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How to Pick an Accent Wall Colour

November 27, 2017

You don’t have to be an interior designer or decorator to choose a colour and paint an accent wall in your home. We'll simply teach you how to apply the same simple rules that the experts use when working with colour and paint - and let your home’s architecture determine what wall to accent.



Choosing the right wall for that special splash of colour is the first step. The wall to accent is generally the first thing you see when you walk into the room. It may have distinctive architectural features or placements such as a built-in bookcase, a wainscoting, a fireplace or an architectural nook. It could be the anchor wall behind the bed in a bedroom. If you select the wrong wall to accent, it can throw off the balance and harmony of the room.



Colour psychology experts claim colour has an effect on people – and it does. The advertising industry has tapped into the effects of colour for decades. Some colours convey a lot of energy – red, for instance. The reason red is used for stop signs, fire engines and stoplights is because it represents danger. As the colour of blood, war and passionate energy, red is known to stimulate the metabolism while increasing heart and respiratory rates. This is why red doesn’t make a good choice as an accent wall in a bedroom and exactly why it would work better in the kitchen. Think about the room’s purpose and the mood you want to create when choosing a colour for an accent wall.





Don’t let the wide array of paint colors overwhelm you when choosing a color for your accent wall. Avoid it by developing a color scheme for the room that uses the "60-30-10 rule." Here's how it works:

  • 60 percent of the room, including its painted surfaces and decor, represents your dominant color choice

  • 30 percent is applied to a secondary color

  • 10 percent is for the accent color


You can test three accent wall colours by painting them in 3-by-3-foot squares on the chosen wall. Then watch them in the changing light of day to choose the one that suits you and your home the best.



A harmonious colour scheme also takes into consideration the colour’s saturation level as part of the design. Colour theory suggests using a tint as the dominant colour in the room, a toned colour as the secondary colour, with your accent colour being the most vivid and pure hue of the three. Tints have white added to them, while toned colours have been muted with gray. This theory suggests making the accent wall the darkest or most vivid colour in the room, accented by area rugs, throw pillows or other decor items that integrate the colour and balance it throughout the space.









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