accent walls are, indeed, quite controversial.

Some of the cons cited in this House Beautiful article, highlighting the debate.

"I am not a big fan of the one-wall wonder. I think it's gimmicky, like one earring. What's the point? Couldn't afford two?"

—SCOTT SALVATOR  (**EDITOR'S NOTE:  This one kills me!)

"Painting just one wall seems a bit distracting and sort of a half measure. Why be timid? Pick a color you love and go all the way with it, baby!"

Now, some of the pros:
"Pick a color out of your fabric and use it on one wall — much easier, because when you paint all four walls, the color vibrates off itself and multiplies and you end up with something you didn't expect. Just one wall gives you a strong element, without being overpowering. I like this pale turquoise, which makes me think of a beach I'm not at." -JASON BELL BENJAMIN MOORE HARBOURSIDE TEAL 654

"Painting an accent wall behind a seating group can define a living area — sort of like a rug, but on the wall. An accent wall can also stand in for windows or a fireplace that didn't make it to the party. Paint is relatively inexpensive and entirely reversible, so it's a little less scary to pick something bold and interesting, like this orange-red. Easier to change than a sofa in a similar hue." -STEVEN SCLAROFF MYTHIC SPRING COSMOS 115-6

Where do I stand?  Not sure, but loving some of these accent walls.  Check it:
Canadian House and Home.

Jessica Helgerson.

...we haven't even really addressed wallpaper accent walls!

I remember seeing this Benjamin Moore room....note how that black accent wall provides architecture in an otherwise boxy room.

Sarah Richardson.

Domino...I think.

Perhaps, for me, I will remain in the gray area on accent walls.  They will be filed away under the "in a certain context" category.  Accordingly, I now need to decide of our new dining room falls into such a category. 

I stripped down the scene to give you a better idea of the space.  However, I, of course, accidentally left my purse on the table.  I am thinking of doing the wall with the cut out (see Belgian dough bowl in cut out) to the kitchen in my usual--burnty orange.  I think it may provide some impact when you walk into the front door. 

Oh, and the chandy for over the table?

Jonathan Adler action on apartment therapy. 

Yay or Nay/Cheers or Jeers, I am trying to decide and will keep you posted.  Send me some shots of accent walls (shudder) that you like or dislike!




  1. I am a big fan of the accent wall. I really like the way the back of that bookshelf is painted to set off the collection of serving ware.

    Great images!!

  2. I think painting the wall with the kitchen pass-through could look really great. We have an "accent" wall in our hallway out of both desire and necessity...hole in wall + unmatchable paint = ACCENT WALL!

  3. I never really thought about it before, but looking at most of these pics, I like accent walls, if they are done correctly. I don't love the large "one wall" in a room where all the walls are about symmetrical. I'm leaning towards the small spaces where it lends impact, but subtly to where it doesn't scream "accent wall!"
    Your red/orange wall at Lil Harms was perfect: the wall was small enough and set in the background, with the sun mirror it looked more like a large painting than a wall.

    That being said I think that wall in your dining room would definitely work, the shape is almost like a frame. Your burnt orange/red would work I think. The dark chocolate browns or navy like the ones in the pics I think would look nice too. Also to throw a dark horse out there, what about a deep mustard yellow?

  4. Do it, but just ditch the words Accent Wall.
    Have a great weekend.
    xo xo

  5. Sounds great! And just remember, it is PAINT! if you hate it, paint it another color. As for your chandy and lighting, that is huge. Lighting is different for every house and every color...fact. Paint it, then revisit if/when chandy arrives!