Like a great pair of jeans or the very carefully considered addition of bangs (seriously—think it over. And then think it over again), a fresh coat of paint can be totally transformative. From a crisp white that makes your space feel brand new to a punchy pick that ups productivity in your office, the right hue can have a wide-reaching impact on how you live in—and interact with—your home. The best part? When it comes to creative (and inexpensive!) ways to upgrade your home in just a weekend, nothing is easier to pull off. And for every paint color out there—and there are thousands—there’s a unique application that will match the personality and vibe of your home perfectly. Looking for a little wall paint inspiration? Check out 17 of our favorite ideas below—but don’t blame us if they immediately inspire a trip to the hardware store.
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It may be the oldest trick in the book, but using paint to create a striped pattern is a classic for a reason. Designer Vern Yip relied on the technique to bring a nautical touch to his family’s Florida beach house, coating his kids’ “sleepover room” in white (Alabaster by Sherwin-Williams) and navy (Commodore by Sherwin-Williams) stripes.
Cover (Almost) Every Surface
All-over color is a great way to make a big statement, transforming what was once a regular room into a cozy jewel box of a space. Case in point? The dining area of this Amersterdamn home, which designer Nicole Dohmen of Atelier ND Interior painted floor to ceiling in dusty lilac. She complimented the custom shade (try Hazy Lilac by Benjamin Moore for a similar look) with upholstered dining chairs and curtain fabric by Étoffe in the same tone.
Paint is a great way to, ahem, dip your toes into a trend before committing hardcore to an of-the-moment palette or hue in more consequential ways (like, say, furniture). Dynamic chocolatey brown—like the shade Rich Biscuit by Dulux, seen here in a bedroom designed by Fiona Lynch—is about to be everywhere in the coming year. Mark our word—and your walls, you trendsetter, you.
Choose High Gloss for High Glamour
Want to up the glam factor in your home? Opt for an impactful paint color in a high gloss (or lacquer) finish to add sophistication and stately appeal to a forming living or dining space. In the 1930s Tudor seen here, designer Kati Curtis turned to an oil-based lacquer from Fine Paints of Europe to bring much-needed attention to what was once a forgotten transitional breezeway in a circa-1930s Tudor.
A dark paint pick says so much about a homeowner—mainly, that you’re supremely confident and not afraid of a little drama (the good kind, that is). If you have a room with cavernous proportions, juxtaposition the scale with a moody, encapsulating hue, like the charcoal shade (Amherst Gray by Benjamin Moore) seen here in an apartment designed by Nannette Brown.
Try a Transportive Mural
Encourage a flight of imagination by hiring a pro artist to cover the walls with one-of-a-kind artwork meant to inspire and transport. “The dining room was our greatest challenge, but it ended up becoming the most exciting room in the house,” says designer Sarah Gilbane of this Everglades-inspired space she dreamed up for an adventurous client. Artist Brian Leaver took to the walls—already covered in a textural grasscloth wallpaper—to paint a tropical scene, then created a trompe l’oeil tented ceiling for added charm.
Add Dimension With Moulding
Help your paint pick enter a new dimension by coating a wall that already boasts decorative molding. Designer Ariene Bethea of Dressing Room Interiors Studio revived some of the character in her North Carolina home by adding molding wherever she could. In the office space, a saturated berry hue (Framboise by Sherwin-Williams) coordinates with the surrounding glam-eclectic decor, including a 1970s Gastone Rinaldi metal dining set that Bethea reupholstered with fabric remnants.
“Dip” Your Wall in Color
Just because you choose to paint your room, doesn’t mean you have to choose to paint your whole room. Consider “dipping” the space instead, carrying the color up three-quarters of the wall to create visual interest or appeal to an architectural accent already in place, like the vertical paneling seen here. Designer Stephanie Sabbe gave the 2021 House Beautiful Whole Home timeless charm using a similar technique and the laid-back hue Chapelle Green by Farrow & Ball.
Use Paint as a Room Divider
Ease a transition between spaces by utilizing a color that bridges the gap between two rooms and unites their design. Here, pro Justina Blakeney accented the flow between the living and kitchen spaces in her petite 1050-square-foot bungalow by coating the wall in Breakfast Room Green by Farrow & Ball—a hue that seamlessly blends with nearby tiles from Badia Design.
Fake Architectural Interest
Working with a plain, builder-grade home? No problem! For a quick fix, use this clever painting technique to create (faux) architectural interest around a doorway or window frame. “There was no ceiling molding and no molding around the doors in this apartment, so I added them with paint!” says designer Aldous Bertram of this creative and feminine space.
Coordinate With Your Wallpaper
Add Some (Faux) Texture
Fake the look of a storied space—or accent an already stately home—with a painting technique that lends a sense of history and texture to your walls. Limewash paint has become a designer go-to for creating movement and dimension and can be realized in a range of hues, from deep clay to the cloud-like blue (from Porter’s Paints) seen here in a dining room designed by Caroline Rafferty.
Sneak in a Surprise Pop
For an added dose of fun, coat an unexpected area (like the interior of a closet, pantry, or cabinet) in a standout shade. For a playful punch in this pantry, Pulp Design Studio used Daredevil by Sherwin Williams in a satin finish, which is low sheen but still wipeable—a must for a utilitarian space.
Craft Up a Mega Chalkboard
Chalkboard paint has earned a reputation as a go-to for classrooms and kid’s spaces, but it can actually skew stylish, too. The proof: this sophisticated apartment by designer Garrow Kedigian, which is coated in floor-to-ceiling chalk paint by Rust-Oleum and embellished with real chalk sketches by artist Rajiv Surendra.
If you prefer your use of color whisper instead of scream, you’ll love this next idea. Instead of covering an entire wall or room in an eye-catching shade, have a bit of fun by painting just the decorative trim or molding. In this space, designer Chauncey Boothby used the nearby kitchen island as inspiration, cutting that hue (Benjamin Moore’s Yarmouth Blue) by 50% with white to highlight the trim work in the neighboring dining room.
Get Graphic with Graffiti
At the end of the day, painting your home should be an artistic expression of your personality. Take that ethos to the max by hiring a graffiti artist (or getting your hands dirty yourself!) to tag your walls. In his California home, designer Eric Olsen tapped artist James Goldcrown to cover the walls of his daughter’s bedroom with his signature graffiti hearts.
Highlight Your Transitions
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