The RIGHT Wall to Paint An Accent Color

I previously shared the entry and living room of this recent project in a traditional suburban neighborhood.  Now I’m revealing how we transformed the dining room of this home and how we chose the perfect accent wall for this space.

Melanie G Photography

 

This room started out as a front parlor that held the family’s piano and everything else that had no real home.  As you entered the front door, this was the first room you saw.  The paint was white on white.  On white. 

Dining Room Before

 

We decided to move the piano to the dining room on the opposite side of the hall and making that room the family’s music room.   The dining room then moved into the hodge-podge room that previously held the piano.  The new music room was the perfect place to gather all the family’s musical instruments and to hang a gallery of family photographs.  My client had found a gilded antique settee at the Nashville Flea Market, but wasn’t sure what to do with its stained upholstery.  It sat in the front parlor, as well.

 Gilded Settee Before

 

A local upholsterer covered it in gauzy fabric and ruffles, and we moved it into the adjoining living room.  You can see more of this room in this post.

Gilded Settee After

 

Ok, back to the dining room.  Here again is the “before” of the room, taken from the front entry.  As a Nashville Paint Color Consultant, I find that many people want to have a colorful accent wall, mainly because they are afraid to paint the entire room in their choice of color.  So, they paint three of the walls a neutral color and paint one wall their chosen accent color.  So in this room, which wall would you choose to paint an accent color?

Before

 

Did you guess which wall I picked to accent?  Ok, it’s not technically a wall – it’s the ceiling.

nashville designer dining room

Shabby Coastal Dining Room by The Decorologist, Melanie G Photography

 

It’s a much prettier view from the entry now.  The wall color in the entry is the same as the dining room, and the room beyond is a lighter version of the blue we painted on the ceiling of the dining room.  This creates a good flow of the color palette throughout the space, without making it look choppy.  You can see the makeover of the entry in this post.

blue designer room

 Melanie G Photography

 

Here’s a view from the other side of the dining room through to the entry and across the way into the new music room. The mismatched dining chairs keep the look informal and fun, while complementing the established color palette.

mismatched dining chairs

Dining Room by The Decorologist

 

From the adjoining living room, this is what you used to see before the makeover:  not much interest or color even though the homeowner had some really lovely furniture pieces.

View from Living Room Before

 

Now, the turquoise paint color on the ceiling positively glows.  The ceiling is the PERFECT accent wall, evenly distributing the accent color throughout the entire space. 

turquoise blue ceiling

The Decorologist, Melanie G Photography

 

This works so well because the walls in the dining room were left a soothing neutral color, allowing the ceiling to take center stage.

Nashville designer Kristie Barnett

Benjamin Moore’s Thunderbird 675

 

I also painted Benjamin Moore Thunderbird on the entire corner cabinet, leaving it in the interior but applying a layer of white over the exterior before roughing it up with a hand sander.  Notice the color in the adjoining living room is a washed- down version of the ceiling color painted in the dining room.

mismatched dining chairs

 The Decorologist, Melanie G Photography

 

Most of the accessories and art are some lighter or darker version of greeny-blue, which makes everything look calm and peaceful.

Melanie G Photography 

So what’s the take-away here? Quit looking around for the right wall to accent, and look UP for a change.  Maybe it’s just the perfect accent wall for the room!  Do you think I chose the right accent wall?

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Dianne Tant
Guest
Dianne Tant

Kristie: who hangs and wires all your chandeliers?
LOVE these room makeovers..

Eileen
Guest
Eileen

The whole space is gorgeous. I especially love the settee makeover.

sandra
Guest

Love the after shots!! Who would have thought about the ceiling being “THE” perfect way to keep all together with the color!
Thanks for the tip and pictures to help all of us who isn’t sure about decisions as this.
Lovely home and just my style.great job!!

Susanne
Guest
Susanne

It’s great! No, I did not pick the “correct” accent wall, but wow what an impact. I love the way you created a homey environment with sort of a minimalist approach. I’m a big fan of that sort of styling. Aside from ease of maintaining, less is often more and does add to a more tranquil feel. You are my favorite desighner. Your clients are so lucky to have you!

Teresa Tullio
Guest

Kristie this is a perfectl example of a balanced color plan. The ceiling is so often forgotten but you tied the colors brilliantly, Love it!

Nicole
Guest
Nicole

Wow! What a lovely transformation! Patiently waiting for your e-book or class … 🙂

Donna Frasca
Guest

The 5th wall! Love it 🙂

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

I was blown away when I saw that ceiling color. It makes such a difference and works so well with the other room. I’m wondering if you have to talk your clients into using blue. A lot of people don’t like shades of blue, but maybe it’s different in your neck of the woods.
PS. I would love to take a color class from you.

Paula Van Hoogen
Guest
Paula Van Hoogen

I’ve been thinking about why this and other wonderful ceilings you’ve done make the rooms “feel” so good….It struck me that it is not unlike the feel that a tent or a tented room (middle -eastern style)
gives— so enveloping and comforting, somehow. You just have a wonderful gift, Kristie for making a house into a HOME. Sure hope we have lots of clear days this winter –just in case I need to drive to Nashville & take one of your courses!!! It’s snowing now in Highlands……

sherry
Guest
sherry

Nope, I didn’t pick the right wall. I love it. The room is soothing in all that wonderful color.
What does painting the ceiling do to the feel of a room with 8 foot ceilings? Will it bring the ceiling down or make it feel more open? It looks like you were working with 10footers. thanks.

kelly
Guest

Perfect Kristie! You are so smart! Using a color on the ceiling to tie in the rooms- genius girlfriend! Looks so much prettier in the room with the table and chairs too. Great job!

Ruth Buffington
Guest
Ruth Buffington

I painted the ceiling in my dining room the same color! It’s called beach glass I think. I love it! The walls are gray though. I could never live with white walls. But that’s just me. Love your designs Kristie!

Kelly R.
Guest

The turquoise ceiling looks great, and shows excellent restraint. I think a lot of designers would have been tempted to undertake a more radical transformation of color on the walls, rather than making a more isolated change with big time impact. So pretty. Well done!

Melissa
Guest

The dining room looks wonderful! My 8 foot slightly textured ceilings (thank goodness no popcorn, though) wouldn’t really make a great accent wall but this house is just perfect for it.

Michelle@Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust
Guest

How beautiful. I’ve never had the courage to paint ceilings the way you do {pass the flat white, please!}. It’s impressive.

Warmly, Michelle

Kelly @ JAX does design
Guest

You TOTALLY chose the right accent wall! I LOVE colourful ceilings – so much more interesting than a typical white ceiling. And the colour you used is so beautiful 🙂 Great idea to use a lighter version of the ceiling colour in the adjoining room to tie the spaces together. And on a different not – the reupholstered setee looks amazing!

This is such a pretty & elegant home, but with lots of elements (like the mismatched dining chairs) that make it cozy and fun too 🙂

Lee
Guest

I want to see the music room! (being a musician and all, that’s what piqued my interest in this post!)

Sarah @ Redesigning Sarah
Guest

What a great accent wall! Love how it is all pulled together with the adjancent rooms and the settee is so pretty!! Awesome job!

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[…]  since the writing of this article, I posted  The Right Wall to Paint an Accent Color and  Accent Wall Alert – Don’t Make This Mistake!  Make sure you check them […]

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[…] painting the ceiling a real color besides white, even though a color on the ceiling works well the dining room I shared on Monday and in this […]

Sam
Guest
Sam

I've always loved the idea of having an accent wall, and that's what I plan on doing in my bedroom. The wall I wanted to do is the wall my bed is on, but reading your article where you said "let your architecture be your guide" has me thinking I should pain the wall my giant window is on. The window takes up about the whole wall leaving 2.5' on either side, of course with a top and bottom that would get painted as well. So which wall do I paint?!

Chez
Guest
Chez

Love this house and your work! I want to paint my 8′ ceiling turquoise but am worried it will make the ceiling feel even lower. Do you have any pics that show painted 8′ ceilings to help me envision the outcome? I am thinking eggshell for the ceiling with flat paint on the neutral tan walls? Maria Killam wrote on her blog that paint looks darker on a ceiling while you mentioned paint looks lighter on ceilings- so I am confused on which shade of color to pick. Thanks for your help!

Chez
Guest
Chez

Thanks so much for the response. I thought I saw an eggshell sheen on the thunderbird DR ceiling above? Our living room is dark and kind of small at 18′ x 15′. Is that too big for an aqua ceiling (either thunderbird or beach glass). I thought an eggshell finish might reflect some needed light- or bad idea?

kim L.
Guest
kim L.

Hi Kristie! trying again I hit publish before I was ready. Kristie, our living room / entrance is an L shape. bottom right hand corner of the L short side is the entrance. To the left of that is a picture windowabout 1/2 as big as the wall spans. About nine tenths as big as the wall spans, which makes no sense,there is a giant wooden window treatment with no curtains covering the picture window, the walls and we are unable to remove it because we are renters. This of course makes this awful wall the dominant wall.if this giant… Read more »

kim L.
Guest
kim L.

P.s. I am limited to my mobile phone I am so sorry for all of the typos hoping you can make it out!

kim L.
Guest
kim L.

Christy I forgot to mention every wall in this front part of the house is white currently….

Courtenay
Guest
Courtenay

I came across this site when searching for ideas on painting a ceiling turquoise. I love what you’ve done, could you please tell me the wall colour that you went with?

Dawn
Guest
Dawn

Should the non-accent walls always be a neutral warm color? My daughter wants to paint her bedroom wall that anchors her bed in a cool, dark teal color (Cil taking the plunge) and the other walls a light cool blue (Cil sky high blue) her room is 10*12 and has a good size window facing west.

Kristina K.
Guest
Kristina K.

I just love how you chose the ceiling in this room! So beautiful. I have a question that I would like your advice on…we have a living room, dining room that are connected by an archway. I want to do an accent color in my dining room, to liven it up, right now it is a very neutral beige, which is also in the living room. I am having a problem with picking a color for the accent wall because I have a beautiful maroon/red arched couch which is a very dominant color-that is in my living room. Because these… Read more »

jeanette
Guest
jeanette

Hi, i have a living/dining room combo. As you walk in my front door you can see a portion of a back wall of my living room that has a french door and a set of windows. I have curtains on both sides of these about the color of your ceiling picture. I have a beachy theme going. I would like to add an accent wall to this big combo area. Would painting the ceiling this color be a good idea for this area or should i paint the french door wall? Any suggestions would be so appreciated. Thanks!

Nerissa
Guest
Nerissa

What is paint color for the walls with this aqua ceiling? I absolutely love it!

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[…] image via thedecorologist.com […]

Katie
Guest
Katie

Do you think purple walls with a gray accent wall would work well? I know purple and gray go well together. My problem is I can’t figure out which one wall would be best for me to paint gray. I’ve heard it’s best to accent the wall that your bed is against, but my bed is also against the window wall, and I will be having gray/white curtains. I have 2 other walls for an option, one that has my Tv on it and the other one is bare (for now) and possibly the longest wall in my bedroom. It… Read more »

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

Love the thunderbird ceiling!!! I would like to know what color was used on the walls

Toni-Ann Bligh
Guest
Toni-Ann Bligh

Hi! I love the ceiling as an accent wall and I love the color you chose. I’m changing the decor of my house to a shabby chic cottage look and thinking of doing this. What color white did you do on the walls! Thanks for your help!
Toni-Ann

Ramonya Anderson
Guest
Ramonya Anderson

Hi! I love your posts. Could you please tell me what you think about my idea for an accent wall. My dining room is 10’6″ X 9’6″ with no doors and 2 large windows, almost floor to ceiling, on the wall opposite the entrance. It also has 5 inch base boards and crown molding. I want to do a navy accent wall with gold and cream accents to go with my wood dining table and buffet. Is the wall with the windows a good idea for the accent wall? I’m skeptical because there technically isn’t much “wall” on that wall.… Read more »

Julie
Guest
Julie

Amy chance of finding out what color you used on the walls? I’m having a tough time trying to find a color that works so well with the cyan… I could use your help.

Jill
Guest
Jill

Love the color choices. I know this post is a few years old, but please tell us the color and company you used on the walls! Thank you!!

Jas
Guest
Jas

Hello, also interested to know the wall color! Beautiful work! Thank you!

Marine
Guest
Marine

Hello, First, I want to say that I am not afraid of painting all the walls with color. I had a red living room for years and loved it. But now, I am in a limbo. We have an adjoining dining room and living room, separated by just the rest of beam with moldings. My husband wants light but he is not against color. Our furniture is very much like a Ralph Lauren type of room with old leather chairs and such, lots of brown, gold, green, red, warm colors with warm undertones. We have lots of antique furniture and… Read more »

Terri
Guest
Terri

Love it! I have a D/R i want to repaint. Bottom half is wallpapered with a flowered print with a warm yellow background. Upper walls are same warm yellow as in wallpaper. I am wanting to go bold with a darker color pulled from the wallpaper. Will I regret this? Should I just paint one or two walls the darker color? and if so, which walls? the room is rectangular. Short walls have either an open doorway in center or full set of windows (front of house). Longer walls have either an open doorway (from hallway) or a normal width… Read more »

Laura
Guest
Laura

I know this is an old post but… I’m repainting my bedroom and I’m thinking of using BM Aplomb with BM linen white. The room is 11.5×11.5×7.5 with windows on the back and left walls and a 6′ long closet on the right side. I currently have the headboad lined up over the window on the left so I’m not sure about using that wall as an accent since the window would break up the color right in the middle of my (open, wrought iron) headboard. Do you think this room is too small/low to paint the ceiling? Or is… Read more »

Barb
Guest
Barb

Hello
Love the colour scheme you chose! Could you let me know the colour of the walls.
Would you accent a wall in a med to light grey that has a fireplace, window and a sliding glass door on it with the rest of the room walls a light neutral colour like the one you chose. I have one full wall with white built ins.

Marcie
Guest
Marcie

I need some serious advice! Please help I am in need of color, an accent wall. My living room is so depressing. I have chosen an aqua blue but not even sure if that’s the best match for my living room or which wall to paint if not more than one??? Any suggestions

Cassandra
Guest
Cassandra

Hi there! I can see that your trim in the dining room is white, but are your walls or are they another neutral? They look like a very light grey but cannot tell! thank you!