The Accent Wall: A Feature of Your Home

We all want a design style that is made to impress.  From the flooring, to the mouldings, to the fixtures, there are so many ways to express your design style.  We are all familiar with the term “accent wall” and if you check out Pinterest, you will find thousands of ideas for inspiration.  The wall, in many cases, is ideal real estate, and the possibilities are endless for dressing up your wall.  Use a bold paint color or a beautifully patterned wallpaper to add texture and pops of vibrancy. You can build upon existing architectural detail by highlighting features like exposed brick.  But what about lumber, paneling, shiplap and trim? How can Millwork help dress up your walls?  In this article, we will explore some our favorite ways to make your wall the feature it deserves using materials you can source from your local Millwork supplier.

Geometric Onlay – a true accent wall

accent wall showing various thicknesses of lumber applied to a wall surrounding a fireplace
Photo/Design: Clarkbuilt Inc.

Mid-Century Modern is one of the most popular design trends in home building and remodeling.  As a result, many of the sleek, angular elements that made this style so unique are popping up in today’s Contemporary designs. One of the best ways to capture this signature style is to create an accent wall using a Geometric Onlay Pattern.  To achieve this look use finish grade lumber to create your design. For a more sophisticated look use a variety of lumber sizes and thicknesses. Apply directly to your wall in the geometric shapes of your choice, select a complimentary paint color, and BOOM, you have a design feature that is sure to turn heads!


shiplap accent walls with a mantel making a cozy family room
Photo/Design: Green Gables/Maison Inc.

There is no doubt that the reputation of Shiplap precedes this article. One of the signature elements to the Modern Farmhouse design style, Shiplap, has definitely becomes one of home design’s hottest trends. What used to be a functional detail that was hidden beneath the plaster in older homes, has now taken off to become a great choice for adding texture and interest. Turn a boring old wall into an admirable accent wall in just one step. Shiplap is readily available in many of your local Millwork suppliers, including McCoy Millwork!

Recessed Paneling

a traditional dining room showing recessed panels on the lower half of the walls with dark blue paint above
Photo/Design: Metrie

Traditional does not have to mean boring.  There is a classic, sophisticated elegance to using traditional design elements like Recessed Paneling to dress your wall.  Create an accent wall using a combination of dimensional lumber, sheet goods, and finish details like panel mouldings and chair rail. First, create a level surface by applying smooth sheet goods (like 4×8 sheets of 1/4″ MDF).  Second, build out your panels by making boxes using dimensional, finish grade lumber (traditionally 1×4, 1×5, or 1×6). Lastly, finish out your panels by adding moulding detail to the interior of the panels, as well as the top and bottom.  This classic design never fails to impress!


a cozy bedroom with beadboard walls on the lower half painted dark blue with white painted walls above
Photo/Design: Kristyn Bester Design

Beadboard is a great choice for an accent wall adding visual interest without having to use your entire wall space.  If beadboard is your choice, then there are a couple options for material that you can find at your local Millwork supplier.  First, Bead-sheets– these are generally stocked in MDF or composite material in a 4×8 sheet.  While there may be stain grade choices, they are usually veneered with a MDF core, thus eliminating it as a viable choice to use in high moisture environments like bathrooms.  Second, Tongue and Groove-this is generally stocked in varying widths that has a lip on one side and a channel on the other and are designed to lock one side into the other.  Tongue and Groove is often stocked in both solid wood and MDF or composite materials, which opens it up as a more flexible choice.  Both applications would need a baseboard and top rail to finish the look.  Compliment your beadboard with the paint or stain color of your choice to make your design a winning feature!

Built-Ins and Open Shelving

built-in, floor to ceiling bookcases in a sunny dining area
Photo/Design: reDesign home
sunny living room with built-in seating and bookcases surrounding a mantel
Photo: installation by Paul Johnson Carpentry

If you are looking to add function to your style, then adding Built-ins or Open Shelves is the right choice for you.  Walls are definitely for more than hanging pictures.  Why not use the space to create texture and visual interest while providing you with the necessary storage for your most treasured books, photos, and keepsakes.  Like we have discussed in previous paragraphs, a trip to your local lumber and millwork supplier will provide you with everything you need to create this look.  Built-ins require carpentry skill and experience. There is a critical component to the measuring and installation that is best completed by a skilled woodworker, contact your local supplier for recommendations of Carpenters in your area. If you are an eager DIY’er and are comfortable with the project, there are lots of resources online to get you started.  Open shelving is definitely more DIY friendly.  It’s as simple as selecting the paint or stain grade wood of your choice and coordinating it with the proper installation hardware.  Beauty and function for the win!

We highly recommend adding one of our Custom Built Mantels to your wall for a truly swoon worthy update to your space!  Whatever your style, there are experts on hand that can help point you in the right direction, like our team here at McCoy Millwork!

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