A fresh coat of paint can add a totally new vibe to a room. And if you’re looking to give your space a facelift, it can be fun to try out a bold wall color. But sometimes those bold colors are a little too much for a whole room. When that’s the case, it’s worth considering painting an accent wall!
Accent walls are fun and add dimension and depth to a space—not to mention they’re easier to do than painting a whole room! And remember: just because you’re only painting one wall doesn’t mean the color won’t have an impact on the space! They can actually create a really impactful focal point in a room.
But choosing a color for your accent wall? That’s where things can start to get tricky. When it comes to accent wall ideas, should you go for a lighter or darker accent? Something more subtle or totally bold? Are you testing out a color before committing? Which wall in your space is the best option for an accent wall? The questions are endless. Luckily, we’ve got answers!
Today, we’re covering all the FAQs on accent wall colors and sharing our opinions on the best colors for accent walls. We’ll also offer some specific paint color recommendations! Read on for our designers’ best accent wall design ideas.
What colors are popular for accent walls?
There are definitely color families that people gravitate toward more when it comes to accent wall colors—but really, any color can be an accent wall color, as long as it has enough contrast. However, popular accent wall colors tend to be highly saturated but stay within the neutral camp. So, you’ll find a lot of blues, greens, even blacks in accent walls. Colors that are bold but not too loud are generally most popular.
Should accent walls be darker or lighter?
Do you love a straightforward answer? Here you go: accent walls should be darker than the surrounding walls. You want to create contrast and define a focal point in the room, and the way to do that is with a color that’s noticeably darker. If your accent wall color is too similar to the rest of your walls, it honestly might just look like you ran out of paint halfway through your project! So, if you have beige walls, you wouldn’t want to do an off-white accent wall, but rather a deep color, like a navy blue! (More on our suggested accent wall colors in just a minute!) Check out our round-up of neutral paint colors to get ideas on the main wall color to use alongside your accent wall color!
Are accent walls outdated?
Nope! In fact, they can be timeless if done right. The important thing to remember is that not every room in your home needs an accent wall. Strategically placing them is what will give them a more timeless look. If you’re not quite sure if an accent wall is right for your space, you can always try an accent wall in a Modsy 3D design of your room! You can also simply pick a color you like, and if the accent wall isn’t for you, just paint the whole room that color!
Black Satin by Benjamin Moore
Black Accent Walls
Let’s start with something super bold! You’re probably thinking—black? Really? While most people would never paint a full room black, it’s one of our favorite colors for accent walls. A black accent wall adds so much contrast to a space and can bring a flat design to life.
For those who prefer a neutral color palette, black is a great way to punch up a space without adding color. You can also soften a black accent wall with plants and natural textures, as we did in the room above with the leather sofa and plush wool rug.
Our Favorite Black Paint Colors for Accent Walls
Dark & Bold: Black Satin, Benjamin Moore
For something dark and bold, we love Black Satin. It’s a deep, rich satiny black. This tone adds a ton of bold contrast that can go with many styles and color palettes.
Charcoal Black: Wrought Iron, Benjamin Moore
For a more muted black paint—one that’s almost more of a charcoal—we love Wrought Iron. It has gray and blue undertones, which softens it up quite a bit. This is a great choice if you love the look of black accent walls but are scared to commit to something so bold! (This also happens to be one of the most popular Benjamin Moore paint colors.)
Gentleman’s Gray by Sherwin-Williams
Gray Accent Walls
If black is too intense, take a step back and go for a gray accent wall. Gray is softer and more subdued but still packs a punch, giving your room plenty of contrast and dimension.
While many gray tones lean on the cooler side of the color spectrum, you can definitely find shades with warmer undertones. Opt for whichever would offset the other colors in your space. (So, if you have warm wood floors, choose a cooler gray for your accent wall!)
Just be sure that the shade of gray you choose is dark enough to pop against the rest of your room’s paint color. And be sure the undertone of your gray matches the undertone of your other walls. (Your Modsy designer, or a paint specialist at a hardware store, can help with this!)
Our Favorite Gray Paint Colors for Accent Walls
Dark & Bold: Railings, Farrow & Ball
For a gray that’s more dark and bold, opt for Railings by Farrow & Ball. This is a deep gray with blue (almost teal) undertones—meaning it’s a cool tone (rather than a warm tone). It looks great with other cool colors and is a great alternative to black!
Midtone Blue-Gray: Wall Street, Sherwin-Williams
For a mid-tone, medium gray, we love Sherwin-Williams’ Wall Street. This blue-gray color has cool undertones and looks amazing in modern and contemporary spaces. This is definitely a softer accent wall color, so try painting it on a larger wall to ensure it makes enough of an impact in your space!
Dark Blue-Gray: Gentleman’s Gray, Sherwin-Williams
Can’t decide between a gray or blue accent wall? Try Gentleman’s Gray by Sherwin-Williams. It’s the perfect in-between shade that looks dark blue in some lights and dark gray in others. The other colors in your space will also impact which way the tone of this paint leans. Gentleman’s Gray is great for a bold look that is cooler without being too neutral.
Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore
Blue Accent Walls
Blue is one of the most popular accent wall colors. It’s actually one of the most popular accent colors in interior design in general! Why? Blue is a chameleon that’s able to act as both a pop of color and a neutral. (Because of this, the term “bluetral” was coined!)
Blue, in paint and decor, offers the best of both worlds—a bold color and a safe bet at the same time. That said, there are many shades of blue paint to choose from—from dark, stately navys to bright aquamarines. What you chose is simply up to you.
Our Favorite Blue Paint Colors for Accent Walls
Dark & Bold: Naval, Sherwin-Williams
Naval is a shade of blue that’s both approachable and bold. While it leans closer to navy, it’s a bit brighter and more vibrant, with slight charcoal undertones. A stately color, it looks great in traditional and classic spaces.
Blue-Green: Aegean Teal, Benjamin Moore
A blend of blue-green and gray, Aegean Teal is a medium-tone teal that leans more cool on the color spectrum. It’s a more subdued take on teal that’s close to a robin’s egg blue. It offers a cool and relaxing vibe to any space. And did you know that Aegean Teal was Benjamin Moore’s 2021 color of the year?
Light & Powdery: Breath of Fresh Air, Benjamin Moore
If you love powdery blues, you have to try Breath of Fresh Air by Benjamin Moore. This pale blue is almost a pastel, but on a wall it proves to be more vibrant. It’s from Benjamin Moore’s Classic Collection and is a very versatile shade of light blue. It would look great in a kids room or breezeway! Just note—this is about as light of a shade as we’d recommend for an accent wall color. And, in terms of accent wall color combinations, you’ll want to make sure your other walls are a crisp white for the maximum amount of contrast!
Rocky River by Sherwin-Williams
Green Accent Walls
Green is another “colorful neutral” that can add a lot of life to your space without being too visually loud. And, since it’s an earth tone, it’s a safe bet if you’re worried about going too bold!
Green accent walls are a great choice for nature lovers, as green is a color that can feel very serene. Like blue, there are so many shades of green out there—from those that skew blue to shades of green with more yellow-ish undertones.
Our Favorite Green Paint Colors for Accent Walls
Dark & Bold: Salamander, Benjamin Moore
Salamander is a dark green with inky black undertones. It leans more neutral and is a beautifully subtle shade of green. A very sophisticated and deep color, it’s great for spaces rich with natural materials.
Gray-Green: Rocky River, Sherwin-Williams
A true mid-tone green with grey undertones, Rocky River offers the perfect blend of neutral and pop of color. Because of this, it’s great for those who want an accent wall featuring a deep neutral that adds just a little splash of color.
Bright Mossy Green: Courtyard Green, Benjamin Moore
If you want a bright accent wall that makes a bit more of a color statement, try Courtyard Green. This is a timeless green with yellow undertones that has a cheerful spring-time feel. Bold but traditional, this shade of green goes well with other bright colors.
Honeycomb by Sherwin-Williams
Orange Accent Walls
Orange is a more adventurous color for an accent wall—but it’s also a color that can look really rich as an accent wall color. Since it’s a warmer color, it can feel more intense in a space. Because of this, we recommend it for rooms where you want to feel energized, like a dining room, kitchen, or hallways.
Our Favorite Orange Paint Colors for Accent Walls
Spicy Rust Orange: Charlotte’s Locks, Farrow & Ball
Charlotte’s Locks by Farrow & Ball is a flaming orange. Deep and dramatic, this bold, true orange will add a loud pop of color to any space—making it a great choice for a feature wall.
Rich Yellow-Orange: Honeycomb, Sherwin-Williams
Honeycomb is an energetic, radiant hue. It’s a cheerful blend of yellow and orange—striking the perfect balance between these two colors while also being very earthy. However, depending on the lighting it can lean more yellow—so be sure to consider how bright your room gets! If you want a true orange, this might be too light for your preferences.
Earthy Orange: Autumn Orange, Benjamin Moore
Inspired by fall leaves and pumpkins, Autumn Orange is a very organic earthy orange tone. (The perfect shade of orange if you love fall!) It’s deep and rich but full of light and brightness, making it a favorite pick for those looking for the cozy orange glow of fall in their home year-round. Since it’s a more earthy take on orange, it doesn’t have the brightness and energizing nature of other shades of orange, which makes it more approachable.
Sandbank by Sherwin-Williams
Pink Accent Walls
Don’t count pink out as a great option for accent wall colors! Pink is far from one-dimensional and there are a ton of great shades to choose from. Since pink is generally more of a subtle color, it can add warm and cozy vibes to your space. We recommend choosing a shade with an earthier undertone rather than a super bright, saturated pink to keep it from feeling too intense.
Our Favorite Pink Paint Colors for Accent Walls
Dusty Rose: Cinder Rose, Farrow & Ball
Cinder Rose is a romantic shade of dusty rose pink. It leans more neutral than warm and is a very classic color. Because of this, it’s an accent wall color that can work in almost any space, lending soft sophistication to any room it’s in.
Bold & Hot: Gala Pink, Sherwin-Williams
Gala Pink is a deep raspberry pink that’s very saturated and exotic. Yet, it’s not too bold and bright! When considering your accent wall color combinations, just know that shade of pink looks beautiful with crisp white walls and a room filled with other jewel tones.
Mauve Pink: Sandbank, Sherwin-Williams
Sandbank is an earthy take on a classic bubblegum pink that is cheerful and fun while also being subdued. With warm, neutral vibes, it feels sophisticated and elevated and layers beautifully with other shades of pink.
Good as Gold by Clare
Yellow Accent Walls
If you like the idea of making your space feel bright and cheery with an accent wall, try on yellow for size. Yellow is a warm color that doesn’t feel as intense as red or orange can.
Just be sure to skip super bright yellows and opt for either a lighter hue or a more saturated, earthy one. This will offer the best contrast while also making sure you stay away from the highlighter yellow zone!
Our Favorite Yellow Paint Colors for Accent Walls
Pale-but-Beautiful: Dayroom Yellow, Farrow & Ball
Dayroom Yellow is a classic pale yellow. It can lean almost neutral, but there’s a definite bright gaze to this shade which adds just enough color to make your accent wall pop! It works well with other neutral walls, like beige, tan, and off-white. Since this is a lighter color, just make sure there’s enough contrast with your other paint color!
Earthy Yellow: Good as Gold, Clare
We love a good subdued mustard yellow color—and Good as Gold definitely fits the bill. This shade of yellow is cheery and bright but is still muted enough for a room with a neutral color palette. Since it’s almost gold, it looks great in both glam and global-eclectic spaces.
Want to try on an accent wall color in your space before you paint?