Before and After: This On-Trend DIY Accent Wall with Secret Storage Came Together in 3 Days

published Sep 12, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Living Room
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: empty white room
Credit: Emily R Shaw

Wall murals are a great way to add some bold flair to your space, and it’s double the fun when an accent wall adds storage or function in addition to style.

Designer and TikToker Emily Shaw (@emilyrayna) added a bold and cheery pattern to her space — a blank canvas when she first moved in — using just tape, paint, and a lot of patience.

Credit: Emily R Shaw

Emily chose a very on-trend checkerboard pattern for her DIY accent wall, using yellow and white to create a design that feels a little modern and a little vintage.

Her best DIY advice is to use a laser level to get the lines just right if you’re creating a checkerboard pattern. She created her grid using the laser and penciled lines, and then she labeled every other box with a sticky note so she knew which ones to paint the cheery yellow shade (Benjamin Moore’s Marblehead Gold).

Once the to-be-painted squares were labeled, Emily taped the insides off using Frog Tape. “You’re going to want to paint all of the edges with your base color,” Emily says on TikTok of how to create crisp paint lines. “This will ensure that no paint seeps through.”

Emily says the prep work and painting was time-consuming — it took two days total — but the preparation was worth it. “The peeling is so satisfying, and there are no mistakes,” she says.

To take her wall up a notch, she took another day to add storage to the checkerboard pattern by painting a floating shelf the same yellow as her squares, then mounting shallow square-shaped hinged boxes to to the wall.

Credit: Emily R Shaw

Inside the $7 boxes from Michaels, she keeps jewelry (organized with a tufted ring holder she glued in) and bobby pins (which stick to the magnetic paint she used on one of the inside of the boxes). It’s a clever way to add extra storage without sacrificing the look of her graphic wall treatment.

Emily says if she could change one thing about the project, she would use boxes with 90-degree angle corners, like these from Walmart, instead of boxes with rounded corners so they’d match up exactly with her mural. And according to the comments section on her TikTok page, in her dream world, she’d cut a hole in the wall to create a window into the other room through one of the boxes.

In her TikTok comments, Emily also mentioned how much versatility this project has — the possibilities are seemingly endless in terms of shape, pattern, and color. For example, you could iterate on Emily’s idea by buying a circular wooden box, painting it terracotta, and placing it on one of the oranges on this wall mural, or you could create a honeycomb pattern with hex-shaped boxes.

So. Much. Hidden. Storage. How will you put your own spin on Emily’s clever space-saving mural?