26 Affordable Accent Wall Ideas That Look Expensive

Blush pink accent wall in a living room

The Spruce / Marty Baldwin

If you're looking for a budget-friendly way to make a big impact in any space, an accent wall is the answer. Forget the "one red wall" style of accent walls from several years ago; accent walls have gone creative. Color is the least expensive and easiest way to create an accent wall, but there are many other stylish ways to customize your space without breaking your decor budget. Check out these stylish and affordable accent wall ideas that will make your space look more expensive.

  • 01 of 26

    Pick a Paint Color

    accent wall ideas

    Design by Desiree Burns Interiors

    Creating a stunning accent wall can take little more than a gallon of paint and an afternoon of painting. Choosing the right accent wall paint color is important as it will become your room's focal point. If your existing wall color is warm, you'll want to choose a warm wall color. Be careful even with neutral colors, as they have color undertones that can make your accent wall look out of place.


    Faux-finish accent walls are not as popular as they once were, but using metallic paints or plaster techniques are still very much in style. Be sure to try your faux-finish technique on a piece of wallboard before trying it on your wall, that way you'll have practice time and a preview of how it will look. Consider taking a free workshop at a local home improvement store to perfect your technique and get help recreating your accent wall at home.

    Figure out how much paint you need with The Spruce's Paint Calculator. 

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  • 02 of 26

    Add Curtains

    accent wall ideas

    Design by Cathie Hong Interiors / Talitha Photos

    Ditch the paint and wallpaper—floor-to-ceiling curtains can add a dose of unexpected drama to a space. These white curtains flow with the rest of the walls, yet the fabric provides texture that still creates a perfect accent wall.

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  • 03 of 26

    Go Bold

    accent wall ideas

    Michelle Berwick Design

    If you're a fan of sit-down family meals or hosting dinners for friends, a conversation-starting accent wall in a bold and colorful print like this multicolored floral number will set the tone and boost the mood.

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  • 04 of 26

    Try Temporary Wallpaper

    accent wall ideas

    @ann.living / Instagram

    Also called "renter's wallpaper," temporary wallpaper is trendy, budget-friendly, removable, and requires no paste or water to hang. You can have a lot of fun with patterns and colors you might not want to live with permanently. Temporary wallpaper is perfect if you'd love a stylish look without the commitment. You can create an accent wall in your foyer, behind a headboard, or in a room lacking any real architectural features. 

    Choosing bold wallpaper patterns in vertical stripes can make your ceiling look taller, and horizontal stripes make your room look larger. You can use temporary wallpaper in clever ways to update your space easily and affordably. Don't limit yourself to a simple wall application; you can use this wallpaper to line the back of shelves or inside cabinets to add a peek of color and pattern.

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  • 05 of 26

    Fake a Brick Wall

    accent wall ideas

    Louis Duncan-He Designs / Photo by Eymeric Wilding

    Create a low key accent wall that will add texture and character to a plain wall in a living room or home library using peel and stick wallpaper with a brick motif.

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  • 06 of 26

    Add Wood Paneling

    accent wall ideas

    Arbor & Co.

    Everywhere you look reclaimed wood is popping up in home decor. You can easily and affordably add that weathered style to your home by cladding a wall in wood planks. Try it anywhere from the wall behind the bed to the family room or foyer to create a warm and inviting look. You can also add the look of reclaimed wood to the sides of a kitchen island, a bar, or the back of open shelving or cabinets. 

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  • 07 of 26

    Do the Laundry Room

    accent wall ideas

    Michelle Berwick Design

    There's no reason that your laundry room has to be boring. Adding a bright wallpaper accent behind the machines gives the utilitarian space a lift and just might put a smile on your face while you're doing your chores.

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  • 08 of 26

    Use Tile

    accent wall ideas

    Erin Williamson Design

    In an open-plan kitchen, the backsplash functions as a type of accent wall, an opportunity to showcase color, pattern, or texture that will add interest to the room. If you have the space or the budget, try tiling the entire wall for a dramatic, high-end look. And if you want to achieve the look of tile on a budget, consider peel and stick tiles to create a focal point. The new peel and stick tiles are much more elegant than past products and include more design options. 

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  • 09 of 26

    Go Small and Subtle

    accent wall ideas

    @afrobohemianliving / Instagram

    An accent wall doesn't necessarily need to be large to make an impact—especially if you're dealing with small nooks or awkward spaces. Choosing a color that adds contrast is key. This corner space gets a facelift with mustard brown paint on one side, allowing it to stand out amongst the rest of the white decor.

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  • 10 of 26

    Use Mirrors

    accent wall ideas

    Ashley Montgomery Design

    Paint and wallpaper are far from your only option when creating an accent wall. Especially in a smaller room, a wall covered in mirrors can be a game-changer, allowing the space to appear larger. While mirrors themselves can be pricey, there is a budget-friendly alternative—mirror panels. These thin sheets of reflective paneling allow you to stick the sheets onto the wall to give the appearance of traditional mirrors. They come in various sizes, shapes, and styles that can help you bring your accent wall ideas to life.

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  • 11 of 26

    Paint a Mural

    accent wall ideas

    Design by Brexton Cole Interiors

    If you're feeling artistic, you can't go wrong with painting a mural to serve as an accent wall in a hallway, kids room, or other space. Keeping the art on one wall keeps everyone's attention focused on the masterpiece, and allows you to make a giant impression without going all out on every wall.

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  • 12 of 26

    Add Shelving

    accent wall ideas

    Casa Watkins Living

    Wallpaper is not just for bedrooms and living rooms—kitchens can join the fun as well. Pairing colorful, eclectic wallpaper as a backdrop for floating shelves can help the space from feeling too overwhelming. Additionally, knowing you're only using the style on one wall gives your permission to go outside the box a bit more than you might when having to keep the entire room in mind.

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  • 13 of 26

    Paint Geometric Shapes

    accent wall ideas

    Dazey Den

    Paint doesn't have to reach all four corners to make an impact. The white wall with a simple yellow circle still creates a contrasting accent, yet still feels cohesive with the rest of the space given that it matches the golden hue on the remaining walls. The trend of painting geometric shapes on walls, particularly headboards, isn't an unknown concept—but can be applied to other rooms as well.

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  • 14 of 26

    Use a Vibrant Hue

    accent wall ideas

    Erin Williamson Design

    When opting to paint an accent wall, don't hesitate to choose a bold color, especially if you have a theme in your room that supports it. This room already boasts a midcentury modern vibe, and the stunning blue wall only adds to its charm. Layering some midcentury wall art in a contrasting hue adds dimension and interest.

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  • 15 of 26

    Layer It Up

    accent wall ideas

    Dazey Den

    Create an eclectic accent meets gallery wall by layering photos, artwork, or other types of decor over wallpaper. You will likely be surprised how many items in your home can easily be added to the concept, as well as how many inexpensive art prints exist online, so you don't have to blow your budget in the process.

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  • 16 of 26

    Try Felt Stickers

    accent wall ideas

    @homebypolly / Instagram

    If you're not much of a painter or muralist, but still want to create a striking accent wall in your child's bedroom, try peel and stick felt stickers to transform the wall above the bed into a galaxy.

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  • 17 of 26

    Combine Textures

    accent wall ideas

    @home.and.spirit / Instagram

    This living room includes a working space anchored by an accent wall that pairs warm wood panels and soothing green paint, demonstrating the benefits of combining textures when planning your accent wall design.

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  • 18 of 26

    Go Neutral

    accent wall ideas

    Michelle Berwick Design

    If you prefer a more minimalist vibe, then stick to a neutral color palette, adding a large-scale photo mural like this foggy forest nature scene backdrop in soothing shades of gray and green for a striking effect.

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  • 19 of 26

    Use Vintage Book Covers

    accent wall ideas

    @midcenturyjo / Instagram

    If you're big into the DIY scene and want to be a bit more eclectic, then it's time to step outside the norm. This accent wall is covered floor to ceiling in vintage book covers—which can be found inexpensively at thrift shops and donation centers.

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  • 20 of 26

    Add Wood Detailing

    accent wall ideas

    Louis Duncan-He Designs / Photo by Heather Dunbar

    Adding simple wood detailing in an abstract pattern and painting it the same color as the wall adds dimension to an accent wall behind the bed. This easy DIY requires nothing more than a nail gun and a few strips of wood, an idea that could work just as well in a living room, family room, playroom, or any other space that needs a little oomph.

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  • 21 of 26

    Embrace a Theme

    accent wall ideas

    Michelle Boudreau Designs

    In this midcentury modern style Palm Springs bedroom, a palm print wallpaper accent wall reinforces a theme carried throughout the room, from the palm-themed gallery wall to the glimpse of a towering palm tree outside the tall window above the bed.

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  • 22 of 26

    Embellish the Closet

    accent wall ideas

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made By Carmona

    The far wall of this primary bedroom walk-in closet is covered in Woodland Birds‘ wallpaper by Milton & King, creating a focal point that makes the space look more polished from the adjoining room, and more of a pleasure to use.

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  • 23 of 26

    Make It Two Tone

    accent wall ideas

    Louis Duncan-He Designs / Photo by Eymeric Wilding

    Painting a simple graphic accent on the wall of this living room home office helps to visually divide the hybrid space while dressing up the workspace to make it flow with the rest of the room's design. A painting hung above the desk that straddles both the blue and white sections of the wall makes it feel pulled together. This is a simple DIY that just requires a small pot of blue paint and some painter's tape to keep the line looking sharp.

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  • 24 of 26

    Have Fun

    accent wall ideas

    Michelle Berwick Design

    In a multi-purpose open plan space, an accent wall can help define zones. This finished basement is a hybrid space with zones for work and play. A colorful accent wall with geometric shapes and a friendly wall sign anchors an at-home movie night bar cart stocked with popcorn and candy in the fun zone.

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  • 25 of 26

    Consider Sightlines

    accent wall ideas

    Louis Duncan-He Designs / Photo by Eymeric Wilding

    This small dining room has a large picture window with a view of the outdoors that serves as a focal point. But the adjacent wall features a door opening with a view of a hallway that has been covered with colorful graphic wallpaper to create a mini accent wall that makes a feature of the awkward layout.

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  • 26 of 26

    Make It Abstract

    accent wall ideas

    Design by Alvin Wayne

    A wallpaper accent in an bold abstract black-and-white pattern anchors the desk in this home gym and workspace, adding contrast with the wide open city views from the adjacent floor-to-ceiling windows.