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Paint an Accent Wall in an Afternoon

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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 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.