How To Paint An Accent Wall

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Ever want to change a room but don't want to do a lot of work? An accent wall is great way to freshen up a space on a budget and are an easy and stylish way to add color to a room. I’ve got a few tips on how to get it done, let’s get started!

Clean and Prep 

First thing you want to do is remove any mirrors, pictures, shelves and artwork that is hanging. Then, remove outlet and switch plates by unscrewing them. Put a strip of painter's tape right over the outlet to prevent accidentally rolling paint on it.

Patch Holes

Examine the walls and repair any small holes.  Use a wall spackle. I like DAP DryDex Ready to Use White Spackling Compound. This spackle is light weight and has a dry time indicator causing the product to change color when optimum dry time is achieved. It goes on pink and when it’s dry it turns white! The product is amazing.

Apply a spackling product with a putty knife and smooth it out. Let it dry and then use a light grit sanding sponge, around 220 grit to sand it smooth.  If you need to spackle a corner or an uneven area, just use some spackle on your finger to fill any holes or divots.


Let’s talk sanding. While sanding is not required for every paint project, there could be rough spots on walls and when painting just an accent wall, you want to make sure it’s absolutely perfect since all eyes will be on it! Take the palm of your hand and run them across the wall, anywhere you find a spot that is a little rough sand it down.

Use sandpaper or a sanding block to dull any uneven surfaces, wipe away dust with a damp cloth and let dry thoroughly.


Dust off the baseboards with a damp rag wipe and then give your wall a quick wipe down. You won’t believe the unseen dust and cobwebs that are on your wall and knocking them down with damp rag will give the paint the perfect surface to adhere to. Not only will the paint adhere better to the surface of the wall but you won’t have dust globs showing up on the roller and clumping on the wall.

Apply Painter's Tape

The next step in painting an accent wall is to use painter's tape to mask off your ceiling, moldings, windows and doors. We’re going to place the tape on the walls, ceiling and trim. This will prevent the color from getting on those areas.

Always press the painter's tape down even and flat to prevent bleed-through. The purpose of an accent wall is to avoid getting paint on the other walls, so take your time here.

Choose the right painter's tape for the job. I like using a low-stick painter's tape, like Ace Clean Release painters’ tape, to tape off the walls and baseboards but if you have more delicate areas like a fresh painted wall, wallpaper or finished hardwood I would recommend this Frog Tape for delicate surfaces.

Once your painters’ tape is applied, spread out a canvas drop cloth on the floor and tuck the drop cloth in as close the baseboards as possible.


The paint I choose for this accent wall is Clark+Kensington’s Union Square. These other walls are Stone Fireplace from Clark and Kensington. Even if you just got the paint mixed at the store it’s always a good habit to give the paint a stir with the paint stick. This helps make sure the paint is mixed all the way through.

Using a synthetic angled or trim brush you will want to “cut in” 2- to 3-inch bands around the edges, corners and frames of a room. You can work directly out of the gallon paint can or pour the paint into a smaller can or bucket. Dip the brush ½ way into the paint and off load some of the painting by pushing the brush on the inside of the paint can or bucket.

Once you have cut in, fit a roller cover onto your paint roller. I am using a medium 3/8” nap roller to paint the entire wall but if you want to know what kind of roller to use check out that video next. I suggest rolling the paint in a W pattern, this helps the paint overlap each other giving a more solid finish across the wall.

I’m going to pour the paint into the tray. Next, load the roller by rolling into the paint back and forth.  Pass the paint roller over the ridged area of the paint tray a few times to unload excess paint back into the tray. Working top to bottom, roll back and forth across the wall in a series W-shape strokes until the section is covered. If you rolled straight up and down upon first contact, there would be too much wet paint in a concentrated area. Rolling with a "W" pattern helps provide a smooth and polished finish.

Before reloading your roller and moving to the next section, roll over the area you’ve just painted in a smooth, continuous stroke from top to bottom. These smoothing strokes even the coat and help to cover up lines and tracks.

Overlap areas already painted. Lightly lift the roller off the wall to avoid leaving end marks and to seamlessly blend different areas.

Wait for 2 to 4 hours for the first coat to dry before applying a second coat if you need it. Here’s an Annie tip for you. If your paint needs a second coat, place the roller in a plastic bag. This helps avoid the roller from drying out.

Remove your painter’s tape when the wall is a little tacky. If left on too long, small pieces of the tape can tear and leave residue when being removed.  Remove the painter’s tape on an angle, pulling towards the accent wall. This way if paint splatters from the tape it gets on the accent wall and not the surrounding areas.

Replace your outlet and switch covers and you're done! Now you have beautiful accent wall that will catch everyone's eye.
For more helpful tips and advice, visit a Neighborhood Ace or visit Ace Hardware's Tips & Advice online

Published on 6/29/2022.

Always follow manufacturer's instructions before using any product.

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