Two-Toned Walls Will Help You Add More Color to Your Home on a Budget

published Jul 11, 2023
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If I had to describe two-toned walls in just one word, I’d most definitely refer to them as “fun.” They add so much life into a space, and they’re a great way to showcase two favorite colors at the same time. Even better, you can create two-toned walls on a budget and in a weekend’s time — particularly if you use paint left over from a previous DIY project. All you really need to pull off this look is paint and some painter’s tape, but you can also freehand a design or work wallpaper into your scheme, too. 

I’ve seen so many examples of different color combos used for two-toned walls, from true half-walls to far more amorphous configurations. While many people opt to keep part of their walls white — usually the top portion — and then use a bold hue as their grounding secondary color (after all, it’s half the work if you already have white walls!), you can certainly select two vibrant colors from the start if that’s more your speed. (Neon pink and turquoise, anyone?)

Below, I’m sharing seven of my favorite two-toned walls from past Apartment Therapy home tours with the hopes that maybe you’ll get inspired to tackle this fairly easy DIY project in your home. Your biggest challenge? Picking out your colors!

This Oregon apartment showcases a pretty straightforward example of a two-toned wall. Here, the renter opted to use a light green and white combo in her bedroom, which makes for an ultra-soothing setup. Note that she didn’t divide her wall down the middle and paint even sections (although that is certainly something you can do if you’re big on symmetry). Instead, she opted for a larger white area and used the green as more of a grounding border. If you love the look of wainscoting and want to fake something similar in a temporary home, consider this a possible approach for doing that. 

Credit: Emilio Diaz

Alternatively, maybe your home already features wainscoting, yet you still crave a bit of extra oomph. While you could, of course, paint the wainscoting one color and use another hue on the rest of the wall, why not take things a step further? Here, a San Francisco condo features a dazzling, swirly blue and white mural above the wainscoting; it’s a two-toned design choice that adds major intrigue to a long hallway. 

Paint isn’t the only way to embrace a two-toned look; you can also install patterned wallpaper to pretty things up. Here, a cheerful floral print adds a warm and eclectic touch to this Portland rental home. It’s bound to be a hit with kids and adults alike. 

Why should your work-from-home setup be bland when it can feature a colorful, two-toned wall? This U.K. homeowner covered part of the wall beside her desk in orange. If anything will help you power through an afternoon slump, it’s a bright, funky shade, right? 

If you’re hesitant to commit to covering even a quarter of your wall in a new paint color, but are still looking to add a touch of red (or pink, orange, green — you name it!) to your white walls, try an approach like what was done in this small Seattle studio apartment. There, a squiggly painted line transforms an empty corner by striking a retro tone in the space.

This sweet bedroom in an Irish home is another example of a two-toned wall featuring a mix of paint and wallpaper. The pink floral wall covering complements the nearby pink accent wall wonderfully, too.

Who says that bathrooms can’t have a little personality? This one in Decatur, Georgia, is full of life and color. Before the owners gave it a makeover, it was super cookie-cutter. Factors including light fixtures and art can work wonders in transforming a space even further once you’ve landed on your two-toned wall colors and coverings.