In a world where blah white walls are the go-to for most apartments, especially rentals, consider this: feature wall ideas, also known as accent wall ideas, are a simple way to elevate and transform your space. “It’s such an easy way to add personality to a room without making a huge commitment,” says Elizabeth Rees, founder of Chasing Paper, a removable wallpaper company. “You’ll be able to do this with minimal investment while making a huge stylish impact.”If you believe conceptualizing a feature wall is a daunting task, it’s relatively easy, depending on the materials used. And even better, if you’re a renter concerned about losing your security deposit, some accent wall ideas are a cinch to undo. Here, top experts share their favorite ways to get the job done.

Identify an Impact Wall for an Accent Wall

removable wallpaper accent wall

Removable wallpaper becomes a focal point in a bedroom. (Chasing Paper)

Depending on how your apartment is set up, there are usually ‘impact walls,’ Rees says. In the bedroom, the wall with the most impact is typically the wall where the bed is against, and, in your living room, that wall is the one that you see right when you walk into a room. “Putting your feature wall there piques the interest of anyone who walks into the space,” she says.

Removable Wallpaper is 100% Reversible

As a renter, you may worry about using peel and stick wallpaper, but Rees says most wallpapers, hers included, are safe to use on eggshell or semi-gloss paint. There are so many wallpaper options to take your dull walls to the next level, and, in fact, Rees started her company in her tiny West Village apartment, which had lots of original charm but needed a little bit of personality. “Those hints of color, print, or pattern can be very inviting and exciting for people,” she says. “People want to customize and really feel at home in their space, and spicing up a wall can upgrade your home.” And lucky for you, we share how to apply and remove wallpaper.

Plan Your Accent Wall Design

Avoid a major headache when you plan your accent wall ideas by gathering the supplies you need. It’s especially vital if you’re making a wood slat wall. “For example, use painters tape to help visualize your design on the wall you are working on,” says Maija Gust, a blogger at Mai Happy Home. “This will also help you make accurate measurements while planning your supply list.”

Don’t Upstage Your Feature Wall

Black accent wall lends drama

A black accent wall makes a dramatic statement. (Adam Kane Macchia)

A clean, uninterrupted wall makes the best feature wall, says Liz Caan, an interior designer in Boston. “A wall that has lots going on such as windows, a door or a fireplace — isn’t a good place for an accent wall,” she says. “For example, in this New York City “pied-à-terre, I used accent walls to add definition and to ground the art and furnishings in an otherwise boring space.”

Manhattan Rentals Under $2,500 on StreetEasy Article continues below

The Need to Know About Wood Accent Walls

Wood Accent Wall in NYC Apartment

A faux shiplap wall enlivens this NYC dining room. (From a listing at 534 W. 42nd St. #4)

If you’re making a feature wall using lumber, be sure your budget is up for the challenge. “You’d be surprised at how much wood certain accent designs require — it can get expensive fast,” Gust says. “I created a wall for $175, which included wood, liquid nails, paint, and supplies. There are dozens of ways to make accent walls affordable, but if you are doing a large wall or have an intricate design, it may cost you more than you originally thought.”

Play With Patterned Wallpapers

Accent wall living room

(Chasing Paper)

Patterned wallpapers are always trending, but too much pattern in too small of a space can make a room feel busy or claustrophobic. So, to indulge your adventurous side without going overboard, paper one wall in a punchy print. (Note to renters: as we mentioned earlier, removable wallpaper is your friend.) A graphic pattern, like a fun flamingo motif, anchors an otherwise neutral space and will get everyone talking next time you have friends over for dinner.

Floor to Ceiling Shelves Make a Great Accent Wall

Floor to ceiling shelves accent wall

(From a listing at 543 Broadway #2)

If you’re hesitant to alter your walls and you’re also starved for storage — we’re with you — consider a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit. It’s one of our favorite accent wall ideas for creating the perfect place to show off your favorite books, photos, and objects. Whites shelves will really let your pictures and knick-knacks pop.

Inspired to find your next place in New York? Whether you’re looking to rent or to buysearch NYC apartments on StreetEasy.