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back in black: our cheerful black accent wall

The title of this post is brought to you by 1) Matt’s true, unconditional love of 80’s rock and 2) our shiny (well, eggshell-y) new black wall. If you have been anywhere within ten feet of me in the last eleven months or have read this post or this post, you know that I have had the itch to paint this wall black for a long time. It started almost a year ago when I saw this house tour on Apartment Therapy, and I just couldn’t get it out of my head. From there, I created a Pinterest board for my favorite black walls/black inspiration images. These are a few of them:

black accent wall inspiration

When we decided to stay in this apartment for another year, I decided to shut up about it and just do it already. I didn’t succeed in shutting up about it (sorry, literally everyone I’ve had human interaction with for the past two weeks), but I (we) did do it. As you can see above, I love a black wall with a slight sheen to it. And I wanted it to be cheerful. A dark, black, cheerful accent wall. What, like it’s hard?

This is the part where we make our vlogging debut, all dressed up in our painting finest. Real talk: never, ever, pause this video or play it slowly. If you do, not only will you see me looking supes disgusting but more importantly, I think Samara from The Ring will like crawl through your screen and kill you and dump you in a well. I urge you to heed my warning.

This was our painting process, in case you didn’t pick up every detail from the 27 second timelapse video:

  1. Remove everything from wall including art and outlet covers (except for our shelf and TV mounts, because those were going to stay in place.)
  2. Wipe down wall with a damp rag to remove dust.
  3. Tape trim with painter’s tape.
  4. Use a brush to cut in along trim and around covers/anything the roller might not be able to get close to.
  5. Paint the majority of the wall using a roller for maximum coverage/minimum brushstrokes.
  6. Use this handy edger to cut in along corners and ceiling. It’s quicker than putting up painter’s tape everywhere and gives a really straight line. The tricky part is not letting any paint get on the wheels that it rolls on.
  7. Keep a damp cloth on your person for any slip-ups. We had a few, but a damp cloth took care of them pretty quick.
  8. Step back and admire your new black wall.

To remind you, here’s what it looked like before:

gallery wall around TV

Nothing wrong with it, per se…just couldn’t shake the urge to paint it. I felt like not only would it look great and help our art stand out, but that it would help our very lovely, but very “big box” apartment feel a little less generic.

Guys. Why didn’t we do this sooner?? We love it. There are a few imperfections in the form of some spots where we smudged the wall, but they are pretty minuscule and just not where your eye lands. We ended up doing a very easy second coat with the roller and that was what we needed for really smooth, even coverage. As a person who has definitely gotten knee-deep into some painting jobs that I knew weren’t going to turn out the way I wanted (I can’t apologize to my college roommates for that awful, lime-green bathroom enough), I’m just thrilled with how it turned out. It’s exactly what I pictured. Scroll down for all the after pics, an art source list, paint color, AND a giveaway.

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

a cheerful black accent wall

Honestly, though. It took about two hours total with prep + paint. Putting up the art the next day took about thirty more minutes. On that note – I grabbed two new pieces , knowing that I wanted add a bit more art and up the cheerfulness by a few degrees. Here are the art sources, clockwise starting with the Austin print on the far left: (all that are available are linked)

  1. Austin neighborhoods print in an Ikea frame (new!)
  2. My aunt’s photograph of a bistro table in Paris
  3. Georgia O’Keeffe skull print (larger size) in a Target frame
  4. Wooden kiwi statue- vintage
  5. Small blue plate 
  6. Illustration of Finn in a West Elm frame (12.5 square)
  7. Fleetwood Mac lyric print in a Target frame
  8. Hello Sunshine print in a Target frame (new!)
  9. Edward Gorey book
  10. Georgia O’Keeffe poppies print in a Target frame
  11. Social Print Studio Instagram picture of Matt and I in an Ikea frame
  12. Fritz Scholder lithograph in a custom copper frame from Hobby Lobby

Paint color- Kelly-Moore “Yin Mist” in an eggshell finish-but we added 60 shots or so of black pigment to deepen the hue.

a cheerful black accent wall

One benefit that could 100% be in my head or could be real is that I feel like it’s a bit cooler in the living room. This room gets a ton of afternoon sun and it is HOT in Austin this summer, so the room gets pretty warm in the afternoons. I feel like it’s been a bit more manageable since painting. Just in case you needed one more tiny, possibly made-up reason to paint your wall black. Like that’s the one detail that’s going to send you over the edge. “Well, I wasn’t sure, but Molly said that it MAY affect the temperature by about a degree, so LET’S DO IT!”

a cheerful black accent wall

But really, if you’re sitting there hemming and hawing, and you’re like “love this idea, but I hate doing things” or you have never painted before and you feel nervous or you don’t have time or WHATEVER, but you still want to get stuff done–might I introduce Thumbtack? It’s a handy app that you can use to get connected with local professionals to help cross those things off your list, whether it’s hiring a personal trainer, a house cleaner, someone to teach your kid piano, or, you guessed it-someone to come paint your perfect cheerful black accent wall that you now need. One reader will receive a $100 credit towards Thumbtack-simply comment on this post with what you might use Thumbtack for, or tell me how pretty the wall looks and how you wish you could pet it.


This post is sponsored by Thumbtack. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ABA!



  1. Tori Tori

    We need literally everything done in our house.

    Black wall looks super fab!!!!!!!!


      Thanks lady!! <3 Hope I get to see you next week at GDGD!

  2. kent twitchell kent twitchell

    Looks awesome great, Molly. The artwork really pops. Nice work!


      Thanks, Kent! That’s what we were going for. 🙂

  3. Holly Twitchell Holly Twitchell

    The wall looks GREAT! Love the title of the post. Love you.


      Love YOU.

  4. Meredith Meredith

    It looks so GOOD!! I love the artwork switcharoo. You reign queen of gallery walls, pip pip!


      Pip pip cheerio and fish n’ chips to you, reigning queen of Ireland! (Don’t even really know if those things are Irish.)

  5. Sarah Richardson Sarah Richardson



      Must be genetic.

  6. Love the room, love the black (did I tell you I had a black wall about 25 years ago…never mind), love the art, including my bistro table, and love the fact that you have The New Bohemians book stacked on your table – just where I have mine. Nice job Molly, each post is better than the last. And your fiddle leaf fig (Lief?) looks very happy with a black backdrop. xoxo Jonna


      It thrills me that you have the same book! That Justina Blakeney is a genius. Leif does seem quite happy in his new home, fingers crossed he doesn’t go through some weird plant-toddler phase.

    • I also gave one to Blair and Dee Dee…

  7. Kellie Apodaca Kellie Apodaca

    Looks so good! Love how it makes the prints standout. Need to get myself the Austin neighborhoods print!


      Thank you, Kellie!! I bought the Dallas neighborhoods print years ago, oddly right before I moved to Austin. Now that I’ve been back here for over four years, I figured it was time to snap up the Austin one, too. 🙂

  8. Joy Browder Joy Browder

    Will you just quit your job and write everyday. You are very entertaining and yes, I want to pet your wall. I have the Fritz Scholer print my step father gave me and never knew what to do with it. Your place looks great Molly! .Joy


      I worry that if it was my job it would take all the fun out of it!! Had no idea you were a Fritz Scholder fan, but why am I not surprised that we have another thing in common? Put it in a frame and slap that thing up on the wall, silly! p.s. I MISS YOU!

  9. Aly Yo Neighba Aly Yo Neighba

    Did you paint the small side of the wall, too (faces entry door)?


      I didn’t! The door frame to that tiny joke of a hallway to the bedroom would have made it really hard.

  10. Caroline cope Caroline cope

    Eeeeee the big reveal! I love ittttt.


      Can’t wait for another reveal of sorts so soon!! Enjoy that babymoon! ?

  11. Sanja Kerr Sanja Kerr

    Hey Molly!

    What a gorgeous project! The wall looks amazing! You mentioned that you saw my post on Apartment Therapy and it was an inspiration to you. I am flattered, lady! Gallery walls are sooo hard to do and you did an amazing job. Love the shelf, the cool prints, and love your passion! If you’re ever in Chicago, please reach out – would love to grab a coffee!



      That would be so fun, Sanja!! Thanks for the kind words!

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