Classic or Craze: Wallpaper Accent Walls

Is it a classic or is it a craze?

By Melissa Mauzy


For September’s Before/After issue, we asked local design professionals if wallpaper accent walls are a thing of the past or here to stay. Here’s what they had to say…

“As Chaucer said, 'All good things must come to an end,' and thus I dub this a craze. It's not that I don't enjoy seeing this look, it just seems to be overdone.” Joni Spear, Joni Spear Interior Design.

“I love wallpaper, but that said, I'm not the biggest fan of the ‘accent wall.’  I feel like the opportunity for the accent wall is difficult and more often used ineffectively.  I feel like an accent wall needs to either be entirely void of windows, doors, etc. or perfectly symmetrical. I also feel like the accent wall needs to have impact. Even if it is not a dramatic pattern, then color or texture needs to make a statement.  I enjoy using grasscloth in the back of built-in bookshelves to make accessories really pop and add some color drama to the room.”  Teddy Karl, The Great Cover-Up.

“Using wallpaper for an accent wall can be a classic way to break up a large room.  It can also provide emphasis to a particular architectural feature in a room.  Better yet, an accent wall can add a touch of ‘the extraordinary’ to an otherwise ordinary space.” Mary Beth Leritz, LuLu Belles Fabrics.

“Wallcoverings are back and here to stay, making an accent wall a classic design element. From beautiful, bright colors, unique textures and bold oversized patterns, the accent wall can serve as a piece of art in any design theme. The vast changes that we have seen from the wallcovering industry are remarkable. Through new technologies, manufacturers are now able to use a variety of natural products to create new weaves, textures and patterns. One of the latest innovations in wallcoverings is digital printing. This process allows for more saturated colors and the ability to create large-scale motifs, making it a perfect choice for a bold accent wall.”  Caitlin Clark, Textile Sales Associate, KDR Designer Showrooms.

“Anything that repeats itself in design is a classic. Wallpaper accent walls have been popular in the past and they are again. There are so many beautiful papers available now; however the trick is to convince a client that has ‘been there and done that’ to do it again in a new fresh way!” Julie Baum, BaumHouse design.

“CLASSIC! Choosing to accent a highly visible wall adds that ‘wow’ factor… the unexpected and will not go away any time soon! The wallcovering need not be a bold blast of color or pattern, but rather could be another texture such as grasscloth. Grasscloth wallpaper can also achieve two design elements: texture and color. The use of a wallpaper on just one wall can hide wall imperfections and therefore giving wallpaper double accolades, both as an aesthetic and a functional contribution to your space!” Joyce Mathis, MJM Design Company.

“Well, my grandmother had one, my mother had one and I have one, and I am 53 years old, if that tells you anything. The wallpaper accent wall is popular among millennials. So there is no end in sight to this craze that is a classic! Tip: Too often accent walls are an easy formulaic answer for 'what to do with that wall.' I prefer accent walls that are deliberate and part of a cohesive design plan. Otherwise they scream, 'I am an accent wall.' A fun twist: try wallpaper on the fifth wall, the ceiling!” Dana King, Next Project Studio.