Guest Bedroom Accent Wall Options

I’ve been thinking ahead to the accent wall that I want to do behind the headboard in the guest bedroom. Before I get to that project, I still need to install the missing flooring in the hallway and home gym (which I’ll be working on today), and then get all of that flooring (guest bedroom, hallway, home gym) refinished. Then it’ll need a bit to cure before I can cover it and move on to the fun stuff (i.e., adding color and pattern) to the guest bedroom.

So I’ve still got a while, but I want to be ready to go with an idea when that day comes. That means that if I want to design some custom wallpaper, I need to design it now so that I can get it ordered. If I want to do another design, I’ll need to make sure I have everything I need on hand.

Anyway, my vision for that room is to have picture frame molding on the walls. I want tall boxes (i.e., no chair rail separating a top section from a bottom section). Behind the headboard, I want one large box like this…

The teal represents the headboard, and the brown represents the bedside tables. Don’t take those too literally. 😀 I won’t be using actual brown boxes, and I’m hoping the headboard I make will be a little more exciting than what you see there. But you get the point, right? One big rectangle with picture frame molding on that wall, and inside that box, I want something fun, colorful, and bright. I think.

On the opposite wall where the TV will be mounted on the wall with a dresser underneath, I want three boxes — one larger middle box with two smaller outside boxes. It will look something like this…

And again, the dresser I use won’t be a plain brown box. I’m also going to frame the TV like I did the breakfast room TV.

So I’ve been trying to decide exactly what I want in that big box behind the headboard. My first thought was to create my own wallpaper, so I headed to Home Depot a couple of days ago and picked up some fun paint sample colors to experiment with.

guest bedroom - paint colors for accent wall

I want the walls in the room to be similar to the light blue green color — Behr Fresh Tone.

So I did a few abstract paintings with these colors (which I shared in my Instagram stories), and this is the one I ended up playing around with…

guest bedroom - acrylic painting for wallpaper

I put it into my photo editing software, added some white line details and turned it into a repeatable pattern. It ended up looking like this…

guest bedroom - wallpaper sample

Now I probably won’t be using that exact one, because I did those white lines so fast, and they’re kind of sloppy. But I just wanted to get an idea of how I could turn those paintings into some fun wallpaper. Here’s a mock up of what it might look like inside that picture frame molding with a headboard and bedside tables in front…

And of course, there are a million different ways to create custom wallpaper from a painting, because there are a million different paintings I could start off with by using those colors.

Of course, I could also just find some colorful wallpaper and use it. I actually really love this colorful confetti wallpaper from Anthropologie.

Here’s a mock up of what that might look like inside picture frame molding with a headboard and side tables in front…

My only issue with it is that it has a bit too much peach and not enough pink for my taste. But I decided to google the artist — Lillian Farag — to see if she might have this available in different colorways. Well, she doesn’t have any wallpaper at all on her website, but I still found inspiration there. I instantly fell in love with this multi-color stripe on this handbag

guest bedroom inspiration - Lillian Farag handbag with colorful stripes

Y’all!! Yes, I can find inspiration anywhere, and I love this so much. Not only do I want that handbag, but I want those stripes all over my house. 😀 But one wall in my guest bedroom will do. The design doesn’t translate perfectly from handbag to wall, but here’s an idea of what it might look like…

My hesitation, of course, is that my obsession with stripes can be over the top. I’m already planning stripes in a crazy and fun way in our home gym. I already have stripes (although they’re neutral horizontal stripes in white and very light gray) in the hallway. So I just don’t know if that area of my house can contain more stripes that what I already have and have planned. I love stripes so much, though, that I may not even care. It’s my house, so I can put stripes on every surface if I want to, right? 😀

Or maybe I just need to buy that handbag and find something else for the guest bedroom wall.

So that brings me to my next idea. Have y’all seen walls covered in marbled paper? Here’s an example…

I love that look, and I found that the Thai marbled mulberry paper comes in a turquoise, raspberry, apricot colorway. (I think the one used in the closet above is the iris, raspberry, apricot colorway, so it has black instead of turquoise.) The one with turquoise looks like this…

I think that could look so amazing! And the colors are very me. But one thing about marbled paper is that it’s not like wallpaper at all, in that the pieces have random designs on them that certainly won’t match up at the seams. The seams are very obvious, and that bothers some people, much like the mismatched seams on grasscloth. That’s never bothered me with grasscloth, but it would be even more evident with marbled paper.

I did a very quick mock up to see what this might look like. Of course, this isn’t an exact representation because each piece of marbled paper is different. There are really no two alike. So you still have to kind of use your imagination to see past this exact repeated pattern on the mock up.

guest bedroom headbaord wall - mock up with marbled paper

So those are the things I’ve been considering if I go the fun, happy, colorful route, which I really want to do. But there’s one more option that has burrowed itself into my brain and remained there for years, and I’ve always hoped that I’d have a place to do it.

Do y’all remember years ago when Sarah Dorsey did this amazing nailhead design on the wall behind her headboard?

I have loved that idea since the first time I saw it, which I think was about six years ago. And while bright, fun, colorful is right up my alley, so is nailhead trim on grasscloth. But perhaps the nailhead trim on grasscloth is a better idea for our future master bedroom. This guest bedroom is probably a better place to do something fun and colorful, and I’ll save the calmer idea for the master bedroom. Right?



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  1. Personally, I would lean toward the marbled look. It’s more relaxing than the others, while still fun and bright. The other options might make me a bit crazy, but that might just be me. I do like that you’re looking at options where the primary color isn’t one of your go-to teals. I like the idea of adding a few more colors to your overall palette. Sounds like you’re making good progress! I’m sure you’ll be excited to move out of the breakfast room. 🙂 Question for your readers – does everyone have a TV in their bedroom? We do not.

    1. We never did until this house. When we moved here is when Matt started having so much trouble, and being so exhausted all the time, so he started spending way more time in the bedroom lying down. Since he spends so much time lying down in bed now, we always have a TV in the bedroom with a Fire stick so that he can have options of watching TV, listening to audio books, playing video games, listening to music, etc.

      1. My husband is disabled, too, and spends a lot of time lying down. We have a TV in our room. With regard to the wallpaper, I like the first option the best. It looks more “you” than the others.

    2. I kind of like the marbled look, but only if you could figure out how not to have such an obvious, glaring, repeat. I’m sure whatever you choose will end up looking pretty cool, even for those of us who might not be able to see it right now.

      1. Love your wall paper, but not so many lines so color is seen more. Love molding ideas. Don’t like any other wall designs.

        1. I love the marble paper but maybe not with the pattern matched? Maybe with strips of molding separating each square for a feature wall?

      2. Squarely in the TV in the bedroom camp. At the end of a long day we like to snuggle up and watch something . Sometimes we’ll start a movie downstairs and finish it upstairs. It doesn’t bother my sleep because we don’t sleep with it on.

    3. I am a “no tv in the bedroom” type. I had one in my room all through high school and college, but I find I sleep better without one. Also, I don’t like to spend time in bed other than at bedtime 🙂

    4. We DO have small TV in our bedroom, but is ONLY used if ine if us is on forced bed rest for any reason (sprains, post surgery, recovering from flu etc.). Otherwise it’s never used.

  2. Regarding your last question – I think the opposite might be better. You are the one who loves bright colors. Your guests may or may not. So the more neutral option might be better in the guest bedroom. And if you love color, I’ve never been one to say your bedroom has to be the one place you don’t use it!

    1. Well, that’s certainly a good point! I never tire of color, but any guest we have certainly might. And Matt just doesn’t care as long as he has a bed to sleep in, a TV to watch, and an outlet to plug in his laptop. 😀

    2. Totally agree. A lot of color and pattern can read as visual color for many people. I think you want to give your guests a place wear they and their eyes can rest.

    3. I love the colorful stripes but I could see it with a design over the top to break it up. Or have you ever thought of different size circles overlapping each other to make a different mix of color?

  3. Lordy, I love that marbled paper. But you’re right about the seams being distracting. It would not make be feel relaxed, which is the point of the room. When you are just looking at one piece, the flow is beautiful.

      1. How would it work to make 3 large acrylic pours on MDF that look like the marbled paper and frame them. All your favorite colors but each a little different???

          1. Exactly what I was thinking too…Kristi could make a marble look painting in the colors she prefers – no seams. And I also love the nailhead design if something quieter is decided on. Both very unique options.

      2. There has to be a printing company out there that can make one large mural paper. I know you have used Spoonflower but maybe there is one that specializes in large scale. .?

      3. I love both the marbled paper and the nailhead idea too. You could change your plan for one big framed area to more of a board and batten with each frame the width of your paper to avoid the mismatched seams touching. I’m not sure how that would look without a mockup and it wouldn’t be the same look you have in mind but just thought it was worth a mention.

      4. That’s exactly what I was wondering! That could be gorgeous and you could choose your own colors that way as well! I also love the nailhead trim option and think that would be an inviting and unique option for your guests. Can’t wait to see what you decide!! I know it will be amazing!

      5. What about painting the marbled look on the whole insert so that there are no repeating patterns, but one whole cohesive look? That way you can choose your own colors and there are no seams.

  4. This first wallpaper is super cool. Make a happy room for your guests. What about the stripes with that white pattern concept over it so the Bright lines aren’t as literal. I like the lines repeating out like your mock up. That’s a better repeat than the first mock up because you cannot see the colors behind the bed and all you see is eye level. Super super fun!!

  5. The marbled paper reminds me a lot of your fluid acrylic paintings. Not sure how much that paper runs, but it seems like you (of all people!) could make their own marble paper with the exact colors you want. 🙂

  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE the first one!!! (the print with the white squiggly lines) And the picture frame boxes! You are so creative and talented! ❤️

  7. I love your wall paper the best. The marble would drive me crazy. Maybe you could make your own without the pattern repeat.

  8. Grass cloth seams don’t bother me, but the marble paper seams do. I fell in love with the Anthropologie paper but, like you, I am not feeling so much coral. BUT, if you paired a hanging “purse lampshade” on either side of the bed, you could tie in even more bright colors in the stripes that are missing from the wallpaper. (I think I may do a version of this in my own guest room.)

    I agree that I’d make the colorful room your master. But I think you have to gasp when you see something – my true test of whether I’ll love something for a long time.

  9. It seems to me, that guest rooms should be fun. I like the orderliness and the color possibilities of the stripes. Jangly, busy, random prints make me antsy.

    How are you going to dress the bed? Will there be seating in the guest room? (Always appreciated, as is a small table of 30″ height.) If so, what? Any other patterns planned besides what you choose for the wall?

    Off-topic but a thought: I did a huge decorating project in several guest rooms in a facility where guest speakers would be staying for a few nights. A major lesson I learned was to keep horizontal surfaces free of decorative stuff/touches. The guests come in with their own essentials so they need a place to put them. Surfaces fill up fast.

    Decorative bed pillows in excess may look cute but they have to go somewhere at bedtime and that usually will be the floor. The KISS suggestion is a good one.

    Luggage rack, please. While working in a 3 million dollar house as I passed along a hallway, I caught a glimpse of a guest at least 80 years old with arthritic knees attempting to retrieve something from her suitcase that was on the floor. There was no place else to put it. The hostess/owner was hardly the warm-fuzzy type. I don’t think that guest/relative felt welcome, nor anyone else who ever stayed in that room.

    End of speech. Have fun!

  10. I love the wallpaper made from your painting! I find the stripes and the marble effect too much for me, but I know I don’t have the talent for color like you do! Your creativity Awwmazes me and sometimes you take me out of my comfort zone and I find that I LOVE what you did!! So glad you do that!!!

  11. As someone who had many overnight guests, I find that how restful the room was. Of course a good mattress and comfy bedding is a must, but so is a peaceful retreat. I love color! Red is my absolute favorite! But I prefer calm, peaceful colors in my bedrooms.
    **In my opinion (take it or leave it) is that the marble(although love the colors) is too much motion!
    **I do love the colors of the purse, and I think that might just work, but as you said stripes, stripes, stripes everywhere.
    **The confetti wallpaper is nice but it doesn’t have your pizzazz……,you can do better.
    **Your original one with the variety of color is more you….so since it will be awhile before you can tackle the walls, play with that a bit more. You did so well with your studio paper, etc. I just know you will come up with something stunningly Kristi!
    Don’t worry! Don’t rush! You’re decorating sense will prevail in creating a beautiful guest sanctuary!

    1. Oh, boy, my lead off sentence is awful confusing! Let me try that again…..
      As someone who has had many overnight guests over many decades, I found out from guests that how restful a room is most important.

      1. I have to agree with this. I think a guestroom needs to be calming and restful. What you do in your own room can be whatever you like and are comfortable with, but I would stay with something calmer for guests.

  12. I love the nailhead trimmed wall! So elegant and classic. The light gray color combined with that beautiful light color headboard is just gorgeous, imho. As to having the guest room more neutral and saving your colorful design for the master bedroom, I agree.

  13. At the end of the post, my brain immediately went, didn’t Kristi do stripes with nailhead trim in the music room once? What if you did bright stripes AND nailhead on the wall?

    I personally like the wallpaper you created most. The marbled look as wallpaper does not do it for me at all. However, as one big painting/mural, I love it! And you could easily DIY in colors that are bright:

      1. Wow, that is stunning! I’d go for something like that for sure. Otherwise, I like your own wallpaper design much better than any of the other concepts.

  14. I just had another genius thought. In the same vein as the marble/agate look, what if you took one of the high res close-ups of your acryclic resin art and had it printed as a wall mural? Or turned it somehow into a wallpaper? Those are BEAUTIFUL and colorful and fun, and all you!

  15. You’ve always envisioned color for this room. Don’t second guess yourself now. I like the one you designed and would love to see more of your own design options. The marbled look hurts the eyes but would look would look really nice if it were one or two large swirls. I love the colors you have chosen for this room and hope you continue planning with this color pallet.

  16. I like the nailhead design the best. But then I like a room that is quiet and elegant. Your style is not my style, and my style is not yours. go with your gut, but thanks for showing things that stir the imagination of people like me. I usually hang paintings on walls painted a nice color. Bland.

  17. Is there a reason why you are opting for one single molding box on the bed wall, instead of reiterating the three boxes from the opposite wall?

    Having lived in an old house with just this sort of molding on the bedroom walls, I love the idea of the three molding boxes on both walls. I also like the symmetry. In the house I lived in, the molding was painted a semigloss version of the same color as the wall, and it was beautiful, serene, yet had plenty of visual interest without being distracting.

  18. Ok here’s my weird opinion…the one you designed is stunning, the second example looks like a picnic gone seriously wrong – the first things I saw were hotdog buns, ketchup and mustard. The second marble design has a green snake in it.

    Judging by your past designs, you seem to lean toward angles (maybe not the studio paper). But there are no angles in the marbled design. How about the nailhead design on a colorful background? Can you get grasscloth in colors? Or paint it yourself?

  19. I would forget the wallpaper idea. You can practice more on your own sample design, which was great. Use a sponging method, with your preferred color choices, then the white squiggles for accents. No worry of loose wallpaper and it would be less expensive, and an original by you. I’ve done this and everyone thought it was very expensive wallpaper. I’ve had this over 20 years, and people still comment how beautiful it is. My colors are white, cream, light pink, light blue, and lilac. It looks like a restful flower garden, in my guest room. Hope you continue to share your talents with us.

  20. To me personally, the confetti is blah. I love the first mock up you made, even with your ” not perfect” white lines 😋 The stripes wouldn’t be bad, but that marbling would make me dizzy!
    But, that’s just me and I know whatever you end up with will be gorgeous as always!

  21. Could you design a custom wallpaper with a marble design that repeats? The designs that have more of the blue/turquoise are much more restful which might be nice for guests. I also don’t think you can go overboard with stripes. 😀

  22. I think you should buy the purse! Also I’d really love to know how to do what you do in your software to make mockups! Thoughts for a future blog?

  23. Lots of good, colorful options for the guest bedroom. Have you thought of doing your 3 framed areas in poured paints in the colors you want? It would be colorful, and your own work of art.

  24. Nailhead trim on grasscloth. You mentioned before that Matt doesn’t really like pink. And as much as I am about color and fun throughout my place, the bedroom I like to be slightly more relaxing. I think the others would be a bit too loud for a bedroom–great for a living room, dining room, bathoom, gym, etc, but not so much a bedroom. You can get colorful with the furniture and sheets and the like. 🙂

  25. I like your first squiggly line option. Reminds me of old Turkish or Persian designs. Like the marble swirls but the interrupted pattern would drive me buggy! Like the nailhead design. I know you’ll do something amazing. Can’t wait to see it.

  26. I just thought o-o, I seem to remember that your last experiment with nailhead trim ended in you having to remove them in a very painstaking and slow fashion?! It might be that as I don’t like that look I’m biased, but it was the first thing that sprang to my mind and I just want to caution you on a nailhead design if you are not really sure of it 🙂
    I love the ideas about the marbled paper, particularly about having a bigger piece as a wallpaper (if that is doable): And a close-up of your petri dishes sounds fabulous, too! I’m pretty sure that you are going with colours in both the guest bedroom and later on in the master bedroom, and why not?! It’s your style, you love it, and nobody has to use both rooms in one go, so why should one be calm (and perhaps boring) – only because that is the traditional way?? I’m pretty sure you’d be bored with it and change it to a colourful/Kristi look. But as always I love to be here for the ride and am curious to see what you decide and put into action!!

  27. Definitely, your original painting with the white lines – play around with the colors if you wish but that was stunning!

  28. Think of your guests and don’t do anything too crazy! It wouldn’t be relaxing for many people. Save the WOW factors for the rooms you spend your time in, and keep the guest room more subtle and peaceful.

  29. Unpopular opinion: I see that most people are saying making a restful, more neutral room for a guest room. I would have been in that same camp at one time, I love a serene room. However, I stayed at an Airbnb last year that was an absolute jewel box. The whole house was over the top with color. There was a small sitting room that was completely red – walls, trim, ceiling. And we loved it! It was a girls weekend. While in our own homes, we tend to use more neutrals, we loved the color in the bedrooms at the Airbnb. It was fun, different, and something out of the norm for us. If your guests tend to stay only a few night, I say – use all the color! If they stay longer, you might consider something more neutral. IMO

  30. I love love love the first wallpaper you designed and the nail head. Two very different looks. The others didn’t do anything for me at all. That said you have done nail head before, it was a tedious process and you ultimately took it down. So, consider #1…please, please, please. Play with the colors and the pattern if you want to (I actually like what you have done a lot) but stick with your creatively.

  31. Well I think a few others have already commented on how unrestful such a colorful bedroom could be for guests. When I visit friends and family or they visit me, I think of the guest bedroom as a place for them to relax and have their own space at the end of a tiring day of sightseeing or just hanging out.
    I do like the agate wall but I’d rather see it in a single agate like this. Maybe you could design you own and have it printed by one of those companies that does the giant prints.
    Have you given any thought to maybe bringing back the Schumacher birds and butterflies with a headboard in a big pop of a single color? Go to around minute 2 in this old Sarah Richardson video. The rest of the room may be too white for you but the green headboard on the black and white backdrop is nice.

  32. Nailhead trim is very handsome.
    Otherwise, I can imagine a calm pallet and not as much color as you usually do since it’s in the bedroom. Not a fan of bright stripes but the pretty marbling sounds like something you’d do and would work really well.

  33. I really like the all over stencil you did in the dining room. That was a lot of work but filling in this box will be less. Or something like your workshop bath walls. You could make it as colorful as you want or more monochrome and soothing. Don’t give up on the idea of marbled paper somewhere, it’s beautiful.

  34. Krisit, I haven’t read all the replies so I may be repeating someone else’s idea, but that marbled paper is GORGEOUS and reminds me a lot of your acrylic flow paintings. You are so talented, you could likely very easily recreate that marbled paper in exactly the colors you want and with a repeat that flows and is not jarring.

    The confetti wallpaper is cute, but I could not have it in my bedroom – it’s too visually “noisy” for me and I’m one of those weird people who is really affected by stuff like that. On that note, I love your mock up walls because the symmetry is so pleasing to my eyes! The wallpaper you created out of your painting is also just lovely, but again, I’d have to pass on it in a bedroom because it has a lot of movement and it’d keep me up at night! The rainbow stripe is very pretty, too, I can see why you like it.

    I think you should give it a go with creating your own marbled wallpaper. Something about those have a geode-ish look to them, which I also like. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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  35. Hi Kristi…… just a thought…..this is ultimately a “bedroom” where your guests will go to relax and sleep at the end of their day with you, just wondering if a mixed palette of your favorite cool colors might be a little more serene?

  36. My personal feeling as a guest would be a subdued, calm environment to relax. I would choose the “look” of the nailhead but maybe use a different item, maybe a flat bead glued on? My guest room is set up somewhat like a hotel room, with a calm blue and cream overall, and splashes of color in abstract art. Furniture consists of the queen bed, two smallish dressers as nightstands, an upholstered chair, two lamps and a wooden bench. There’s a good sized mirror also, and a walk in closet. Wish I had the same setup when I visit my daughter! Her guest room doubles as a craft room, which is fine to a point, but provides little except a bed and one night stand, that is actually a wooden stool with a tiny lamp. Barely enough floor space to handle our luggage, and the closet is stuffed, so not even a hanger is available. Walls are pepto bismol pink, and bedding is worn former master bedroom items, with flat, lumpy pillows. How did this child come from me? LOL! Lesson here is to pretend you are the guest, not the hostess, and include what makes you comfy WHEN AWAY from home.

  37. This is a general comment. You do you, whatever, you choose. Neither you or guests will be facing that wall once someone is in the bed, they will be facing the opposite wall, unless they want to crane their neck. So go for what makes you smile every time you enter or walk past the room. I have watched you since the condo days and am amazed at what you accomplish.

  38. Squeeee. Kristi, that marbled mulberry paper is almost identical to the fabric I got for my bathroom curtains a few months ago. The colours are so pretty. I picked that particular pattern because of your influence. I tend toward plain bold colours, but I have a very VERY green bathroom and I needed something to break that up. So I took a leaf out of your book and got adventurous. Turned out a treat.

  39. LOVE Sarah Dorsey’s nailhead design, but I also like the marble look, but not the choppy look of the many pieces. Why not create (if possible – I’m sure you could figure it out, lol!) your own marble look that COULD be continuous or match at the seams? Just a thought.

  40. I feel like there are a lot of crazy, beautiful, “marbled” type wall murals out there that would allow you enough coverage for a nice eye-catching headboard area without having to worry with a repeating pattern. I’m not sure if you’re dead set on making your own wallpaper, so just something (else) to consider. Wall26 has popped up a lot in my own searching.

    You could also blow up a HD image of your resin petri dishes…that would be a phenom of a headboard, plus you made it!

  41. Is there a way to stretch one marbled sheet to fit the entire area so there is no repeat? I love the way it looks similar to a geode slice with colors to order, but I would want it like a large abstract piece, without repeat. YMMV