By Jennifer Ebert published
From contemporary artwork and boldly painted walls to transfers and decorative plate collections, it’s clear that you should let your walls do the talking when it comes to living room wall accent ideas.
An accent wall in the living room is a great way to inject personality and a touch of modernity into a space. The key is to decorate a wall in a way that has meaning to you, whether that’s using a favorite hue as a backdrop to an impressive art collection or collating treasured ceramics for a 3D effect.
Living room accent wall ideas
Adding impact to your living room walls needn’t be confined to traditional methods. Instead, decorative murals, panels, artwork, paint and even ceramics are all ways to pack a punch with your living room ideas.
1. Add an accent wall with paint
Getting the right living room color scheme may seem difficult, but it needn't be. Paint one wall a different shade to change the mood of your room and inject personality. Go bold and choose a high-impact color to make a statement in the living room. A feature wall is easy to repaint when you fancy a change, so you can be brave with your color choice.
Even if you’re a lover of pale neutrals, adding an accent – or feature wall – will add depth to your color scheme. In a larger, open-plan living room, try painting a single wall to help define a smaller zone within the space.
2. Look up to the ceiling as an accent wall
All too often the ‘fifth wall’ is left untouched but it can be a great opportunity to incorporate color or pattern.
If your ceiling is high, use the lightest color in your scheme closest to the floor and the darkest shade on the ceiling to draw the eye upwards.
3. Make space for an impressive book collection
Books bring color and character to your home. Store them stylishly to enhance your living room accent wall.
One formal way of arranging books is the classic library approach, that is by genre – fiction, non-fiction, history, art and so on. It's probably one of the most popular ways to organize books in a domestic setting, explains Philip Blackwell, founder, Ultimate Library.
4. Invest in bespoke storage
Modern life requires that the main room of the home fulfil a multitude or functions, but living room storage doesn't have to be purely practical.
Bespoke cabinetry is brilliant for creating storage that is specifically tailored to your needs. Only display things that you find attractive to look at. Symmetry in interior design works its magic here. You can use units like this to showcase your favorite collectibles and vintage treasures.
5. Decorate with mirrors
Decorating with mirrors is easier to master than you may imagine. ‘We always recommend going for the largest mirror you can afford to make the most of every ray of light from your mirror’s reflection,' says Lucy St George of Rockett St George.
'Make sure you consider what will be shown in the reflection to extend the wow factor. The clever trick of the reflection means you’ll now have two of these features, so the bolder and more beautiful, the better.'
6. Create a feature wall with art
‘Size and proportion are important when it comes to wall art in general,’ advises interior designer Deborah Heath of Design By Deborah.
‘Ideally you would accessorize one wall, grouping items so that they work together and not as a random collection. Bold and extrovert wall accessories look great against a contemporary background. But a wall of vivid color would swamp a watercolour and an oil painting may look dark and imposing on small delicately patterned wallpaper. It’s matter of trial and error and personal taste.’
7. Install a bespoke wall mural
Through the accessibility of digital printing and the abundance of image libraries, having a design printed up into bespoke wallpaper or murals is now an affordable option.
If you are designing your own pattern, the success lies in the pattern repeat – ask the printers to provide a digital proof showing how your design would translate into paper before it goes to print.
8. Mix and match colors and styles
Try combining two different types of wallpapers in a room. Teaming a bold geographic with a simple print or ‘textured’ design can be very effective – as long as there is a linking element, usually in the color palette, to make sense of the marriage. Full wall designs in a monochromatic palette also work well, while brightly coloured designs will pop out, creating a bold statement.
9. Use textural wallpaper for added interest
Textural wallpapers are a great way to add a three dimensional element to modern interiors, knocking back the contemporary overload and creating a sympathetic backdrop for furniture.
Grass paper, available in a wide range of shades, is a perfect way to instil some eclectic glamor into a room.
When hung vertically you will always see the join, so ask your decorator to hang the rolls horizontally – it’s harder work, but the end result will be worth it.
10. Make your living room look expensive with wall panelling
‘Wall panelling is both attractive and versatile as a living room accent wall,' says Graham Kett, Director, Finepanel.co.uk. 'It can be elegant, atmospheric or utilitarian depending on its style, height, location and finish.'
'Try paneling a living room wall before painting it to add focus, style and character to a scheme. The latest modular panels can be trimmed and primed to fit any wall and are quick and easy to install, creating a striking look at an affordable price.’
How do you decorate a living room with an accent wall?
When it comes to decorating a living room with an accent wall, interior designer Deborah Heath of Design By Deborah suggests grouping pictures, mirrors or photographs together, but think outside the box too.
‘Try hanging plates, hats, ceramics and memorabilia such as old sports equipment or collections of precious items that can be easily attached to a vertical surface. A display like this can also be updated regularly and more easily than undertaking complete redecoration.’
There’s a trend for increasingly textured walls too. As well as polished concrete surfaces, moulded plaster panels in a variety of shapes and patterns are also making an appearance. They look effective when lit subtly from different directions and work well in contemporary settings.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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