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THE BEST PAINT COLOUR IDEAS FOR ACCENT & FEATURE WALLS

Posted on October 17, 2022 by KylieMawdsley

Which Wall & What Paint Colours?

It’s funny; I never thought I liked feature walls. However, looking at EVERY HOME we’ve lived in – I’ve always had them (and let’s not start counting how many homes we’ve lived in…). What I’ve realized is that I really DO love feature walls; I CRAVE feature walls. What I dislike are MISUSED and abused feature walls. And in my decorative travels, I’ve seen WAY too many of them.

Benjamin Moore, Wish, Eternity, Polo Blue dark navy feature accent wall. Wood flooring, orange sofa. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy decorating, client p

Benjamin Moore Polo Blue feature wall (I have some awesome clients!)

So, what’s the difference between a bad feature wall and a good feature wall? Excuse me while I twitch a bit here…

FEATURE WALLS IDEAS GONE BAD

  • on the wrong wall
  • on too MANY walls
  • in the bathroom (rarely works)
  • doesn’t relate to anything in the room

This bathroom (next) is one of the FEW bathrooms that can support a feature wall. This is because the tub area acts as a feature in itself and suits having a backdrop…

Benjamin Moore Collingwood with Sherwin Williams Peppercorn feature wall in primary bathroom, Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online diy ideas (2)

CHOOSING A GOOD FEATURE WALL

  • highlights a room’s natural architecture
  • adds fake architecture or personality to a room that’s lacking interest
  • picks up/repeats a colour that’s already existing in the room, either on hard surfaces or on linens/artwork/dominant decor
  • nicely contrasts a colour that’s already existing in the room

Best dark room paint colour, Benjamin Moore Knoxville Gray, blue green gray color blend. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint

Benjamin Moore Knoxville Gray

And you might be surprised to hear that I have five feature walls in my home – that’s right, five. Although, you wouldn’t know it because they work off the home’s natural flow and suit the rooms they’re in. It’s like I know what I’m doing or something – wink wink.

Before we get into the best feature room COLOURS, let’s talk about placement.

THE 7 PLACES TO PAINT AN ACCENT OR FEATURE WALL

1. THE HEADBOARD WALL IN A BEDROOM IS A PERFECT ACCENT WALL

Generally, the headboard wall is usually the main one you first see when you walk into a room; you usually walk UP to it. It’s rarely the closet/door wall and isn’t the window wall very often (contrary to a few of my photos). Also, it’s not ideal if you have to walk into the room and have to turn around to see the headboard/feature wall, but again, a particular layout might dictate otherwise!

Benjamin moore White Dove on walls, best white paint colour with gray feature wall in teen girl bedroom. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

2. THE FIREPLACE OR TV WALL MAKES A GREAT FEATURE WALL

When painting around a fireplace, this can be the area above it OR the walls on either side of it. As for a tv wall, it would be the ENTIRE WALL around it. You won’t often find the feature wall colour on the walls beside AND above the fireplace – only when the drywall is one continuous piece rather than having a bump-out above the fireplace.

If the above isn’t totally clear, this next photo shows how only the BUMP-OUT is painted the feature colour, and the walls on either side stay the main colour.

Sherwin Williams Natural Tan, living room wood beams, vaulted ceiling, fireplace, beige sectional, dark wood floors. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting

Family room, tv hung on wall, shiplap feature wall Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray with beige sectional, south facing exposure. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting, advice blog

3. AN ACCENT WALL ON THE BACK WALL OF A HALLWAY OR STAIR LANDING

Sure, it won’t brighten the hallway, but it WILL add personality and depth!

Hallway update with laminate wood look flooring, Benjamin Moore Gray feature wall, Sherwin Williams Creamy and door to bathroom. Kylie M INteriors E-design

4. ADD A FEATURE WALL ON THE MAIN WALL IN A LIVING ROOM OR FAMILY ROOM

The main wall is usually the wall that the longest piece of furniture is on.

Benjamin Moore Hale Navy with beige sectional, best dark blue paint colour. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online color consultant

5. ON A UNIQUE OR INTERESTING PART OF YOUR ARCHITECTURE

What’s unique can REALLY vary depending on the home and the layout. In fact, some features are better left the same colour as the main walls.

Kitchen wood cabinets, Sherwin Williams White Duck, wood beams, feature similiar to Mindful Gray. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, diy blogger

Home office, feature wall Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black with Benjamin Moore Cloud White. E-design and colour consulting services

6. ACCENT WALL ON THE MAIN BACK WALL IN THE DINING ROOM

This often works best when the remaining dining room walls are painted the same colour as the adjoining rooms, just so the palette doesn’t get too busy.

Sherwin Williams Clary Sage, best green paint colour. Kylie M INteriors E-design, online paint color expert blogger

7. A FEATURE WALL IN A STAIRCASE IS A GREAT IDEA

This can be the back wall of the landing area (on a two-part staircase) OR the main wall that runs along one side of the staircase from top to bottom.

photo display in stairwell or stairway

Now, are you ready to get into the juicy stuff? No, we’re not looking in my side table drawer; we’re looking at paint colours!

Not sure what to paint the other walls in your room? The Best Off-White Paint Colours

THE BEST NAVY BLUE & GRAY-BLUE PAINT COLOURS FOR FEATURE / ACCENT WALLS

Blue or gray with a blue undertone is one of my FAVE choices for a feature wall, as it can suit warm AND cool paint colours.

BENJAMIN MOORE HALE NAVY HC 154

Oh, Hale yes! Hale Navy is the King of the navy world. Why? Well, he’s that fine blend between committing to navy blue without going too primary OR too gray.

Benjamin Moore Hale Navy blue feature wall with Chantilly Lace in boys nursery bedroom. Best white paint colour. Kylie M INteriors Edesign online paint colour consultant blog

Chantilly Lace and feature wall in Hale Navy Benjamin Moore in boys nursery bedroom. Kylie M Interiors paint colour reviews online paint consulting blog

The Best Navy Blue Paint Colours

BENJAMIN MOORE ANCHOR GRAY 2126-30

Anchor Gray is a beautiful dark navy blue with a STRONG gray in it, offering a blue but subdued approach compared to the strength of Hale Navy.

Benjamin Moore Anchor Gray, White Dove trim, travertine stacked stone fireplace, tobacco brown leather chairs, gray carpet. Kylie M Interiors E-design, online paint color consulting. Best blue paint

In the above photo, while this colour is wrapped around the room, the idea is to show you the colour beside the fireplace to accent the colours in the stone.

Benjamin Moore Anchor Gray: Paint Colour Review

SHERWIN WILLIAMS CYBERSPACE SW 7076 & WEB GRAY SW 7075

Cyberspace comes in a HOT second place to Hale Navy. Same idea – but a bit grayer while still leaving a great shot of navy on the wall. Web Gray is like a slightly lighter version of Cyberspace and can come across as just a touch grayer.

Family room with stone fireplace, Sherwin Williams Cyberspace, leather, laminate wood flooring, chartreuse chair. Kylie M INteriors E-design and home

Stair landing with open railings to entryway. Shiplap feature wall in staircase. SW Pure White and Web Gray. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour advice blog

Sherwin Williams Cyberspace: Paint Colour Review

Sherwin Williams Web Gray: Paint Colour Review

BENJAMIN MOORE STEEL WOOL 2121-20

Steel Wool is a GRAY paint colour with a subtler, softer approach to blue. It’s more of a soft, medium depth and leans considerably grayer, with more of a blue-purple undertone to it.

Family room with photo gallery wall, gray sectional. Sherwin Williams Creamy and Benjamin Gray feature wall. Hemnes bookcases and accent chair. Kylie M Interiors

Benjamin Moore Steel Wool: Paint Colour Review

THE BEST DARK GRAY & CHARCOAL PAINT COLOURS FOR ACCENT & FEATURE WALLS

While I might lean hard into the blues and gray blues, I have to say that the request I get the most often HAS to be gray – just good old gray. But, as you may or may not know, gray has undertones, so make sure you pick the RIGHT gray for your room!

BENJAMIN MOORE CHELSEA GRAY HC-168

Chelsea Gray is a VERY solid medium-toned charcoal gray with a softness to it, so it’s not an icy cold gray. It can pick up a vague green undertone.

Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray in dining room with white wainscoting and red accents. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint colour consulting expert. Client photo

Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray

Undoubtedly, you’ll be heading out shortly to grab paint samples – stop right there! I want you to check out SAMPLIZE. Samplize offers peel-and-stick paint samples that are more AFFORDABLE, EASIER and more ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY than traditional paint pots. Here are just a few reasons why I recommend Samplize to my clients…

Paint colour review of tool Samplize, peel and stick samples. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, Farrow and Ball, Home Depot. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting

  • samples arrive ON YOUR DOORSTEP in 1 DAY, depending on the location
  • they’re more affordable than the samples pots/rollers/foam boards that are needed for traditional paint sampling
  • if you keep the samples on their white paper, you can move them around the room

Visit the SAMPLIZE website HERE

BENJAMIN MOORE AMHERST GRAY HC-167

Amherst Gray is a DARK gray paint colour similar to Chelsea Gray, but it has more depth (more in the med-dark range) and can also grab that wink o’ green.

Benjamin Moore White Dove painted cabinets, Amherst Gray feature or accent walls, zellige tile backsplash, white quartz countertops. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

Paint Colour Review of Benjamin Moore Amherst Gray

SHERWIN WILLIAMS DOVETAIL SW 7018 & DORIAN GRAY SW 7017

Dovetail is a medium-toned warm gray paint colour. It favours a vague purple undertone and can grab THE TINIEST touch of green, but it rarely shows up to the party. Dorian Gray is a lighter version and is slightly more likely to grab that wink o’ green.

Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray, linen headboard. Kylie M E-design, online paint colour, decorating consultant

Read more…

Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Dovetail

Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Dorian Gray

BENJAMIN MOORE ESCARPMENT CC 518

Escarpment is a beautiful, considerably warm gray paint colour with a decent, but not overwhelming purple undertone.

Master bedroom, Benjamin Moore Collingwood with Escarpment feature, accent wall. Kylie M Interiors Decorating and E-design

SHERWIN WILLIAMS GAUNTLET GRAY SW 7019

Gauntlet Gray is the med-dark version of Dovetail, so it has more body and visual weight.

Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray, dark paint color in small bathroom powder room, granite countertop, wainscoting. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, update ideas

Paint Colour Review of Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray

Thank you to all of my Colour Consulting clients for sending in your after photos – you make my colourful little world go round! 

BENJAMIN MOORE KITTY GRAY 1589

This one is a personal fave, as shown in the hallway of our old home. Kitty Gray is a medium-dark charcoal with a GOOOORGEOUS green-blue hue. I can’t WAIT to get the chance to use this colour again somewhere in our new home.

Benjamin Moore Kitty Gray feature art wall with Collonade Gray. Ken Kirkby totem pole original painting. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, virtual paint color expert

Sherwin Williams 10 Best Gray and Greige Paint Colours

SHERWIN WILLIAMS GRIZZLE GRAY SW 7068

Grizzle Gray is a nice blend between gray and green. It’s MOST definitely not a gray with a passive green undertone, but it’s also not a strong green – it’s right in the middle!

Family room, tv hung on wall, shiplap feature wall Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray with beige sectional, south facing exposure. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint colour consulting, advice blog

Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray: Paint Colour Review

THE BEST GREIGE, TAUPE & BROWN COLOURS FOR A FEATURE OR ACCENT WALL

With trends leaning warmer, it’s no surprise to see more dark greige, taupe and brown on the scene. So, let’s see what we’ve got…

What’s the Difference Between Greige and Taupe?

SHERWIN WILLIAMS KEYSTONE GRAY SW 7054

Keystone Gray is a beautiful, soft, medium-toned greige that slightly favours beige warmth over gray, but not by much.

Maple kitchen update with Benjamin Moore White Dove and Sherwin Dovetail island, Keystone Gray walls. White quartz countertops. Kylie M Interiors Edeign, online paint color consultant

BENJAMIN MOORE BROWN HORSE 2108-30

Brown Horse is brown but not overly fudgy (a technical term) NOR grayed-out.

Dark bedroom with gold and yellow accents with dark wood furniture. Benjamin Moore Brown Horse

BENJAMIN MOORE KINGSPORT GRAY HC-86

Kingsport Gray is a classic neutral paint colour nestled nicely between gray and brown. It’s more likely to favour brown over gray, but not by a HUGE amount.

Edesign, online color consulting. Kylie M Interiors Benjamin Moore colour expert. Feature accent wall in Kingsport Gray, other walls Accessible Beige, upholstered headboard

SHERWIN WILLIAMS ANONYMOUS SW 7046

If you aren’t afraid of green, Anonymous is WICKED gorgeous, showing up as a solid medium-toned greige with a gorgeous green undertone.

Paint colour palette including Sherwin Williams Collonade Gray, Anonymous in powder room and Benjamin Moore Gibraltar Cliffs feature wall. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color consultant

While the above photo isn’t showing a feature wall (in the powder room), it acts as a feature of sorts to the hallway, as the room was small enough to be wrapped up in it!

SHERWIN WILLIAMS BACKDROP SW 7025

Backdrop is a brown paint colour with a REALLY nice dose of gray in it, making it ALMOST taupe with its soft violet undertone.

BENJAMIN MOORE WHITTALL BROWN HC-69

Whitall Brown is a beautiful brown paint colour with a slightly mocha-inspired approach. It’s a softer approach compared to the depth and richness of Brown Horse.

THE BEST PAINT ‘COLOURS’ FOR A FEATURE OR ACCENT WALL

If you’re in the mood for MORE colour, I get it; I love colour too. But, for mass appeal, I focused most of my efforts on the most popular colours my clients ask for. If you need help picking your fave colour, I’d love to take a look at your home via my E-design! Otherwise, let’s take a quick boo at a few beauties…

BENJAMIN MOORE TAWNY ROSE 2173-20

Tawny Rose is a rich, rusty paint colour. Not red, not orange, not brown, just a beautiful blend of them all!

Feature wall in Benjamin Moore Tawny Rose, Gentle Cream, open layout dining and family room. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint colour consulting. ARtez photography

Photo by Artez Photography

Similar to Tawny Rose are Cinnamon, which is a bit more orange/bright and Sienna, which is a bit darker and more grounded.

BENJAMIN MOORE SMOKED OYSTER 2109-40

I love me some Smoked Oyster. Not only does it taste great on crackers, but it also looks beautiful on a feature wall! Just be sure not to mix the two up, or you could have some stanky walls and a terrible snack.

Feature or accent wall fireplace Benjamin Moore Smoked Oyster, purple paint colour. Benjamin Moore Stone House. Beige carpet. Kylie M Interiors Edesign, online paint color consulting, advice blog

The Best Purple Paint Colours

BENJAMIN MOORE AZURE WATER 677 or GULFSTREAM 670

Here’s a nice pop of colour for you! Azure Water and Gulf Stream or both gorgeous teal colours, so they’re blue-green blends. They both have a bit of gray to calm them down, but Azure Water has MUCH more, whereas Gulf Stream has very little. Azure Water is a bit calmer, and Gulf Stream is a bit more fun. Tim is Azure Water; I am Gulf Stream.

Benjamin Moore White Dove on walls and trim with teal feature wall in kids girls bedroom with swinging chair. Kylie M Interiors Edesign

BENJAMIN MOORE STRATTON BLUE HC 142

Benjamin Moore Stratton Blue is a very soft, medium-depth blue-green blend with some gray to calm it down. And while it’s not as punchy as the previous shades, it offers a WICKED pretty contrast to white trim!

Benjamin Moore Stratton Blue, wainscoting in dining room dark wood furniture, vintage style. Best blue green paint colour. Kylie M Edesign. Edgecomb in hallway

The 8 Best Blue-Green Blend Paint Colours

THE BEST DARK & BLACK PAINT COLOURS FOR AN ACCENT / FEATURE WALL

I love dark paint colours, either on a feature wall or in an entire room. But not EVERY room can pull them off. Sometimes colours with darker LRVs are just too much for a space and overwhelm it. Make sure you have the lighting and decor before you commit to one of these bad boys.

The Ultimate Guide to Paint Colours and LRV

BENJAMIN MOORE GRAY 2121-10

You’ll have NO luck finding Gray by its name alone, as Pinterest will show you ALL of Benjamin Moore’s gray paint colours! You need the number/code to find this bad boy – and he’s worth looking at! Gray 2121-10 is a damn dark charcoal with a passive blue-purple undertone. Remember, blue can swing a few different ways, so make sure you’re getting the type of blue you like the most!

Hallway update with laminate wood look flooring, Benjamin Moore Gray feature wall, Sherwin Williams Creamy and door to bathroom. Kylie M INteriors E-design

SHERWIN WILLIAMS IRON ORE SW 7069

Iron Ore. He’s deep, he’s dark, he’s moody, and he’s a great way to get the contrast of a black without the stark/harsh look of it. Iron Ore can also pick up a vague, almost green undertone. I painted our home office this colour in our last home, fondly referred to as the home from Hell, our ‘summer home’, but didn’t get a good shot of it as I was too wrapped up in my wine-infused misery.

However, I DO have a great shot of it in my Colour Consulting client’s home; check it out…

Iron Ore soft black feature accent wall in kitchen with formica marble look countertop, concrete floor. Budget friendly ideas to update, Kylie M

BENJAMIN MOORE RACCOON FUR 2126-20 or WROUGHT IRON 2124-10

Raccoon Fur and Wrought Iron give me the warm fuzzies – but that’s because I love double-ds. Hey, not THOSE kinds of double-dd (a girl can dream) but the OTHER kind – paint colours that are deep and dark. Raccoon Fur and Wrought Iron are similar, being NOT quite black paint colours. They’re just a fine blend of black, blue (with a purple undertone) and dark gray.

Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur feature accent wall with Pure White and art gallery style display in bedroom. Kylie M INteriors Edesign, online paint color specialist

Moody dramatic feature wall lin bedroom. Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur with Sherwin Pure White. Kylie M INteriors Edesign. Gallery style artwork

I have Wrought Iron (not shown above) in our master bedroom, and it’s wicked gorgeous. However, Tim’s always leaving his undies around, so I haven’t been able to snap a great photo yet. Regardless, you’ll find that Wrought Iron is just a bit more blackish and slightly less colourful than Raccoon Fur.

Paint Colour Review: Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron

And don’t forget; DOORS make for awesome feature areas too! See if your interior doors or the inside of your front door can handle a little personality, like these GORGEOUS black doors in this next photo…

Wrought Iron painted black navy blue interior doors with Eider White walls white trim. Kylie M

And to cover a few questions you might have…

SHOULD AN ACCENT WALL BE LIGHTER OR DARKER?

Feature walls are usually DARKER than their surrounding walls. If you want a subtle contrast, choose a feature colour approximately two shades darker than your main colour. On the other hand, If you want some serious drama and contrast, check out DARKER colours that are MANY shades darker or even entirely different COLOURS for your main walls!

Benjamin Moore Maritime White bathroom and bedroom, travertine tile, Sherwin Urbane Bronze feature accent wall. Kylie M (2)

Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze offers a high-contrast look to Sherwin Williams Moderate White

WHAT’S THE BEST PAINT COLOUR FOR A FEATURE WALL?

These days, I’d say the two most POPULAR feature wall colours are Sherwin Williams Dovetail and Benjamin Moore Charcoal Slate – but ask me tomorrow as they change all the time!

ARE PAINTED ACCENT OR FEATURE WALLS STILL TRENDY?

While I wouldn’t say feature walls are POPULAR, how good they look is relative to the home they’re in. OVERALL, no, feature walls aren’t overly trendy, but this doesn’t mean your home won’t suit one.

CAN I PAINT MORE THAN ONE WALL AN ACCENT COLOUR IN A ROOM?

If you want to paint two walls an accent colour, you risk diluting its effect. Sure, some more UNIQUELY shaped rooms can handle this, but the average room is BEST with only ONE wall in a feature or accent colour.

So, there you have it, my funny friends!

RELATED BLOG POSTS

The Best Navy Blue Paint Colours for Cabinets, Feature Walls and More

The 6 Best Dark Greige & Taupe Paint Colour: Sherwin Williams

Vining Ivy: PPGs Colour of the Year (A Colour REVIEW)

The Best Off-White Paint Colours 

Sherwin Williams: 5 of the Best Neutral Paint Colour

Not sure what to paint the OTHER walls in your room? Not sure what YOUR best feature wall colour is?

Check out my Online Paint Colour Consulting packages! 

edesign, virtual paint colour consulting. Kylie M Interiors Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams color expert. marketing (15)

Chat soon,

Kylie M Interiors, decorating blog, e-design, online colour consulting expert. signature

Originally written in 2019, updated in 2022



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Comments

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      Oh you are too funny 😉 Seriously, I HAVE to do a blog post on that – thanks for the reminder! I get so excited about other ideas and get distracted!

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  1. Great post, as always.
    The chandelier in the first photo is gorgeous! Can I ask where I can possibly buy one?
    Thanks so much!

  2. I fell in love with SW Gauntlet Gray as soon as I saw it at our home improvement store and have been planning on using it for my cabinet painting project in a few weeks. My husband said it was too “moody” of a color to use in the kitchen, but I think it would contrast well with our light-colored floors and light green feature wall with bead boards. Do you think it would still be a good color to use on kitchen cabinets?

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      Well, I think Gauntlet Gray is a STUNNER, as long as it suits the floor, countertops and backsplash. HOWEVER, I do worry about it with the light green feature wall, as light green isn’t a colour I would normally partner with Gauntlet Gray 🙂

  3. Hi ! Great post! i have snowbound on my trim and fireplace and I want to do a feature wall on fireplace, we love blue/navy/charcoal (all of the above really) but they all seem so cold against the snowbound. (in our house it looks a very sharp white). I would love your recommendation for a colour that is dark but warm with snowbound? Even a green or green undertone ?

  4. Hi Kylie! Loving all of your info! Wondering what wall would work best for a feature wall in our bedroom. We have a tall headboard that is at a diagonal in the corner between the North and West walls. Both walls have large windows on them almost the entire length of the wall. This is the only place our tall headboard fits. So I would almost have to paint both walls the feature color to make it not look awkward. I don’t want to make it feel boxy by having two feature walls and two neutral walls. Or should I paint the longest wall in our room which is the South Wall that you do not see as you walk in so you would have to turn to see it. The south wall has the door into the bedroom. It would have our tall armoire and I could dress that wall up with a feature picture Etc. The East wall is nothing special, it is our dresser with mirror and also closet door so I don’t think that would make the best feature wall either. I love the idea of creamy gray walls with a blue / Grey feature wall. Just not sure which wall is best!! Thanks for any info you send my way! Your blog posts have saved me from many mistakes already 🙂

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  5. Hi Kylie, My whole house is Alpaca, I want to do an accent wall in my bedroom. Thinking about Mink, Backdrop or Gibraltar. What are your thoughts?
    Thanks.

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  6. Would love to get Input on choosing paint colors for the adjoining walls of an Accent Wall. Like if accent wall in a bedroom with minimal light is Indigo batik torn on side walls. Trim and ceiling is alabaster. Trying to decide if walls should be alabaster too or do a light blue gray. Don’t want to take away from the focus wall though

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