Paint an Accent Wall in an Afternoon

Want to add decorating impact to a room in a fast and affordable way? Paint an accent wall using a bold color. 

Back in the spring I showed you how I made over the upstairs bath and one of the guest rooms in my home. Right before the holidays I did a quick makeover to the other guest room by using paint to create a bold accent wall in the room.

Before and After Room Makeover Paint and Accent Wall
Here is the room BEFORE

It is a very bright and comfortable room that just needs a few decorative tweaks.  I did the other guest room using feminine colors. For this room I am going in the opposite direction. I am using more masculine colors. Dark greens and blues taken from nature since the best part of the room is the…

Lake House water view

… stellar view out to the lake.

Blue and green color scheme for a bedroom

I updated the fan and added some art to the walls that I will show you in another post, but furniture wise I am not buying anything new for the room. Using paint to create an accent wall is the least expensive way to makeover a room, painting one wall using a bold color makes it doable in an afternoon. You can see how the Simple DIY Headboard is hung on the wall with the bed moved away.

Painting an accent wall in any room can add a dramatic touch by creating a focal point that demands attention. It’s an inexpensive do-it-yourself painting project that is one of my favorite ways to add color to a room without overwhelming it.

KILZ Complete Coat paint and KILZ 2 primer

I used KILZ Complete Coat® that I purchased at Walmart to paint the accent wall.  It is the same paint I used to paint a faux woodgrain effect on my front doors,   The paint is a paint + primer in one, but since I was painting a dark bold color over white walls, I first primed the walls with KILZ 2Latex® primer that I bought at The Home Depot. This is a pre-mixed “grey primer” that is good to use when painting dark colors over light. It will lessen the need for multiple coats while enhancing the dark color of paint.

How to choose a wall paint color.

The paint can be made up in many colors. I picked all the navy blue paint chips that the paint can be made up in and taped them to the wall so I could see how each looked at different times of the day.  I kept whittling the choice down until there was only one on the wall.  The winning color is called Saxophone Solo. 

I like the contrast of a bold accent wall against white walls. It adds a very modern touch to a space. But you can use any neutral color on the other walls.  Your neutral walls can be gray, beige or whatever works best with your accent color. You can use any sheen of paint, but remember the higher the sheen the more wall imperfections will show up. You can never go wrong using a flat finish. If you want to up the drama like I did, a satin finish will add a subtle sheen to wall.

Navy Blue accent wall in a bedroom

Here is the AFTER. I love the contrast of the dark blue against the crisp white and black accents.

Reasons why you should paint an accent wall in room:

  • Let’s you try out a trendy color you are not sure about yet.
  • Can be done in an afternoon.
  • Creates a focal point in a room when there isn’t one.
  • When you leave the other walls a neutral or a different color it plays up the wow factor of the accent wall even more.
  • Create decorative impact for plain walls where no art is hung.

What Wall In a Room Should Become the Accent Wall?

  • Where do you want to draw attention? Are there any distinctive architectural features in the room like a fireplace, a built-in bookcase, a large window, or behind a bed’s headboard.
  • If you don’t have any of these elements in the room, the wall directly across from the doorway of the room is a good choice.
  • Adding an accent wall color can accentuate a part of the room as well as continue color schemes from an adjacent room, which serves to bring two spaces together.

How to Paint an Accent Wall in a Room

Accent wall in bedroom painted Navy Blue

Guest Room AFTER with Accent Wall

supplies needed:

  • KILZ Complete Coat®  
  • Optional: KILZ Latex2®
  • 1″ – 2″ wide angled paint brush
  • Paint roller and roller tray
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint Edge tool
The best paint tool to use when painting a accent wall in a room

When painting an accent wall in a room my #1 tip is to use an inexpensive paint edging tool like this. You can buy one at a paint or home improvement store.

How to use a paint edger to paint an accent wall.

It will make creating crisp edges along the adjacent walls, ceiling and baseboard easy.

Tips and tricks on how to paint an accent wall in a room

The other thing I do before I start to paint an accent wall is to place painter’s tape on the adjacent walls, baseboard and ceiling. I do this to ensure that no paint gets on these walls as I roll the paint on the wall that will become the accent wall.

Prime walls with KILZ 2 Latex before painting with an accent color

If using a bold color of paint over white, first prime the walls with grey-tinted primer.

Tips on how to paint an accent wall in a room, use grey primer first.

I applied 2 coats, letting the first one dry before adding the second.

Let the second coat of primer dry and then roll on the accent color of paint. I needed 2 coats for full coverage.

Before and After Room Makeover. Navy-blue-accent-wall-in-bedroom

This room is very sunny making it a good room to add a bold color accent wall.


Have you ever painted an accent or focal wall in any of the rooms in your home? If so, what color did you use? If not, what color would you like to paint an accent wall in one or more of the rooms in your home?

KILZ Complete Coat®  can be purchased at Walmart & Amazon. To find out where you can buy KILZ® paint products:

Walmart Store Locator

Home Depot Store Locator

Budget decorating idea. Want to create impact in a room on a budget? How to paint-a bold color accent wall in an afternoon.

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  1. I especially love the masculine room! I am going to try this. Thankyou

  2. Excellent post. I was checkkng constantly this weblog and I’m impressed!
    Very helpful info specifically the closing part :) I take care of such info
    much. I was seeking this particular information for
    a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  3. I love the bold look of the blue. We are debating over in our new home which wall to pain with a bold teal. (This is how I found you. I’m a new reader!) I’m in a condo, our living room and dining room are connected. The back wall has a double window that looks out into a pond and fountain. I’m concerned that painting it teal will stop the eye and make the place look smaller. My thought instead is to paint a wall on the side of the room. (It would be one that doesn’t extend into the living room, if you can imagine that.) I seem to be in the minority. What do you think?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jessica – Any wall can become and accent wall. Every room is different. From your description though, I am not sure I completely understand the room’s layout. Could you send me a photo? To my email:

  4. Hi there!

    Beautiful and creative! I keep hearing that accent/feature walls are out (Jillian Harris), but I vote yes on accent walls for all the reasons you cited!

    Also, I love your updated ceiling fan! Will you be sharing where you found it? I’m not sure if you read/answer all the comments, but I hope you will share the source!

  5. Mobilya Modelleri says:

    Thanks for your share. I m following you all social platform. Mobilya modelleri konusunda fikirlerinizi duymak isterim

  6. Seems it just got a complete look.

  7. No focal point. If I do the wall I see from the doorway, it would be a wall with a single tall window. On the right side of the window is the rest of the wall and on the left of the window is the wall that is about half the width of the right side wall , if that makes sense. Would you still go with that wall or one wall that has no break in it?

    And your room looks lovely, as always. I’ve been trying to find those flannel sheets ever since I saw the initial setup.

  8. Julie @ Houzz Mag says:

    Stunning shape you have given to your room. Seems it just got a complete look.

  9. I painted my accent wall in my MBR a deep chocolate brown. It’s a rich color and goes with everything. I keep thinking it’s outdated but I still really love it. And I always match my Kleenex boxes in my bedroom. Weird thing but it has to match. My husband made fun of me because I traded out the Kleenex in a new Kleenex box and put them in the old Kleenex box because it was the right color. And that view out your guestroom is amazing! I think we should have sign-ups to try out your guestroom!

  10. Romeogirl says:

    What a beautiful and cozy room. Love the little lamps.

  11. I love the blue accent wall. We have a navy accent wall in one of our bedrooms and báthrooms with the other walls being bright white. I change the accessories from time to time – they are currently green in both rooms. We also have an accent wall in our family room – the color is called Tandoori Spice by Behr – looks like a terra-cotta flower pot. I have had nothing but compliments on the color for 12 years. The rest of the room is painted a light sand color, with an ivory Berber carpet and a light beige sectional. Navy accent chairs complete the look.
    Love your blog and really anxious for the pantry post.

  12. Clara@Model Home Improvement says:

    Wow! It’s like magic in your hand, truly awesome project. Thanks for sharing Diane.

  13. Aquafresh RO Customer Care says:

    I love paint. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. This post is very useful for me.

  14. Oh my gosh. Even the tissue box matches. Love it!

  15. Hi Dianne, if I had a view like yours I would never get anything done. How calming. Best wishes for a very happy New Year. Suzanne (Australia)
    PS Love ALL your work.

  16. Norma Rolader says:

    Absolutely beautiful and thank you for all the tips and info

  17. Marianne A. says:

    It really looks GREAT!! Love it!!

  18. Rebecca Wills says:

    I love the blue quilt you added to the bed. Where did you find it?

  19. Love that look! And I am sort of coveting that lamp!

  20. Michelle Hanson says:

    I LOVE PAINT!! As You have shown many times through Your blog and affiliate links PAINT is ones friend and can change a room in a relatively short period of time when prepped properly and the right products are used to execute.
    I am a paint freak, I am known to change out My colours on a regular basis…….This is something I share with My Sister who has been nick named MISS TINT for decades now……..She has so much paint that between Us we create colours and have a lot of fun revamping furniture pieces, rooms, and whatever We are working on at the time.
    We find it therapeutic, painting and rejuvenating something back to life!! Of late We have been creating Spool Clocks, and Vintage look trays as gifts and to sell. I will never tire of the magic of paint, like crafting and creating it has a power all own. Do not be afraid to try bold colours or even subtle colours paint is easy to cover with the correct products, like Kilz. Try the Ancient paints as well, Milk Paint is beautiful and has been around for centuries.
    Chalk paints have come along way and are very user friendly too.
    Give it a go You will be pleased with the time, energy, and effort invested once You see the results!!
    **Do the prep. work and You cannot go wrong.
    Enjoy the process and You’ll LOVE the results!!
    Thanks for sharing and HAPPY NEW YEAR LOVE!!
    Blessings from the North,
    xo Michelle

  21. Hello,
    My bedroom has 2 blue walls and the rest is white (bedspread, other walls, brick on the fireplace). In your case, the blue complements the tartan very well. You have the perfect cosy guest bedroom!
    In my case, I got inspired by a piece a fabric from Ikea containing orange, blue gray, beige, white and navy, to look for decorative elements. I should have thought of tartan! Maybe next time… One thing is sure: we never get tired of the blue. It’s the only room in the house that has a bold colour now.
    It’s always a pleasure to get news from your blog!

  22. I’ve never been a big fan of accent walls – but wow – this looks fantastic!

  23. Linda O'Neill says:

    I’ve not used the edger only the tape. I wasn’t happy with the tape. It seemed like either the paint went under the tape or when I pulled the tape away from the wall so did some of the new paint. Any suggestions for this. Also, does the edger give a really crisp edge or do you still have to do a bit of touch-up. Thanks for the help. And, like everyone else I love the accent color. I did something similar for a living room wall and hung pictures on that wall. It really popped.

    1. catpainter says:

      Paint will go under tape if you use a roller. Use a paintbrush next to the tape.

  24. laura janning says:

    i just love that color and the idea of a bold accent wall. the room is going to be amazing for any guest….like me one day!

  25. mary heicher says:

    Diane, I don’t have a head board for my bed. I’ve been shopping around for one but haven’t found anything I really want. What a wonderful idea for behind the bed and I can change it up whenever I feel like it . Thanks thanks thanks :)

  26. Thanks for the inspiration! I painted an accent wall in the family room of our former home a warm red. The other walls were a creamy off-white color. Even though the red wall didn’t get direct sunlight, it read very cozy and welcoming. I had kind of forgotten about that – I think I’ll be checking out some fun colors for an accent wall our current home!

  27. Marilyn Holeman says:

    i love it as an accent wall. It would be dreadful, in my opinion, if it were all the walls. I really like the plaid headboard and sheets, too. Nice job, as usual, Diane.

  28. Great job! Love the color combination and the genius way you did the head board on the wall.

  29. I like it! Ordinarily dark colors don’t suit me but yes, in this room with lots of natural light and beautiful white things to off-set the dark blue, it works very nicely.

    I saw a room where they painted the dark accent wall on the window wall which was not directly opposite the doorway, but the wall to the left of the entry. It REALLY reads dark because there was no light to reflect on it. So the lesson here might be, if you want a dark accent wall and but don’t want it to overwhelm the room, make sure it’s on a wall that will get enough natural light onto it. ;-)

    Diane, you have THE smartest and best truly small budget-friendly ideas.

  30. Mary Boger says:

    That turned out great!

  31. Linda L Weeks says:

    I have one wall in my bedroom of a navy blue…the rest are a sky blue…goes with the curtains which are toile with navy blue details..but since I used a glossy finish, it never quite set right. So I have been thinking of using a flat glaze over it, or doing something stencil-y … but first, I have to clean up the basement! I love your taste in colors and style, it always looks great!

  32. When I lived in my condo, I painted one accent wall in the bedroom – it was a mix between celadon and pea soup. It made the room looked really pulled together. And an accent wall in the kitchen – a lavender very similar to your logo. That was a fun pop of color that I totally enjoyed and when it came time to sell the condo, it was so easy to paint one wall white again.