Bring the Outdoors in With a Dark Accent Wall

As you may know, San Francisco is an amazing place to garden. Our Mediterranean climate allows for a huge variety of plants, and our topography lends itself to interesting terraced landscapes. During the summer, though, in much of the city, it rarely gets warm enough to lounge around outside, so we're always trying to think of design ideas to bring the outdoors in. When our friend Bonnie Bridges, a local architect, was helping us choose paint colors for our new house, she suggested a dark accent wall to frame our garden view. We love the result—the bright outdoor landscape really pops against the dark wall, so even on the foggiest days, the garden feels like part of our home...

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Even if your outdoor space and window size are limited, you can make this concept work. A dark-colored accent wall provides a contrast with your view of the outdoors, placing emphasis on whatever that view might be—whether a little window box, a potted balcony, a beautiful street tree, or a full garden.

For our wall (top photo), we chose Benjamin Moore's lovely Bison Brown, which has just the slightest hint of eggplant. The dining room pictured above, from Colorado Homes magazine, goes an even more purple route. If your style is more contemporary, black would be an interesting choice as well.

(Images: Susie Nadler; Colorado Homes)

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