The dining room is a special space where family and friends gather to enjoy food and conversation. While the table and chairs are key, a dining room accent wall presents an opportunity to add visual interest. The right accent wall can elevate the style of your dining space. From bold colors to captivating textures, accent walls introduce personality and sophistication.
When designed effectively, accent walls can make your dining room feel plucked from the pages of an interior design magazine. They draw the eye, provide contrast, and infuse rooms with character. Here are 10 accent wall inspirations for dining rooms along with tips to recreate the look.
Built-In Wine Storage
Installing built-in wine storage makes for an accent wall with function. Recess wood or metal wine racks directly into the wall for a custom look. Flank them with glass-front cabinets to showcase special dinnerware. Opt for a French country style with distressed wood racks or go modern with sleek metal racks and minimal trim.
Built-in wine storage works especially well for formal dining rooms or eat-in kitchens. Display your best vintages or savored liquor selections. Construct the wine wall from floor to ceiling or design it around windows. Then artfully arrange your wine bottles by color and texture for an appealing visual accent.
Dark and Dramatic Hues
When you want your accent wall to make a statement, opt for a deep, saturated color like navy blue, emerald, eggplant, or black. Dark moody walls feel decadent and elegant, perfect for a formal dining space. They also make small dining rooms feel more intimate.
Select a matte or soft finish with darker paint to keep the look refined. Navy blue with crisp white trim has a classic nautical style. Charcoal gray offers a sophisticated modern vibe, especially with metallic furnishings. For contemporary cool, try black paired with pops of citrus colors.
Keep other surrounding walls and the ceiling a light neutral color. White, soft gray, and tan work well to prevent dark walls from seeming oppressive. Add mirrors and reflective surfaces to bounce light around and keep the space feeling bright.
Like wine storage, built-in cabinetry makes for a functional accent wall. Recessed shelving provides a place to tuck away dinnerware, table linens, or barware while offering a pretty backdrop. Custom cabinetry with intricate detailing can help make a dramatic design statement.
When planning built-in cabinetry, think about woodwork that complements your existing furnishings and architecture. Shaker-style cabinets offer unfussy lines, while Queene Anne-style cabinetry brings ornate elegance. Paint cabinetry in glossy black for contemporary contrast or distressed white for cottage charm.
Built-in cabinetry works well flanking a chimney or anchoring each end of the dining room. To keep the look light and airy, avoid upper cabinetry and size shelving generously. Illuminate cabinet interiors with puck lights or sleek linear lighting. Glass-front cabinet doors maintain an open, spacious feel.
Crisp Architectural Elements
Sometimes all it takes is a fresh coat of bright glossy paint on the existing trim and walls to transform a room. This is an easy affordable way to help architectural elements stand out as the accent.
Consider painted wood panels next to dove grey or tan walls. You can also paint the ceiling a dramatic color for an enclosed accent effect. Use high-gloss or semi-gloss paints for plenty of shine and contrast. Colorblocking walls in different hues also direct eyes to the lines and form.
When dining rooms feel boxy, accentuating the architectural details helps add interest and polish. Painting trim in a contrasting color helps define built-in wall shelving, windows, doorways, and niches for a finished look. Just take care to prep surfaces thoroughly for a smooth painted finish.
Sleek Modern Wood Panels
While rustic reclaimed wood makes a natural earthy statement, sleek finished wood offers a more refined modern look. Think exotic hardwoods like ebony, mahogany, and teak for a rich warm accent wall that elevates the room. The straight clean lines and precision fit together exude contemporary sophistication.
Ideal for modern and contemporary home spaces, sleek wood also helps counterbalance hard surfaces like stone or tile. Use vertically installed tongue and groove planks for a streamlined look. Jump up the size from standard planks to 5 or 6 inches wide for drama. Pair with decor in glossy black, white, or chrome for modern edge.
Metallic hairpin legs on the dining table and transparent acrylic chairs keep the look light. Illuminate the wood tones with adjustable track lighting. Keep the rest of the room muted with neutral grey or taupe painted walls and minimal trim for the wood to stand out.
Rustic Modern Wood Feature Wall
For chic texture, consider installing a reclaimed wood feature wall. This involves arranging raw edge wood pieces into geometric or asymmetrical shapes like chevrons, curves, or overlapping circles. Metal strips typically hold the varied pieces together for a custom look that’s both rustic and modern.
Salvaged barnwood planks in grey, brown and whitewashed tones work well. Use wood pieces of different lengths and widths for dimensional appeal. A professional carpenter can map out the design and prepare the materials. Arrange the shapes to create negative space in pleasing forms rather than a busy patchwork.
Keep the installation clean and consistent by securing the entire feature wall to a substrate like plywood before mounting it to the wall. This approach lends a polished art gallery style while showing off the natural wood grain. Elongated bulb pendant lighting over the dining table can illuminate the feature wall.
Textural Painted Wall
For lots of character without a big investment, consider a textural or two-tone painted accent wall. Special techniques like rag rolling, stippling, wood graining, or color washing transform ordinary walls into works of art. This adds intrigue through varied paint textures and tones.
Rag rolling involves dipping a crumpled cloth into glazed paint and rolling it onto the wall to create loose impressions. Stippling requires dabbing paint in small dots with a stiff brush for built-up texture. Color washing provides a mottled tonal effect. Experiment to get the depth you desire.
Guides on the internet can provide tips on tools and step-by-step instructions for achieving different finishes. Practice first on foam core boards. Decorative painted walls work especially well in transitional dining spaces. Keep surrounding walls simple to let the textural paint take center stage.
Exposed Brick Wall
For an urban loft ambiance, exposed brick makes a striking accent wall. Genuine reclaimed brick has a gritty aged appeal. While demolishing a wall to reveal brick has a big impact, it’s also messy and costly. Consider faux brick panels as an easier alternative with realistic depth and color variations.
Painted brick is another option, letting you customize the brick color for a more modern or vintage look. Whites, greys and antique rose tones work well in dining rooms. For a bit of shabby chic character, add walls with lightly distressed edges and rub brick finishes between coats.
Set off the brick accent wall with contrasting crisp white trim and cabinets for an upscale loft vibe. Complement with wood dining tables, pendant lights, and streamlined leather or velvet chairs. Keep food and decor simple to let the tactile brick stand out.
Wood Slatted Wall
The clean lines of a wood slatted accent wall add tailored texture. Thin strips of wood slice vertically across the wall in a streamlined pattern. Wider spaced slats have a modern graphic impact. Closer cut slats convey an earthier vibe. Use wood in a light natural or whitewashed finish to prevent heaviness.
A professional carpenter can source and install wood strips in a consistent layout. Lightweight poplar works well for vertical slats and provides an affordable option. You can also find faux wood slat wall panels in vinyl and PVC for easier installation. Look for reversible options with slats on one side and a solid color on the other.
Wood slats work well in contemporary dining spaces with their sleek linear appeal. Illuminate slats with natural light during the day and accent lighting at night to show off the shadows and form. Keep remaining walls bright white for contrast. Pair with colorful mid-century style dining chairs.
Crisp Trim and Neutral Walls
Clean architectural elements paired with neutral walls make a classy easy dining room accent. Try bright glossy white or black trim around windows, doors, baseboards, and the chair rail. Then paint the walls an understated, light-absorbing color like beige, cream, taupe, or light grey with a matte finish.
The contrast of the sharp trim against muted walls directs eyes to the lines and angles in the space. This helps draw out the character of the room, from coffered ceilings to wainscotting to paneled built-ins. The neutral walls keep the room relaxing and versatile for different style furnishings and art down the road.
Crisp trim accent walls work especially well in traditional dining rooms as well as open concept eat-in kitchen and dining combinations. Match your wall color to a subtle hue in patterned curtains or area rugs to pull the palette together. Use plenty of lighting on the trim to make it pop.
Which Wall Should Be the Accent Wall?
When planning an accent wall, an important first decision is choosing which wall to feature. This depends on the room layout, lighting, and flow. Some guidelines for selecting an accent wall:
- Focal point wall – Play up the wall where people’s eyes naturally land when entering the room, like above the fireplace or at the end of a hallway. This is often the first impression wall.
- Backdrop wall – Consider the wall behind where key furniture is positioned, like behind the head of the table, buffet, or against the chimney. This creates an appealing backdrop.
- Adjacent to windows – Walls beside windows where natural light streams in work well to illuminate accent details like textural paint and wall decor.
- Not behind the entry door – Avoid the wall behind the entry door as it will be frequently blocked from view by the open door.
- Visible from adjoining rooms – An accent wall visible from nearby rooms like the kitchen or living room will help carry your style through the home.
Go for the budget-friendly drywall wall that makes the most sense spatially based on your room layout and furniture placement. This allows your accent to shine.
Budget-Friendly Accent Wall Approaches
Accent walls don’t have to break the bank. Here are some budget-friendly ideas for DIY dining room accent walls:
- Inexpensive wallpaper – Choose an affordable wallpaper with a fun bold print or texture. Use it sparingly on one wall as a budget-friendly accent.
- Faux brick or stacked stone – These affordable peel-and-stick wall panels offer the look of pricey authentic materials with easy installation.
- Paint techniques – Rag rolling, sponging, stippling, or color blocking paint spent on just one wall stretches your dollar.
- Wall decals and stencils – Customize affordable wall decals and stencils in lieu of expensive commissioned murals.
- Wood paneling – Use budget poplar or pine boards or breezy PVC panels just below the chair rail rather than full walls.
- Trim framing – Bright white, glossy black, or unfinished wood trim frames out windows, doors, and ceilings affordably.
- Picture ledges – Mount ledges high on the wall to display drawings, plates or meaningful photos in lieu of costly art.
With smart choices and concentrated use of materials only where needed, you can create a beautiful dining room accent wall without the high price tag.
The Right Dining Room Accent Wall
Incorporating one or more accent walls can completely transform the look and feel of a dining space. From ultra-modern to rustically elegant, accent walls introduce decorative appeal, texture, and depth through color, materials, lighting, and architectural details.
Consider the existing architecture, furniture, and overall style of your dining room when selecting an accent wall. Play up strengths like exposed brick, bay windows, or a carved fireplace. Tuck accent walls into niches or corners to make them feel like a natural integrated element. Use lighting placement and intensity to draw attention.
With the right thoughtful details, your dining room accent wall can provide the aesthetic interest and character that turns an ordinary room into an extraordinary one. Use these ideas as inspiration as you design the perfect accent wall to delight family and guests at your next dinner gathering.