According to Wikipedia: An accent wall (or feature wall) is a wall whose design differs from the design of the other walls in the room. The accent wall's color can simply be a different shade from the color of the other walls, or have a completely different design in terms of the color and material. The surface of the accent wall can be paint, wallpaper, brick, marble etc. As their name implies, accent walls are typically intended to break up the pattern created by the other walls, especially when the walls are painted a single flat tone.
However, a room may be wallpapered and have an accent wall that is not textured and not decorated, as it would serve the same purpose. The point of this can be for aesthetics alone or to highlight or frame some decorative element, such as a painting.
Here are some tips for executing an accent wall in a room:
How to select the accent wall:
Look for a wall with a focal point - the fireplace wall, the wall where the bed will go, the wall at the end of a hallway or a wall in a formal entry with a furniture arrangement such as a table or bench.
Look for a wall within eyesight when you are in an adjacent room. The color will perform double duty if you can also see it from other rooms.
Sense where the main "backdrop" wall is. Typically, it's the wall that frames the room's furniture arrangement. This wall is typically the first wall you see when you enter a space. (Try walking around your house, entering each room with a new set of eyes. Which wall is the anchor?
Which wall do you see first? Which wall do you see from other rooms?)
Color tips for rooms with an accent wall:
No matter the space, accent walls are best achieved where all the walls are painted. Don't leave the other walls plain white.
Option #1: For the accent wall, choose a dark or bold color. For the other walls, choose a light to medium neutral color. The dark or bold accent color should relate to the neutral color of the other walls. For example, if you are painting the accent wall a muted mossy green, the neutral should have a cool undertone, not a warm undertone. When choosing your neutral, try to stay near the middle of a color chip. If you go too light, it may not look like you painted. Ivory is not an option for the neutral color. Think in terms of tan and beige, not crème and off white.
Option #2: For the accent wall, choose a dark or bold color. For the other walls, choose a variation of that dark or bold color. For example, if you choose a deep purple for the accent wall, look for muted lavender for the other walls. When choosing the color for the other walls, don't go too light (again, it’s pretty safe to stay towards the middle of a paint chip). The contrast will be too bold and the room will look choppy if the colors are too drastic. The contrast should take the middle road.
How to execute a room with an accent wall:
You have to be sure that every other element in your room coordinates, but isn't "matchy-matchy". Supporting elements should carry out the accent color's hue and value. If there is no thought of coordination and balance of color throughout the room, your accent wall will look like floating, unrelated color. Think about coordinating pillows, upholstery fabric, drapery, and a rug that pulls the color together.
If possible, try to find these items before you buy the final accent wall color. Trying to find retail accessories and home goods to coordinate with that very specific shade of Robin Egg Blue you selected will prove to be a nightmare. Again, this goes back to a color's undertone. Color matching paint value to a shade from your rug or drapery fabric is easy. It's nearly impossible when it's the other way around.
Try putting a flower arrangement in your accent color somewhere else in the room. Look for something with lots of little blooms on long stems that arc softly downward (I have seen these in nearly every color). Stay away from expected arrangements that can look dated. If you are using a dark neutral or an earthy color for your accent wall, do a willowy twig or grass arrangement. Flowers and natural grasses are a great way to mix that accent color around.
Which room in your home is just perfect for an accent wall?