Black shiplap wall in red and black living room

How To Add An Accent Wall: 3 Wall Designs That Aren’t Shiplap

Similar to subway tile and large breakfast tables, a shiplap accent wall has become a design staple in modern farmhouse style. As with anything that was once novel and has reconverted to mainstream, the idea feels a little stale and overdone. Some may even go as far as to call shiplap a farmhouse cliche, but I still have a strong love for a good, proper shiplap accent wall. So what else do we do with a blank wall that needs a special touch?


Accent Wall Options

Although shiplap is the most popular design in modern farmhouses for accent walls, there are quite a plethora of other options to choose from. Each type has its own pros and cons and each one will require a different degree of effort and skill. I’m not saying that a beginner can’t complete any of these, but I highly recommend doing more research on each of the options to see which one you feel most confident tackling. That is of course, only if you plan to DIY it.

Now that I’ve given you the full implementation disclaimer, let’s dive into the five wall designs you can add to spruce up your modern farmhouse that aren’t shiplap! We will dive into each starting with the easiest to do yourself and working our way up to the most challenging.

Keep It Simple

grey painted accent wall in bedroom

Starting with the most simple accent wall, the painted one. Honestly, you would be absolutely amazed at how painting one wall can absolutely transform a space. The key here is to select the right wall to accent. This needs to be the wall you want to draw all the attention to in the room.

For instance, in a bedroom, you’d likely want to highlight the wall the bed rests on as your bed and nightstands will be the most prominent feature of the room. If you need a bit more insight into which wall to choose, here are some of my favorite places to add a painted accent wall:

  • behind your bathroom vanity in the bathroom
  • behind your bed in your bedroom
  • the living room wall that hosts your television or fireplace
  • The backend of your dining room that houses your hutch, buffet, or china cabinet
  • Entry hall wall that houses your bench or entry table
  • The peek-a-boo wall in a hallway behind an archway or doorway

Spicing Up Your Paint

greige painted accent wall on fireplace wall with built ins and open shelving

Once you’ve painted your wall, you may realize that the paint alone isn’t enough to spice up the room. You may come to realize you need a bit more added on top of that paint, which is absolutely normal. Here are a few quick suggestions on what to add:

  • Open shelving
  • Large mirrors or artwork
  • Built-in cabinetry
  • China cabinets or hutches
  • Wall mounted bedframe

The key is to ensure your accent wall ties into the main color scheme of the room. As you may know, I’m a big fan of the 60-30-10 rule. Sixty percent of your room should consist of one color, thirty percent of another, and only ten percent should incorporate the other decorative accents and colors in your home. The wall itself should be part of that 60% and the decorations you chose to include on that wall should incorporate the other thirty and 10 percent.

Bring Back Wallpaper

bold blue wallpaper print in bedroom

I’ve had a long love-hate relationship with wallpaper. I love the way it looks, but I hate the effort application and removal take. Honestly, I think I am holding onto the long-time trauma that came from that dreadful 90’s wallpaper. That stuff was an absolute nightmare to remove and it was all mostly quite hideous.

Thankfully wallpaper has come a very long way since then. There are a multitude of non-traditional wallpaper options such as the renter-friendly peel & stick wallpaper. These new inventions have come with the resurgence of the popularity of wallpaper and frankly, I’m here for it.

Finding The Right Wallpaper

bold circus wallpaper in upstairs playroom

Although choosing the right wallpaper could be an entire blog of its own (and likely will), I think it’s important to help identify which wallpaper is best for your space. Check out these quick tips for identifying the right wallpaper design for your accent wall:

  1. Determine the color palette you want in the room. Identify the primary color you would like to focus on and start looking for wallpapers with that color.
  2. See how much light is in the space. Brighter rooms can afford a darker color, but smaller, darker spaces could probably use something a bit lighter to help open up the space.
  3. Be strategic about selecting a print. The busier the print, the less formal your space will be. If you’re looking for something fun, go bold. If you’re looking for something elegant, choose a more muted, subtle pattern.
  4. The caveat. It can be challenging to use a more muted or subtle pattern if you have textured walls. Choosing something with a full print will help disguise any texture from the walls that may creep through.

Add Some Trim

blue board and batten wall in bedroom

Much like wallpaper, trim and molding got a really bad rep from the dreadful home designs in the 90s. Well, just like those high-waisted mom jeans, molding and trim have come back in style in interior design. It’s shocking, but I actually am absolutely in love with it.

If you’re looking to add a fun feature wall to your space, but keep it classy try adding wainscotting or board & batten. You can keep it the same color as the rest of your interior walls for a more subtle, sophisticated look. Or you can try a bold color to really make your space stand out.

This is definitely a more challenging DIY accent wall and it will require some power tools and a little bit of research. I promise it’s not as complicated as you think, though. Plus, if you want to hire an expert, there are plenty of talented individuals who can help you execute your design exactly how you want it.

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