9 Easy Accent Wall Ideas That Are Affordable

March 26, 2024

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Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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I have several easy accent wall ideas to share with you today, most of which I have implemented in my own home. Accent walls are a great way to showcase your personality and create a dramatic, stunning look in your home.

Accent walls aren’t going away anytime soon. They are here to stay and keep getting bigger and better! If you’ve followed my blog for some time, you know I love to create accent walls.

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Want to add texture, color and even make a space look bigger? These inexpensive accent wall ideas will elevate any room to the next level.

What is an Accent Wall?

Let’s start by answering the most important question….what is an accent wall?

An accent wall is a single wall that draws your attention to it, when you walk in the room. It’s the focal point of a room. It stands out and adds an extra design element to a space. In other words, it makes a bold statement!

An accent wall can be something so simple as a bold or complementing paint color. Such as a black accent wall. But the most dramatic accent wall (also called a “feature wall”) is one that adds a new texture or architectural element to the space.

Materials Used for Easy Accent Walls

The sky is the limit on what to use for an easy DIY accent wall:

  • brick
  • MDF
  • wood
  • wood paneling
  • wallpaper
  • artwork
  • moulding/trim
  • shiplap
  • tile
  • natural or faux stone

As mentioned before, something so simple as just painting a wall a different color can result in a stunning effect. I’ve even seen people create an accent wall using a sharpie to draw different shapes or designs.

Recently, I saw an accent wall on HGTV that I absolutely fell in love with. Jenn Todryk, from “No Demo Reno”, created a library wall flanking both sides of a set of large picture windows.

I love how she positioned the books, displaying the pages rather than the spines. This creates a very uniform, not too overwhelming, contrast to that bold green color. The books become the wall feature! What a brilliant and easy way to create an accent wall…..

Book shelves flanking large picture windows as part of the easy accent wall ideas

Photo Credit: Realtor.Com

My Favorite Easy Accent Wall Ideas

With so many different accent wall ideas to choose from, it was really hard for me to narrow down my favorite. Or should I say, favoriteS. Below are some that I have used in my own home and have shared in corresponding blog posts.

Along with how I achieved each of these looks….

DIY Wood Slat Accent Wall

My most recent of all my easy accent wall ideas, is this wood slat accent wall I created in my kitchen.

For this wall, I simply painted the accent wall the same color as the adjoining walls and then attached sanded plywood cut into strips and stained with Golden Oak Stain.

I love the warm tones it brings in and how it breaks up the space in my all white walls kitchen….

Part of the easy accent wall ideas--a slatted wall; stained Golden Oak

Mid Century Modern Accent Wall

Of all the easy DIY accent wall ideas I have tried, this one is my favorite! After living in our home for 13 years, I finally decided to create a primary bedroom that we look forward to retreating to at night.

With that, came a new bed that I designed and built (you can find the plans on how to build this modern bed, here)…. Our new bed has a bit of a lower headboard, so the bold accent wall behind it is a perfect addition to the room.

I purposely designed this wall to be a backdrop to the headboard. Rather than extending the geometric design out across the entire wall. This way it becomes the perfect backdrop for the bed and makes it more of a focal point.

This accent wall was an easy one to create. This time I painted the wall a moody green color. (Sherwin Williams Shade Grown) Then I cut 1×2’s to fit the space and alternated them…starting with the floor, then ceiling and then back to the floor and so on.

Once all of the boards were attached, I painted them to match the wall color. I love this monochromatic look. It ties in perfectly with the organic modern vibe of our bedroom….

Slatted bedroom wall with green paint

Square Board and Batten Feature Wall

This next great accent wall was the most fun one to complete! Our staircase going down to our basement is a small space. Therefore, I wanted to make a big impact.

Using geometric shapes not only adds visual interest, but also brings a sense of balance and texture to the space.

Math is not my strong suit, so I have to admit, it was a bit intimidating taking on this one! But, as it turned out, the little bit of math that was needed was super easy. After laying out the design I wanted with painter’s tape. (I’m a visual person and have to see it)…

Square board and batten grid with blue painters tape to achieve one of the easy accent wall ideas

I moved onto cutting my MDF boards to the sizes I needed and attached them in the pattern I had drawn out.

Once again, painting the wall first is key and then add your boards and paint again. This easy first step makes this project a whole lot easier.

I love how the 3D geometric design adds dimension to what used to be a boring stairwell to our basement. Adding this simple geometric accent wall feature truly elevated this space!

Full view of staircase as part of the easy accent wall ideas

Classic Board and Batten Design

Nothing screams “timeless” like this classic board and batten design. I could literally add this to every wall of my home and be done. I love the look of board and batten and feel like it adds so much character to a space.

Over the years, I have added this to several of my walls and it never gets old. I love it!!

And now you might be saying to yourself, “But wait, I thought you said accent walls should only be added to one wall in the room?”  Yes, I did, but as with most things in life, there are some exceptions and board and batten is one of those exceptions.

Board and batten is a very subtle accent. It truly complements a space and could literally be carried throughout an entire house.

My favorite material to use for board and batten is MDF. I love how much cheaper it is and it’s easy to work with. When choosing a pattern for my board and batten wall, the classic look is my favorite.

Simply, place a header on the top and attach your battens below. The space between each batten is personal preference. I like to space mine 8 inches apart. When choosing the paint color for your board and batten wall, have fun with it. Think outside the box.

I love black accent walls and chose a black board and batten accent wall for my family and dining room….

One of the easy accent wall ideas-black board and batten

In a recent remodel I did on my parent’s laundry room, I decided to run the battens higher up the wall. This look is a great option for a smaller room. And makes the space feel larger.

Laundry room with black washer and dryer with a shelf above it and decor

In the hallway separating my dining area and living room, I painted the board and batten white. I love the combination of classic board and batten with this vertical slatted wood look.

Sticking with the board and batten look, but changing it up with different designs, breaks up the space well and adds another design element….

Board and batten in black and slatted wall in white

Shiplap, Of Course!

Ahhhh, shiplap! The wall feature that interior designers have been saying is on its way out for several years now. But yet, here it is…still holding on.

In reality, shiplap is an evergreen accent wall feature. It has been around since the Vikings built their ships; 1700+ years ago. That’s a long time! They would use it to create a watertight seal on the sides of their ships.

Eventually it made its way to exterior siding material for barns and sheds and then found its way indoors.

While it’s not the big craze that it once was, (enter Chip and Joanna :)  ) it’s still a timeless accent wall with a lot of traction. But wait, before you give shiplap the boot, may I suggest a much more modern shiplap technique?

By simply, stretching the horizontal wood slats across the span of your wall, with no breaks, you’ll achieve a very modern shiplap look.

For example, as you can see in my entryway picture below, I used one board to go from one side of the wall to the other side. This gives a seamless, straight-line modern look….

Black shiplap wall with console table and decor in front of it

I really prefer this sleek look over breaks in the board across the wall. It’s amazing how this simple change will update shiplap from a farmhouse to a modern look instead. And painting it black adds an even more defined contemporary affect…

Dog sitting in front of floating shelves with black shiplap in the background; part of the easy accent wall ideas

Vertical Shiplap Accent Wall

Now that you’re ready to take a new look at shiplap and see it as the ageless accent wall that it is, have you considered vertical shiplap?

Just as modern, if not more so, as horizontal shiplap. Vertical shiplap gives the illusion that your ceilings are higher than they actually are. This was exactly the feel I was going for in our master bathroom and these vertical shiplap boards accomplished just that!

For this look, I used a board called carsiding. It’s a thicker tongue and groove board with a smooth texture. Great for paint or stain. I chose Sherwin Williams Moderne White (a putty color) for the vertical wood slats on the walls…


Master bathroom with 2 mirrors a shelf, plant and vertical shiplap

And for the ceiling–which I absolutely LOVE–I went with my go-to black paint….Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. This ceiling accent is a statement in itself and always draws a gasp when showing someone around our home for the first time….

Planked ceiling painted black

Ceiling Plank Accent Wall

Who says only walls should get all the attention? A ceiling can be stunning too! I love adding carsiding to a ceiling for an extra layer of texture and magnitude.

Most often, I’ll paint my planked ceiling the same color I use for all of my trim (Behr Ultra Pure White in Semi-Gloss sheen). But a stained or black planked ceiling can really be a showstopper! Turn your 5th wall into a stunning accent wall with this easy DIY.

Planked black ceiling with stained beams

Picture Frame Moulding Accent Wall

In transforming my older sons’ bedroom into a theater room, I added picture frame moulding to one of the walls. I love the statement this wall makes.

In this moody, all black walls room, the molding highlights the textured wall art canvases I created. They really pop against the dark color walls. Another easy accent wall, picture frame moulding is a timeless, classic look…

Wall of canvases

FAQ’s for Easy Accent Wall Ideas

Which Wall is Best for an Accent Wall?

Which wall is your eye naturally drawn to when you enter the room? That’s most likely the best wall for an accent wall. Other things to take into consideration include:

If the accent wall is in a bedroom, which wall will the headboard be on? Create your accent wall on that wall.

If you’re looking to add an accent wall to a dining room, construct the design on the wall that the table sits in front of.

Except in the case of the bookshelves that I mentioned earlier, it’s best to stay away from walls that have windows. This will make the design easier to create too. Of course, an exception to this is if the window is part of what you’re wanting to accent, then go for it!

When it really comes down to it, there aren’t any steadfast rules…go with your gut and as I’ve said all along, think outside the box!

Is There a “Rule” for an Accent Wall?

As I said above, I’m always a fan of thinking outside the box and being creative in your design spaces. However, it’s still a good idea to stick to the 60-30-10 Rule. This classic decor rule helps create a color palette for your space.

The guideline is 60% of the room should be a dominant color; 30% should be a secondary color or texture and the last 10% should be an accent.

So, basically when applying this rule to your accent wall, it’s key to only choose one wall as your accent wall. More than that will push the accent beyond the 10% and make the room feel off-balance. This is a great rule to follow in all interior design aspects.

How Do I Choose the Right Color?

Personally, I like to choose a color that will pop. If my room is white, I’m going to go with a bold color or stain. Another idea is to match the color but increase the intensity of it.

For example, if my room is a lighter sage color, I might choose to stick to the same color of sage but darken it 50%. Did you know you can ask your paint store to do this for you? Yep! They’ll usually darken a paint color for you by up to 50%.

A Few More of My Favorite Accent Wall Ideas

I actually have another accent wall I’ll be sharing soon. My home office/guest room makeover. I created a much more classic wood accent wall for that space. Watch for that easy DIY tutorial coming soon. Here’s a sneak peak…

Millwork accent wall painted a deep moody green

While my favorite accent wall is probably board and batten, my least favorite is a gallery wall. I say this with a caveat. When done right a gallery wall can be stunning. But a gallery wall can turn into chaos very quickly.

When a gallery wall has so many picture frames of different shapes and sizes, it can really become overwhelming for the eye to take it all in.

The best gallery walls are ones with all of the pictures the same shape and size. When placed with intention and lined up straight across from one another or vertically down a wall, it helps the eye to relax and take it all in.

Here are a couple examples of a gallery wall done right…

Canvases hung on wall behind a sofa


Image Source: Marly Dice Blog

A few more ideas I would like to try my hand at some day are:

  • brick wall
  • stone wall
  • wallpapered accent wall

I hope this post was helpful in giving you direction on easy accent wall ideas. As you can see, the sky is the limit! Let those creative juices flow!

Do you need help deciding which accent wall would be best for your space? Comment below and I would love to point you in the right direction! You never know what you’re capable of until you try!

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