Color blocks

Enhancing an accent wall

Mary Jo Bowling

Interior designer Jay Jeffers transformed a once all-white wall into an accent wall by enhancing it with a single color block. Jeffers painted a 10- by 6-foot blue rectangle in the center, giving definition to artwork and adding a subtle wash of color.

The benefits go beyond adding color to the space: Jeffers says the wall ends up working as an extended frame for artwork. "The trick is to make the size of the rectangle substantial," Jeffers says. "You want it to be big enough to look like an accent wall, not like a mat in a picture frame."

An accent wall gives a room a significant focal point. "It works well in modern spaces," Jeffers says. "I wouldn't use this technique in a more traditional room that has molding. It might look too busy."

Create an accent wall
Mimic the lines of the wall, artwork, or furniture. In this instance, Jay Jeffers used a rectangle of color to frame artwork. But also think of color blocks behind a collage, sculpture, or bed.

Make a focal point with paint. Accent just one wall. This is a great way to add color even if you favor the light-reflecting qualities of white walls. Think in terms of feet, rather than inches.

Be bold with color. Jeffers suggests being adventurous with color when using this technique. "You are only painting a small part of the wall," he says. "You could play with one bright color, or give the wall more impact by painting a bright color within another color."

Design: Jay Jeffers, Jeffers Design Group, Los Angeles (310/235-1423) and San Francisco (415/934-8088)

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