5 Ideas for Dark Accent Walls In Small Spaces

Dark walls inject drama into small spaces.
5 Ideas for Dark Accent Walls In Small Spaces
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

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But the truth is adding an accent wall with dark shades can make a small space look more extensive than its dimensions as the accent wall. Dark hues on an accent wall draw the eyes as the color abates and the definition starts to fade. It's a fantastic illusion, but interior designers frequently know how well they use it to their advantage frequently.

In this article, we will demonstrate that it doesn't take courage to paint a dark accent wall in a small space. It takes a small amount of knowledge and nothing more.

Let's jump into the world of dark accent walls.

How do interior designers use dark accent walls in small spaces?

Small spaces can be dull, and the paint is ordinarily bright and lifeless without any character, which makes a small space nondescript and somewhat dull. 

However, adding an accent wall can change the small space's vibe, giving it character and mystery. Why does it happen? It's adding interest to space, and it's not magic or science. In some spaces, you can create the optical illusion of having a larger space, but aesthetic beauty's primary purpose.

Where should a dark accent wall be?

Every room has a focal point, and the focal point can vary, but as a rule of thumb, when you enter a small space, the accent wall is typically opposite the doorway. 

However, there is no set formula, and it depends on where you would like the focal point to be. Painting an accent wall will naturally draw your vision to that point in the small space.

Here are a couple of suggestions you may want to consider further:

  • If your small space happens to be a bedroom, the wall behind the headboard is the prominent place for an accent wall. It will add depth to the room and divert your vision from closets or wardrobes.
  • If the small space is a living area and you have a period sofa, say of a french design adding an accent wall behind the sofa will showcase the furniture beautifully, a bit like a work of art that deserves a great background and frame. Anything that could be considered dramatic in the small space, such as artwork of a fancy cabinet, is a candidate for being the accent wall.

Keep in mind when painting an accent wall, you will likely have three other walls and a ceiling that is white or brighter neutral color to maintain the harmony and balance of the small space.

If you are looking for a contemporary classic look, then an accent wall in a dark color such as navy blue, charcoal, and even black will create perfect lines and contrast exceedingly well with the darkness of the accent wall.

Introducing a dark accent wall presents endless opportunities for new decor styles that could not have been achieved in dour decors, such as using vibrant colors.

1. Navy blue

“Why” should be the typical question if you were to suggest that you paint the end wall of a landing or downstairs passageway navy blue. However, the navy blue accent wall is a thing of beauty and classic decor styles that shows the richness and depth of the color.

The navy blue contrasts with the browns of the wood floor. Navy blue accentuates the pure white kickboards and doors to the rooms while allowing the softness of the cream domineering walls to offer their gentle tones in a calming and tranquil manner.

The gold sunburst mirror would be washed away on a cream wall and look like an afterthought instead of a design piece.

The simple table with a clamshell and dark vases is perfectly showcased against the navy blue accent wall.

Your favorite rug with pinks, shades of purple, and elaborate patterns is laid easily in front of this majestic accent wall.

The accent wall is small and deliberate for a good reason. The hallway was dull and dour, and it would not have showcased the hallway and its contents with anything other than a dark accent wall in a small space.

How to create this look?

If you have a long passageway or landing leading to bedrooms, its dimensions are going to be limited, so paint a dark accent wall at one end of the landing for interest and to showcase the decor and ornaments.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this small space is a 3.

The great thing about small spaces is they are easy to paint. When painting a dark accent wall, paint in layers ensuring each layer has dried before applying the next to achieve a deep coverage and excellent finish.

2. The challenges of small spaces

If you live in a city, you will be familiar with small spaces from your bedroom to your living room. The challenges associated with such a small space can be demanding, so the decor is an essential factor for happiness and sanity.

Frequently the options presented are to paint the whole room a neutral color that cleans and brightens the place up for a short time or just grin and bear the austerity of living in a small space.

However, if you tackle the plunge and opt for a dark accent wall, you can change the vibe of your apartment completely, making it a designer's paradise.

Adding a dark accent like charcoal gray in a small space may seem counterintuitive, but if you take the step, you will be pleasantly surprised. Ok, it will not make your room feel more extensive, but it will add depth and color to a space that once could have had a clinical vibe and was totally uninteresting.

You may feel charcoal gray is masculine, and you would be right. It does have a masculine feel and works well with the bedding and other simple dark tones of the bedroom. 

Charcoal gray can be feminine. Pair it with pinks and bright yellows and see the beautiful contrasts created.

How to create this look?

Don't discount charcoal gray for a feminine bedroom. It works well and will allow you to use color in a way you would have dreamt of doing.

For a masculine vibe, it is incredible. The color is forgiving and allows you to easily use darker tones like black.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this small space is a 3.

It's straightforward to create this look in a small space. You paint the accent wall charcoal gray, and you're done. It's time to accessorize as you see fit and style.

3. Break the mold

You may have assumed that an accent has to be a wall, but it doesn't; in small spaces, you can add an accent where it fits, and that's not always a wall. If you live in a small space in a city, the wall may not be visible as you cram your furnishings into the space, so think outside of the box.

A small wall of floating shelves is a fantastic place to paint a dark accent color in the small space.  Often black is a color that gets no thought or has a bad rap from those who do not know any better.

Black is an enveloping color in an excellent way. Using black in a small space creates the perfect showcase for your exquisite ornaments and collection of oddities that generate interest.

This strip of black shelving introduces an enigma into the living space that a light color could never do. It will not create an optical illusion and make your small space look expansive, but it will be a talking piece for everyone who enters the small space.

The best thing about black is that it will fit your existing decor—there is no need to paint other walls contrasting colors. Black is fine with any color, and often the brighter, the better.

How to create this look?

Undoubtedly the space is tight so look for a point of interest that could be the focal point and concentrate on that area. Bookshelves make the perfect accent in a small space.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this small space is a 5.

The floating shelves may be tricky to paint, so take your time and patience while undertaking this task. Incidentally, many shelving units bought home as flatpacks are indeed black, so you are on the right path.

4. Teal green

Ok, blacks, navy blue, and grays are masculine, so what about a dark accent that is better suited to feminine vibes? Well, many feminists would accept the suggestion that darker shades are the domain of masculinity, but let's go with indulgence and look at the teal green.

If you are wondering, a teal is a small duck with a beautiful flash of green plumage hence the color teal green.

Teal is a stunning color for a dark accent wall, regardless of your gender. You may know that green is the color best associated with tranquility and all things calm, so it is a beautiful color to have in your home where you can flick off your shoes and chill out.

Teal is a good color for expressing yourself through brighter colors and darker tones if you wish. Did you know that teal green is one of the best colors for exhibiting monochrome artwork?

Frequently teal is paired with browns, ash grays, and white to give a small space a bright and fresh feel.

If you have the natural tones of yellow from wood, teal will make your wood the centerpiece as it perfectly shows the natural tones.

How to create this look?

Teal is a beautiful color and well suited to a small space. It does not carry dark undertones that could be construed as sinister. Instead, it's a soft and conforming dark color that will make you feel relaxed.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this small space is a 5.

Painting a staircase is always challenging as you must reach the dizzying heights of the landing ceiling. The color is dreamy and a pleasure to work with.

5. The transformation is complete

The smallest space in your home is the bathroom. Its diminutive dimensions will have you wondering how to save this small space from the clutches of decor disaster. But if you add a simple dark accent wall, you can transform your bathroom into a place where it's a pleasure to read the newspaper and contemplate the world.

Adding any dark accent is ironically going to brighten your bathroom. It adds interest and looks like you care about this small space. The colors could range from chocolate brown to charcoal to black or even deep red. Add some shelves, and the transformation is complete.

How to create this look?

If you have old paint left over in the garage, make a mixture and see if you can create a decent accent color. Paint just one wall, the wall behind the toilet bowl, for a fabulous look. Add shelves so you can display some unwanted ornaments and even an air freshener.

How easy is this look to achieve? Working on a simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most complex level to accomplish, this small space is a 6.

You will need a selection of brush sizes to paint around the outlet pipe of the toilet bowl and the water inlet. Its time consuming, but the effort is worth the end result.

Final thoughts

Don't shy away from colors you are unfamiliar with; Charcoal gray and black are tremendous colors that allow a platform for more vibrant colors in a small space.

If you don't have a whole wall, paint an accent as a stripe or on a set of floating shelves to add a mysterious vibe to the small space.

Teal will make you relax, so use it sparingly!