Skip to Content

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall

Last week, I shared the bright and bold accent wall we recently added to my son’s room.  It was my first attempt at an accent wall, and it also was a little crazy in terms of the design….it’s definitely not your typical painting project!

I’m a very visual person and I also love me a plan, so I decided to first create a mockup of the design in Photoshop Elements before diving into the actual painting.  This not only helped me figure out the exact placement of all the lines of painter’s tape and where each color would be painted (yes, slightly OCD), but it also helped me get my vision out of my head and onto virtual paper….which then allowed my husband to have an “Ohhhhhh, I see what you mean now” moment.

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall | Where The Smiles Have Been

[Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.]


Needless to say, creating a mockup of the accent wall was a HUGE time-saver and stress-reliever, and I would highly encourage anyone planning a similar project to do the same.  Here I’ll give you some examples of just how Photoshop (or any other design program) can help you paint your accent wall!

{Oh, I am by no means a Photoshop expert, so my mockups are a capital R-O-U-G-H rough…they’re not to scale and are far from the professional mockups you see on HGTV, but they get the job done.  I was just going for the gist of my ideas and a general visualization, but feel free to beautify yours up though!  So don’t worry, only basic tools are used here and you don’t need to be a graphic designer to create and use a mockup!}


How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall

Using Photoshop or another design program to create a mockup of your accent wall allows for some pretty big advantages:

  1. You get to create countless ideas and designs before ever touching your actual wall.
  2. You’re able to share your vision with others before beginning.
  3. When it is time to start your actual DIY project, having a mockup to refer to will save you TONS of time, especially if using painter’s tape or shapes.


The Basic Tools

These are the basic tools I used when creating these mockups in Photoshop:

  • Brush: Used to apply virtual paint colors.
  • Eraser: Used to clean up any rogue brush strokes or virtual painter’s tape lines across window/furniture.
  • Shape Tool:
    • Line Tool: Used to show where painter’s tape will be applied or where stripes will be painted.
    • Other Shapes: Used to show polka dots or what other painted/vinyl shapes would look like.
  • New Layer: Added so any erasing will not remove parts of original wall picture and for opacity adjustments.
  • Opacity: Used to tone down virtual paint and see any design elements (i.e. frames) left on the wall.

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall | Where The Smiles Have Been


Open Up Picture in Photoshop

The first thing I did was open up a picture of the wall I’d be painting in Photoshop.  If you’re really ahead of the game, you can absolutely move any furniture, pictures, curtains, or other items out of the way prior to taking a pic of your wall so you have a total blank slate.

I, however, was not too concerned about this (and my lazy streak won out again), so I just used a picture from a couple years ago when we completed my son’s nursery prior to his arrival….I’m all about good enough, and that it certainly was.

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall | Where The Smiles Have Been


Add Elements to Create Different Designs

Once your picture is open, you can then start playing with different designs and create as many mockups as you’d like.  Below are several examples I created while trying to determine what we’d end up doing in my son’s room.

Horizontal Stripes: I like to use the Line Tool to help visualize where any painter’s tape will be applied and then leave the base color upon removal.  So, in this example with horizontal stripes, I first created a new blank layer then used the Line Tool and added in the gray painter’s tape lines (which each became separate layers).

I then went back to the new layer I added at the start, and using my Brush Tool, painted in the various paint colors I’d be using (in this case, they were orange, turquoise, and lime green).  Then I cleaned up any rogue brush strokes with the Eraser Tool and decreased the opacity of this layer a bit to tone down the brightness of the virtual paint.

{NOTE: You could also use your Line Tool some more instead of the Brush to add the painted virtual stripes…’s whatev.}

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall | Where The Smiles Have Been


Color Block: Here’s a mockup showing a color block design.  This one was much simpler, but it still makes a BIG impact.

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall | Where The Smiles Have Been


Polka Dots/Other Cut Out Shapes: I also considered doing polka dots or other shapes, either by painting them on or cutting them out as vinyl decals with my Silhouette Cameo.  For this, the Shape Tool came in handy.

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall | Where The Smiles Have Been


Random Colored Shapes: Ultimately I wanted something a little more unique and impactful, so I made a mockup of random colored shapes on the entire wall (I told you it was crazy!).  This would be an easier painting project than the horizontal stripe example from earlier because it would require ZERO measuring!  That’s my kind of project!

This mockup was created in the same manner, though, using the Line Tool for the painter’s tape placement followed by the Brush Tool to represent the paint.  With this one, however, I included the entire wall and didn’t erase the parts blocked by the furniture.  I wanted to see all of the shapes to make sure the sizes and colors were even across the entire wall.

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall | Where The Smiles Have Been


The Completed Accent Wall!

And here’s how the completed bright and bold accent wall turned out!  It matches the mockup pretty darn closely, and I can tell you that having that mockup sped up the placement of the painter’s tape and the actual painting BIG TIME….the actual taping and painting only took ONE DAY!  Who doesn’t love a one-day DIY home improvement project??

How Photoshop Can Help You Design & Paint an Accent Wall | Where The Smiles Have Been

Without it, I can’t even imagine the bickering my husband and I would have engaged in….trust me, creating a mockup of your accent wall could very well save your marriage!  Only slightly kidding…. ;)

And I guess Photoshop helps you more with the designing of your accent wall as opposed to the actual painting of it, but still….you need to do it!  It’s a DIY life saver!

Bright & Bold Accent Wall! | Where The Smiles Have Been


If you enjoyed this, be sure and check out my Project Gallery for more ideas on using Photoshop as well as home decor and other crafty goodness!

Also, if you’re looking for even more ways to add a custom style to your walls, make sure you check out Shutterfly!  They offer a variety of personalized wall art and home décor….some very cool stuff indeed!


Want to Check Out Some More Amazing Accent Walls??

If you’re a fellow fan of accent walls, come check out my Pinterest board that is dedicated to some truly amazing designs!

Follow Christine {WhereTheSmilesHaveBeen}’s board Amazing Accent Walls on Pinterest.

Thanks so much for stopping by!



Saturday 25th of April 2015

I so wish I had Photoshop! There are so many cool things you can do with it. That accent wall turned out great! You have so much more patience than I do. I don't even have the patience to paint a wall a single color lol. Thank you for sharing with us at Merry Monday!


Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Thanks so much, Amanda! Yeah, I'm not a fan of painting a wall a single color either. This accent wall wasn't a pain to do though, seriously! Maybe I was just so excited to see the final product, but it was really easy...and not annoying! :)