Is the accent wall dead? Maybe I’ve been in the design industry too long as I’ve seen this question come and go so many times. So let’s take a look at what the accent wall was, is, and it’s shaky future.
The accent wall has had some good times over these last 20 years. I first remember hearing the term while watching trading spaces, boy how long ago was that? Well probably sometime around 2000. Vern Yip introduced the idea of an accent wall to the homeowners. Now, I am not saying he invented the idea, but that was a pretty early version of it and the first I remember in my time. The accent wall showed up everywhere. Behind beds, in dining rooms, family rooms, kitchens, you name it. It was paint, wall paper, cork, mirrors, faux paint, anything that was different than the rest of the room. Not all of these turned out looking great, but people seemed to gravitate to the idea of having one wall that was different than the rest.
We then got away from all of the crazy materials, and really honed in on paint. It was tons of burgundy walls while the rest of the room was beige. Or it was a deep gold wall, or chocolate wall behind the bed. The dark, earthy tones were everywhere 15 years ago. Then we all lightened up! The tan/beige craze began to fade and gray and white worked its way onto the scene. We saw shiplap (now a household term) gain in popularity. The 1970’s wood paneling literally got flipped on its side, painted white and it became a phenomenon. This is when the accent wall began to lose its strength. With entire rooms being covered in shiplap. The dark earthy tones disappeared and rooms were now all white, or gray, or the ever popular greige for those of us that still had tons of warm tones in our homes, and couldn’t totally flip over to all gray. Wallcoverings (or wallpaper) was back! This fact is still hard for many of us that grew up with kitchens covered in tiny flowers or strawberries, or bedrooms with teddy bear wallpaper borders, but we stepped bravely into the new wallcovering world thanks to designers like Candice Olsen who created some amazing and beautiful papers! These did start as accent walls. The accent wall was not ready to die!
We now enter a new decade. WIth HGTV and DIY, and Instagram, we have gotten more daring with the design in our homes. Why is this? Because we have seen it first hand on TV, and online and have watched as other people experimented and found, ya know- that looks pretty good! So we have gotten a little more brave and said buh bye accent wall, I’m gonna cover the whole darn room! So march on fellow creatives! Paper the whole room in an amazing metallic geometric paper, or paint the whole room navy! Be bold, be daring, because if you love it.. Do it!