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10 Amazing Two-Tone Walls: When One Color Just Won’t Do

by Grace Bonney

No matter how much time I spend working in the field of home design, there’s always one or two looks/trends/styles I’m nervous to try. While I’ve gotten better at taking risks as a human, I still have a hard time making them as a homeowner. And one trend that I love and want to try, but haven’t gotten around to yet, is two-tone walls.

I can be pretty lazy when it comes to rearranging and doing the prep work that comes with painting, so the only thing standing in between me and the half grey/white walls of my dreams (and maybe pink and grey, too) is the gumption to get up and do it. So today, I wanted to share my favorite two-two walls and rooms from homes that have inspired my desire to go halfsies on paint colors. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. xo, grace

This green-and-pink bedroom in Sweden is easily my favorite two-tone room we've ever run. I would never think to put these two colors together, but they just work perfectly here. I love that the pink feels like an extended headboard above the bed.
This upstate NY house was transformed by the Jersey Ice Cream Co. and their use of two grey-blue tones on this wall always makes me want to push all my furniture back, tape the wall into two sections and start painting.
I love, love, love the forest green color in this green-and-white dining room in Seattle. This is a color that isn't used in a lot of modern homes, but I love the way it works here with plants and paintings that pick up on the same hue.
This Seattle home's amazing green-and-white kitchen is a great example of using a rich color to help define a space.
The blue-and-white wall in this Australian farmhouse is one of my favorites. It divides the room like wainscoting, but without having to paint all those tricky little ridges.
This Iowa entryway uses a bright Aegean blue to welcome guests and add some visual interest in a mostly white space.
I love the way they continued the blue over a piece of artwork in the entryway for added artistic effect.
The Jersey Ice Cream Co. is back at it again with this awesome grey-and-black kitchen. I love having the depth of the black wall, but a little spot of brightness at the top so it doesn't feel too gloomy inside.
This renovated townhouse in Brooklyn does the black-and-white half-wall look, too, and amplifies the style with black gooseneck lamps above.
This Nashville hotel is a pink-on-pink dream with its two-tone hallways.
Last but not least, a little bit of black-and-white once again to add interest to the street-side wall of an amazing Brooklyn home.

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  • I’m grateful I was raised by a woman with a vivid sense of color. Nothing fancy or crazy, but our walls were a deep steel blue with a little green, and ivory moldings, creamy white above the picture rail and up to the ceiling.

    It is a commitment and a pain to paint, but Mom was old school. We painted every 10 years or so. So if your tastes or furnishings change, so can the paint.

    I love the rooms where there is an implied wainscot – it really grounds the walls to the floor, and makes seating groups (like a dining nook) root to the room. Meanwhile, the walls above the darker wainscot seem to float, drawing your eyes up to windows, lighting, the ceiling, etc. Very restful.

  • This is nothing new but I like that it’s sort of becoming more popular. That or I’m just noticing it more. It’s so interesting.

    The first one I saw and fell in love with was the bathroom from elsie marley. I fell in love with the story and their after results. I totally expected to find it here since you featured it years ago as a before and after but either you forgot or had too much to chose from?

    I still use her bathroom 6 years later as a reference for the colours! :)

  • Yes! I love the idea of using darker color on the bottom part of the wall, which is usually full of dirty finger prints and scuff marks.