I love the idea of using an accent wall as a way to create a focal point, but I'm much more of a texture person than a color person. So while I've given up the idea of a brightly painted wall, raised panels have officially stolen my heart. With clean geometric lines and timeless appeal, they're the picture of established style.
• This cozy library-esque gathering spot is one of the trillion fabulous elements of 11 Bonita in Birmingham which we featured last week. The dark paneled accent wall gives just enough grandeur to the space without weighing it down the way a fully paneled room would have.
• A fireplace is already a natural focal point, but adding wainscoting or raised paneling around it heightens the visual effect. This on of my favorite rooms from Coastal Living's 2009 Seawatch Idea House.
• Painting the paneling adds texture without adding too much visual weight. There are several companies that distribute pre-fabricated paneling systems. We found the best reviews at Elite Trim Works.