Architectural Elements: Accent Walls

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Architectural Elements: Accent Walls 

A recent trend in Interior Design involves adding a textural element to bare walls in order to create an accent wall. An accent wall can range from subtle to dramatic, depending on the materials you choose and personal style. As an Interior Designer with an endless supply of materials to choose from, I find it challenging to come up with a short list (oh the possibilities!). But the hottest looks trending now are:

1) Wood Planks

2) Cork & Leather Panels

3) Stone / Brick

Wood planks add texture, depth, and warmth. If you live in the Midwest you are somewhat familiar with tongue and groove pine walls. Not to be confused with this quintessential “cabin style”, a wood accent wall is a more stylized treatment.thumbs

For example, bathroom walls are seeing a floor to ceiling wood treatment behind a free-standing soaking tub in contrast to surrounding tile. Bedrooms are incorporating wood planks as an artistic headboard. (Often the entire headboard wall is covered). Family room tile surrounding the fireplace is being replaced with a complete wall of wood planks.

Another popular material choice for accent walls is cork and leather. Cork offers a unique and casual texture;


leather lends a more masculine and sophisticated feel. Cover an entire wall or create a gallery wall by placing cork planks and leather tiles in repeating sections. I see cork as a smart choice for music rooms, home theater rooms, and bedrooms due to cork’s inherent acoustical properties. Leather accent walls are popular adornments for bedrooms, dens, and office spaces.

Stone and brick range in color, shape, texture, and size. They add incredible depth and interest when used to create an accent wall. If you have existing hardwood floors, you may want to add this textural contrast. Travertine, slate, flagstone, and reproductions of old Chicago brick and antique warehouse reds all come to mind. Kitchen backsplash areas are recently being treated as an entire accent wall. Stone is installed under the cabinets, above the cabinets, and all the way up to the ceiling. Stone can also be used (like wood) to create an accent wall around the fireplace. A jagged flagstone slate sets a casual mood, whereas a modern 12×24 smooth travertine creates a more elegant feel.

A brick accent wall is an excellent choice for adding the warmth and charm of a downtown loft to your home. If you want to incorporate an historic theme, don’t overlook adding the thin reproductions of the Antique Warehouse Reds.

Look around your spaces and see if an accent wall might be right for you. Whether your style is rustic, elegant, bohemian, or minimal, an accent wall will definitely add visual interest to your spaces.

Written by Interior Designer, Christina Burns