Accent Walls | DIY Projects | Home Decor | Home Offices

Create an Ultra-Easy Accent Wall with Paint!

Learn how to paint a modern brush stroke-patterned accent wall in an afternoon with this ultra-simple tutorial. Get the look of wallpaper for cheap!

Faux Wallpaper Accent Wall: woman painting black brush strokes on a white wall to create a modern patterned accent wall

I’m currently obsessed with painting accent walls- and this is the fourth one I’ve done in the past 8 months… and the second one I’ve done since we’ve been stuck at home. Like any good doomsday prepper, I went to Home Depot and stocked up on paint before our area was locked down.

Why I love Accent Walls

Why so many accent walls, you ask? Are accent walls outdated? Weren’t they big in the early 2000’s?

They’re actually making a HUGE comeback, but with more style and purpose than before. I’m painting a lot of rooms white these days, in order to bring in as much natural light as possible.

But it’s easy for an all-white room to feel a little blah. It often needs some fun color and/or pattern to make it feel alive. And an accent wall is a perfect low-risk, high-impact solution. You can choose a bold color or pattern, and since it’s such a small area, it makes a statement, but doesn’t overwhelm the room.

Here’s a roundup of cool DIY accent wall ideas if you need more inspiration.

This is a closet office, and it’s it just asking for a fun pattern on that back wall? I was originally thinking wallpaper, but then I thought, why not paint a simple pattern instead? It’s much cheaper, and requires about the same amount of time as it would to apply wallpaper. Plus this is fun!

empty closet wall, ready to be painted

How to Paint a Brush Strokes Accent Wall


  • Background paint (I’m using Behr Ultra Pure White in a satin finish)
  • paint roller & tray
  • 1.5″ angled paintbrush
  • 2-3 shades of paint for the pattern (I’m using sample sizes of Behr Carbon, Night Club, and Graphic Charcoal)
  • Artist’s brush
  • drop cloth


1. Paint the background color.

I did two coats of the BEHR Ultra Pure White. It’s hard to tell from the photo above, but the closet was actually a light grey before.

2. Test your pattern.

I tried out a couple of different variations on my brush strokes pattern to see what looked best on the wall. In the end, I went with rows of short strokes. You could also use a piece of cardboard to do your testing.

modern accent wall pattern: black and dark grey vertical brush strokes form a DIY accent wall pattern
modern accent wall pattern: grey and black brush strokes interlock to create a bold pattern
white painted accent wall with grey and black brush strokes forming horizontal rows

In the end, I chose this last pattern, and painted over the other two with white.

3. Find or make reference lines.

how to paint an accent wall: white wall being painted with simple black lines

This is a pretty free-form pattern. Measuring and drawing lines isn’t really my thing unless it’s absolutely necessary. But I did want my rows of brush strokes to form horizontal lines across the wall.

I used the brackets left behind from a shelf as a reference. If you need a reference, run a level line or two of Frog tape across your wall to make sure everything is staying somewhat on-track.

4. Paint your first color.

I started with black (Behr Carbon), but it doesn’t really matter which color you start with. My brush strokes are each 3-4″ long, and I spaced them out randomly, leaving gaps so I can come back with my other two colors.

white wall painted with black vertical brush strokes, spaced randomly across the wall

5. Paint your second color.

Next, come back and fill in some of the gaps with your second color, in my case, Behr Graphic Charcoal.

white painted wall with black and charcoal brush strokes painted on it to create a faux wallpaper look

6. Paint your third color.

Finally, paint your last color in between the others. My last color is Behr Night Club.

hand painting a grey brush strokes on a diy accent wall

7. Paint edges.

I wanted my wall to have the look of wallpaper, so I extended my pattern all the ways to the corners, even painting some strokes into the corners. Once that was dry, I came back with my angled paintbrush and touched up the side walls.

faux wallpaper accent wall painted all  the way into the corners to create a wallpaper look

I did the same thing when I got down to the baseboard- I painted onto it a little bit, then touched it up with white paint later.

faux wallpaper accent wall, with brush strokes painted all the way to the baseboard to create a wallpaper look

8. Touch up.

I had a few spots I needed to touch up with white paint when I was done.

woman creating a painted accent wall with a modern black and white pattern

This was a crazy easy project, and I’m really excited to get the closet office set up in there now! And of course there are so many ways your could customize this technique to your own space… use rainbow colors, do a dark-colored background with white or light grey paint strokes, make dalmatian spots, do horizontal strokes, the sky is the limit!

Update: See the Closet Office Reveal HERE!

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hand-painted accent wall: woman hand-painting an accent wall

More Accent Wall Ideas…

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Create an Accent Wall with Easy DIY Faux Wallpaper!

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