Every Possible Accent Wall

Here is every possible accent wall you can paint.

I studied Interior Design. It's impossible to not analyze buildings, bars, cafés, stores, garages, etc.

It is especially dangerous when my eye contact slowly drifts away from the people I'm supposed to engage with. My eyes would gaze around the room to imagine the infinite design possibilities. How could you blame me!

Likewise, I have been stuck at home, thinking of all the possibilities of how I could paint an accent wall. So there I was, hugging my iPad, sipping on wine, and doodling all the possibilities. I consider an accent wall to be the focal surface. There is a dance between positive and negative space - they allow each other to take over but a balance is most optimal.

After doodling what I thought was all the possibilities, I had to check whether I have drawn all the possible combinations. If you have taken a course on statistics, you might recognize the formula for calculating combinations:

To calculate the number of possibilities of accent walls, here are the variables for the formula:

n: number of surfaces

r: number of desired accent walls/surfaces

In a room with 4 walls and ceiling/floor, totaling five surfaces, there are:

  • 5 options for 1 accent wall

  • 10 options for 2 accent walls

  • 10 options for 3 accent walls

  • 5 options for 4 accent walls

  • 1 option for 5 accent walls, or accent room

Total: 31 Options


This is a diagram of all the accent walls or the Mind of an Interior Designer. The center of the room may be seen as the ceiling or floor. I invite you to turn your head, scrunch your nose, scratch your head, and toggle your attention between the figure-ground relationship between the plan and perspective view. Imagine the accent as a paint color, texture, material. Imagine it as a focal point where you center your bed. Imagine it as a graphical method of wayfinding. For visualization purposes, 1 surface was subtracted in a 6-surface room.

There is only 1 option missing here - the accent room.

What the heck is an accent room?

It is the all-red restroom in the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. In a white room, it is perceived that there are no accents walls. Instead, the elements, such as furniture, might be the intended accent or focus. However, if the same logic was applied to the all-red restroom at MOMA, does it mean that there is no accent amongst all the walls? The color on each surface may be an accent itself. It really says something about it.

I never left a public restroom so quickly in my life.


Here are some examples of one, two, three, four, accent wall(s).


Francis Ching's Architecture Form, Space, and Order, a book that all instructors require architecture students to have, explains how vertical planes define space as a means of visual limitation.

Architecture Form, Space, and Order by Francis D.K. Ching pg. 125

I hope this helps guide your next spatial design journey.

I hope that this piece can hang on a wall, sit on the floor, accompany another frame, ultimately leave one to imagine all the possibilities of their space.

This print is now available in my Etsy shop. Deeply appreciate your support and hope to inspire your space.

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