How to Choose a Bedroom Accent Wall and Color

blue accent wall in a bedroom

​The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

If you wake up in a blah bedroom, it might be time for a change. Decluttering and new bedding can only go so far. What's next? Create an accent wall.

What Is an Accent Wall?

An accent wall is typically an interior wall (though some exterior walls can be considered accent walls) the design of which is different from the others around it. The accent wall may feature a different color, material, or pattern than the others.

Besides giving your bedroom a big dose of design, an accent wall can fool the eye into making the room appear smaller or larger. To get started, you'll need to choose which wall you want to accent. Once you decide which wall to use, then comes the creative part of choosing a color.

Choose a Wall

There are a few ways to choose the ideal accent wall in a bedroom. Oftentimes, the wall behind your headboard creates the focal point in your bedroom. But you're free to use another wall in your room as your focal point, too. Here are three tips that will help you choose a wall to work on in your bedroom.

  • Find a wall that stands out. Which wall is your eye naturally drawn to when you first enter your bedroom? Or, you might choose a wall that draws your attention when you first wake up.
  • Use an unobstructed wall. Choose a wall that's free of extra-large pieces of furniture, such as wardrobes or bureaus. An accent wall should be able to stand alone enough to create a degree of impact and drama.
  • Choose a balanced wall. A balanced wall isn't going to be too bare or too busy after you've added color. If it's too bare, it'll pop too much and may make the room feel unbalanced. Make sure you can put something in front of the wall that won't cause visual clutter, such as a small table and chair. In addition, if your dominant wall has off-center and asymmetrical elements, such as an unusual configuration of windows, it may cause your room to look too busy or off-balance.

If you can't find the right accent wall, consider the fifth wall, your bedroom ceiling. A white ceiling heightens a room while a darker color makes a large bedroom appear cozier.

Choose a Color

Now that you've found the perfect wall, it's time to pick a color. Choosing a color is a little easier when you know a couple of time-tested tricks. First, learn a few basic tips about how different colors make you feel, which is especially important in a bedroom. Second, learn how to mix, match, or blend the right colors for your bedroom accent wall.

  • Learn about warm colors. Warm colors, such as orange, yellow, and red, make a space appear smaller because the wall is pulled towards the eye. A warm color would be ideal on a wall at the end of a long, narrow bedroom, for example.
  • Brush up on cool colors. Cool colors—such as green, blue, and purple—make a small bedroom appear larger because it pulls the wall away from the eye. A cool color on the side of a bedroom can help a narrow room seem wider.
  • Understand monochromatic versus bright colors. An accent wall doesn't have to be a vivid color. You might want a calming color on an accent wall in your bedroom. A monochromatic accent wall will have a subtle effect in a bedroom. If your room's walls are painted a neutral color, go a shade or two deeper for a saturated tone of the same color for your accent wall. To add a pop of color in a room with neutral walls, choose a color from your bedding to tie it all together.

You can use these tips for any space, from creating a primary bedroom accent wall to one in a nursery or guest room. Painting an accent wall is a simple project, and you can always enhance it by adding various finishes, architectural elements, or artwork.

About This Term: Primary Bedroom

Many real estate associations, including the National Association of Home Builders, have classified the term "Master Bedroom" as discriminatory. "Primary Bedroom" is the name now widely used among the real estate community and better reflects the purpose of the room.

Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to make The Spruce a site where all feel welcome.