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11 Clever and Unexpected Ways to Decorate With Paint

A little bit of color goes a long way.

Whether you're going for a mini makeover or a total overhaul, the easiest way to make a bold change in a space is by painting it. And we don't even mean painting the entire room. There are tons of cool ways to decorate with paint that don't involve using gallon upon gallon of the stuff.

Paint is a pretty inexpensive tool to upgrade your home. Wallpapering a whole room can cost you a pretty penny, but paint and brushes will come in at a fraction of that amount. Paint can even be a good option for renters who are restricted from doing bigger renovations, because it's easy enough to just repaint the space white before you move out (no security deposit losses here!).

So, if you've got a can or two of paint, we've rounded up some great ideas that will allow you to transform your space in as little as a few hours for simpler projects, like painting your tub, or a few days for more intense ones, like painting on your own wallpaper. No matter your particularl style, the below ideas from designers and bloggers will have you feeling inspired.

Related: 15 Paint Colors That Will Make Your Home Feel Warm and Cozy

Paint a Mural

<p>Racheal Jackson</p>

Racheal Jackson

Painter Racheal Jackson could write a book on paint decorating ideas (and actually, we hope she does!). Her mod murals have the ability to transform any space, but we love the way this simple linear design makes this split-level room feel connected. And best of all? It's doable! You don't need to be a pro to add some statement art to your wall, just measure, tape off your design, and paint. It's the perfect antidote to blank white walls.

Paint Your Ceiling

Lately, the fifth wall (the ceiling) has finally been getting the attention it deserves from designers and homeowners—and for good reason. Adding color or pattern to the ceiling is an expected way to add visual interest and warmth to a room. Here, designer Laquita Tate, refreshed her own room by painting the tray ceiling in two tones to emphasize its architectural features. The top is coated in Sherwin Williams' Dark Knight, while the border is Sherwin Williams' Woven Wicker.

Related: Space of the Week: This Living Room Proves Statement Ceilings Are the New Accent Wall

Paint Your Window Casings

<p>Andrew Kung</p>

Andrew Kung

White tends to be the default for baseboards and trim, but there's no rule saying you need to keep those details neutral. Painting them a cool color really livens up a space and emphasizes the architecture of a room. Take this bathroom by designer Isabel Ladd, for example. There's no doubt that the room would look pretty with just the floral wallpaper and white windows, but adding green paint to them transforms the look from classic to funky. Plus, by taking paint color inspiration from the wallpaper, it makes the space look cohesive.

Paint the Interiors of Your Furniture

<p>Zoe Feldman</p>

Zoe Feldman

There's no shortage of inspiration for painted furniture transformations on Pinterest, but for a subtle and sophisticated look, try painting the inside of a piece. Designer Zoe Feldman found this vintage mid-century modern bar cabinet on Chairish, then coated the inside with a glossy chartreuse paint. By doing this, she gave the piece (and the room) two looks: It's more traditional when the cabinet is closed, and more modern when it's open. We'll cheers to that!

Paint Your Trim

<p>Emily Tucker</p>

Emily Tucker

Adding some paint is an easy way to make a room a little brighter and bolder, but it doesn't have to make something more modern or punchy. When used sparingly or in subdued colors, paint can also add coziness and depth. In the bedroom pictured above, designer Emily Tucker painted the ceiling trim and baseboards in a soft pink to add a bit of warmth and whimsy to this dreamy sleepover space. The room also features three different shades of pink—the paint, the bedding, and the curtains—giving it a layered look.

Paint Wood Floors

<p>Mary Best</p>

Mary Best

Painting wood floors can be a controversial topic, but it's a great idea if you're dealing with floors that are damaged, over-sanded, or just in need of a refresh. It's also a much less expensive alternative to replacing the wood altogether. This 1920's dining room, designed by Mary Best, was basically made for painted floors. The wood around the dining table is pine, while the wood around the outer edges is oak, so there was already a design quirk built in. The painted geometric design adds to the visual effects, functioning as a cool patterned rug in the room (only this one is much easier to clean).

Paint the Doors

It's rare that closet doors become a focal point in a room, but here we are. Erin Wheeler of Sunny Circle Studios never shies away from color, just check out her room in our 2022 REAL SIMPLE Home. She brought some of her signature style to this play room, adding a geometric wallpaper and then taking the builder-grade doors from drab to fab by painting them in two blue hues to emphasize the geometric shapes. She painted the main door frame in Valspar's Someday, and coated the panels in Valspar's In the Nick (which she also added to the ceiling trim). This idea would instantly spruce up any interior door.

Paint the Floor Tiles

We've talked about painting wood floors, but what about tile? Turns out, painting them is a great way to turn boring white bricks or dated shapes into something more modern. Niki Blackwell first painted over all of the tile in her guest bathroom in white, using Rust-Oleum floor coating to get a clean, flat base. She then took a stencil that she made using a Cricut and painted on the blue diamond designs. Afterward, she went in and hand-outlined the center of those shapes in a thin line of peach.

Paint the Shower Tiles

While we're on the subject of painting tiles, why stop at the floor? Blogger Kate of House Mix painted over her shower tiles in varying shades of pink to create an ombre effect. She first removed all of the old caulking with a utility knife, then washed and sanded the original tile to get a smooth surface. After that, she added two coats of bonding primer and allowed it to sit for a week. She then applied Behr Oil-Base Satin Enamel in a pink color (Coral Gables) at the bottom. For each subsequent layer, she added an increasing amount of white paint to the bright pink to soften it. She let it cure for a week again and, voila: The cutest bathroom for her daughter.

Paint the Tub

One more painting idea for the bathroom—paint your tub. Melisa Visaya had a plain old white clawfoot tub until she decided to jazz it up with this simple DIY. She painted the base of the tub using Wise Owl One Hour Enamel Paint, then detailed the claw feet with Wise Owl Heavy Metals Gilding Paint. The result? A super luxe looking bathroom.

Paint Your Own Wallpaper

<p>DINAH EKE</p>

DINAH EKE

Dinah Eke originally wanted to cover her space in this gorgeous wall-to-wall paper from St. Frank, but given the size of the space and the fact that she was living in a rental, it wouldn't be possible. The less expensive solution? Creating the design herself with some paint. She first painted the background color (Meet Cute by Clare Paint). Then, she made a stencil with a similar design out of a 12" by 24" piece of Mylar, and painted it on the wall (over and over and over again) using Clare's Pink Sky. Sure, this project definitely takes some patience, but if you're looking for a cost-effective way to add pattern to a wall, this is it.

Related: How to Incorporate More Color Into Your Home and Life

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