Is the Accent Wall Dead? 4 Unexpected Takes We’re Embracing Instead

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WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

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Published on June 23, 2022

The famous (or infamous) accent wall has always been a hotly debated topic in design circles. Many clients love them, and as designers who are bringing to life dream makeovers, it’s our job to give the people what they want. But, what do interior designers really think of this long-standing trend? 

To put it simply, we think the basic, flat accent wall as we know it is mostly dead. But before you draft a heated tweet, we aren’t looking to retire the general concept just yet — there are countless ways to embrace the “accent” theme that feel far more fresh and unexpected than a single painted wall.

Ahead, Havenly designers dish on the fate of the standard accent wall in 2022, plus their tips and tricks for turning it on its head:

Tip 1: Highlight Architecture

pink desk cabinet accent wall with white modern chair

In Melissa Wagner’s opinion, the accent wall is still relevant, but in a totally different application. “These days, accent walls demand texture, dimension, and visual interest beyond just paint,” says the Havenly lead designer. “Instead of painting one flat wall a bright color, consider highlighting a beloved architectural element with paint, tile, or wallpaper.” She suggests lining a beautiful arched wall or window with clay tile, highlighting built-in bookcases with a playful pop of color, or lining a wall of cabinets with wallpaper in a mudroom. “The ‘accent’ should be something architectural, dimensional, or unexpected for the look to truly sing,” she adds.

Tip 2: Try a DIY Mural

2022 accent wall trends

Havenly lead designer Brady Burke agrees, adding that simply getting more creative with paint can unlock a new look. “Instead of doing a basic singular accent wall, embrace a DIY mural moment,” he explains. He suggests paint a semi-circle behind your bed, taking a fireplace hue all the way up to the ceiling, or going abstract with free-flowing designs in an open-concept space. “Whatever you do, make a statement — don’t play it safe!”

Tip 3: Embrace the Exact Opposite

2022 accent wall trends

Rather than playing it safe with a pop of color on just one wall, Havenly lead designer Kelsey Fischer encourages the direct opposite: monochrome, immersive, all-over color. “If you love a color, don’t confine it to a single wall — match your walls, ceiling, baseboards, trim, doors, even your couch.” she says. “Anyone can have an accent wall. Do you want to be just anyone? Go all out for a statement look that feels both intentional and original.”

Tip 4: Incorporate Wallpaper

green with decor | green decor

Havenly lead designer Toussaint Derby concurs that the accent wall as we know it should be retired. “The painted accent wall had a great run, but I think it’s time to turn it on its head,” she says. She suggests embracing wallpaper and carrying the dominant color through the surrounding furniture and decor, bringing the accent hue to the ceiling, adding in doors and trim, or all three. “Interior design is all about trying unexpected things – taking old favorites, and making them new again,” she adds. “It’s time to do that with the accent wall, too.” 

From fresh accent wall ideas to perfecting room flow, our designers are chock-full of expert tips. Start with our style quiz to work with a design pro one-on-one.

Words by Kelsey Clark