When you are on a budget, one of the easiest and sometimes most powerful ways to add interest to a wall is with paint. What if you decided to add an accent color to only half of each wall? That is right, half. Lazy? No, this design decision is often actually quite strategic. Placement of color is just as powerful or sometimes more powerful than the color itself. A technique like this is pretty easy to achieve, but make sure you use a level! Below are a few examples.
Subtle millwork may have otherwise gone unnoticed, but the dark green highlights the simple baseboard, plinth and door trim profiles. The height of the accent color seems to have been determined by that window sill height.
A collaboration between Ghislaine Vinas Interior Design and David Hotson Architects a great example of using an accent color on the wall to tie in to a decorative element like curtains. This orange-red paint lines up exactly with the top of the orange-red accent on the curtains and also modernizes the millwork. In addition, this hue compliments the blueish gray carpet. If you look at the traditional color wheel, orange and blue are complimentary colors (a little color theory factoid for you there).
This European apartment has wonderful examples of using an accent color on part of the wall to point out design elements. In the kitchen, the black is used as a visual backsplash, melting into the dark countertop. Surrounding the desk, the black and pink hues meet at the bottom of the lowest display shelf. The black seems as if it is supporting the lowest shelf while the shelves above are floating. As you may have noticed, all the photos throughout are black and white. In the far right image, one can see that the photography was placed quite intentionally where the black and pink sections of the wall meet, making the artwork part of the overall wall composition.