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Emily Henderson

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by Jess Bunge
painting ideas home
image via yellowtrace | design by ester bruzkus

While I am currently a white-wall loving female, there was a time long long ago where my teeny tiny, zero natural light, New York “apartment” donned a cherry red accent wall with a surrounding 5-inch bright white border (paired next to a turquoise and gold Anthropologie wallpaper…). Sure, it was bold. Suuuurre, it was a questionable color choice for the space. BUT it was berry happy…ha, get it? Paint has the power to do that, to make a space fun and happy but at a FAR better price point than say Anthropologie wallpaper that sweet, dumb 23-year-old me thought she should splurge on. The great thing now (as opposed to eight years ago) is that there are so many incredibly cool, chic yet easy examples online that with a quick trip to your nearest paint store could be on your walls in a matter of hours. So if your room needs a refresh or you are yearning for something more than your average white wall, I have a ton of ideas that even the most hesitant DIYer could tackle. Plus, do you want to know what the best part is? Paint can be painted over. So aside from the money lost on paint, you can very easily change your mind. Emily herself will admit to doing this on plenty of different occasions. Let’s get to it so you can go get some paint.

Pardon my what will no doubt be endless referencing to my recent vacation but I was sitting in a cafe called Bristo Levante in Barcelona (that was obnoxious I know and I’m sorry) and I noticed that the calming pale pink wall color stopped about a foot short of the ceiling. Was that the first time I had seen this? No. But I was reminded of how simple yet impactful it was. AND EASY. Here are some visuals of what I am talking about.

painting ideas home
image via kammy

See how pretty and non-daunting this is? Get some a paint, tape, painting tools and you are in business. Our biggest tip for drama is to challenge the proportions of the standard chair rail height (about 3 feet). That means to go higher or lower than that height. For example, take the creative genius of Chzon and how they chose to play with a low height of the navy blue paint in the Henrietta Hotel in London. This small detail makes a huge, chic impact.

painting ideas home
image via chzon | design by chzon

One trend I have noticed and am here for is the use of limewash instead of the average paint sold in hardware stores. It creates a beautiful texture that not only gives depth to a space but really brings a wall to life. This treatment is not sold everywhere so you might need to do a little Google search and because of the texture isn’t super easy to cover up so renters should really think about how much they are willing to invest when they move out.

painting ideas home
image via the design files | design by chelsea hing

Moving on up…and by that I mean ceilings. Now if you really want some killer visual impact, paint your ceiling either a dramatic color or create a cool pattern. Not sure about this idea? Well, I am here to convince you otherwise…

painting ideas home
image via site unseen | design by elisa ossino

My heart hurts I love these dark ceilings (above and below) so damn much. I honestly can’t decide which one I love more. I think why they both work so beautifully is due to the high contrast of light and dark. There is still a sense of airiness because each space is so well balanced. This is something you should absolutely keep in mind if you are wanting to dive into this for your home.

painting ideas home
image via remodelista | design by pierre yovanovitch

If the solid look isn’t your jam and you want to go for some crazy cool stripes, well, below you’ll find my two favorite inspiration photos. First, let’s start with Sarah Sherman Samuel‘s forest green geometric creation for her son’s room. What I (we) love about Sarah is her ability to design a home for someone like Mandy Moore but then get super DIY and in a matter of hours create this awesome geometric ceiling design with nothing but paint and tape. It should also be mentioned that she eyeballed it. She is that good, people. My heart was actually racing as I watched her instastories and seeing how fast and loose she did this. I mean she is a pro so it wasn’t actually fast and loose but as someone who hems and haws over the tiniest of any design decision in my home, it was a rollercoaster of amazement and stress. The best part about this ceiling though is that anyone can do it…you just might need to measure because most of us aren’t Sarah.

painting ideas home
image via sarah sherman samuel | design by sarah sherman samuel

This next ceiling example I fell for as soon as I saw it. Not only do I love the overall design and color but the creativity to incorporate the sconces is simply too good. It’s playful, cool and with some planning wouldn’t be too hard to do something similar. Also, yes the stripes go across the entire ceiling and it’s very awesome. And while red might be a BIT bold for most of us, this could be so stunning in a colorblock look or even a subtle tone-on-tone (like a slate blue wall and a blue just a shade or two darker).

painting ideas home
image via elle decor russia | design by amber road

This next idea is THE drama queen of paint jobs. And while dramatic due to it’s dark and moody hues, it’s also kind of the easiest as zero painter’s tape is required because every last inch of the space is the same color. Yes, I mean walls, ceiling, doors and trim. Let’s dive all in.

painting ideas home
image via site unseen | design by elisa ossino

Quick and easy, no? Just lots and lots of really beautiful paint. 🙂

painting ideas home
image via site unseen | design by studio robert mckinley

Let’s now move away from the big drama and look to more subtle moments you can create with paint. What I mean is you can use paint to highlight architectural moments in your home or use paint to create some “architectural moments” that otherwise are not there (i.e. characture-less rooms). I will show you what I mean…

painting ideas home
image via vogue | design by etc for short

That arch from the recently opened Firehouse Hotel in LA would have been super beautiful all by its unpainted self but adding in that pop of yellow not only highlights it but makes it feel more fun and modern.

painting ideas home
photo by tessa neustadt for ehd | from: elliot’s nursery

What’s funny about the room above (Birdie’s nursery) is that it wasn’t until way after the shoot that I realized the inside width of the door to the bathroom was painted pink. It is just a fun unexpected detail that brings personality to the room without making a big fuss. It probably took maybe ten minutes and outside of that breathtaking wallpaper is my favorite part of the room.

painting ideas home
image via the new york times style magazine | design by peter benson miller

This room above (home of Peter Benson Miller and my actual dream home) showcases the perfect example of what I mean by creating an “architectural moment” with paint. This designer decided against a standard baseboard and instead painted one in. Granted it’s paired with what looks like a very pretty limewash paint but it is still so beautiful and easy enough to do on your own. I would 100% do this in my home if I didn’t already have baseboards.

Speaking of creating something out of nothing let’s talk “headboards.” Earlier this week, we did a whole post about DIY headboards but it focused on actual physical headboards and not the cool fake kind you can just paint on the wall. The ideas in the post were so great but for a fun and very budget-friendly option, here are some paint-related ideas…

Okay, I know this is a weird one to start with since this bed has a headboard but that painted circle could easily hold its own. I really love the somewhat quiet drama of it.

painting ideas home
image via style by sanne | design by sanne

Next up is this cool two-toned geometric painted headboard. It’s simple but modern. Also, please note the very subtle light pink main wall color. It’s a total tonal dream.

painting ideas home
image via vogue | design by etc for short

Lastly, I wanted to highlight another painted work of art from the Firehouse Hotel…this headboard. The actual headboard is a beautifully upholstered velvet half circle but beyond that is a multi-layered colorful delight (and you could absolutely recreate this with ALL paint and save money by skipping the physical headboard).

Since we are already on the color train, let’s go full throttle. White walls are not going anywhere but if you are ready to break free and go color crazy, boy am I excited about this next category of paint inspiration. I am calling it color on color.

painting ideas home
image via kult interier

Like I said before, I am currently really on the white wall train but this rose and dark teal color combo makes my eyeballs so so happy. It’s a risk but looks so cool and fresh. I want to know the people that would live in this house, don’t you? It’s the next level up from the partially painted wall I first talked about.

painting ideas home
image via my attic | design by my attic

This one is a little less of a color commitment but still has a huge visual impact. It’s one step up from a simple color wall. The slight tonal contrast gives it an intentional feel that is pretty darn cool.

Lastly, I want to touch on some fun paint details I found in my search that will do nothing if not get your creative juices going and inspire you to potentially get to DIYing this weekend.

painting ideas home
image via ad spain | design by rodman primack

I call this one the delicate border. Try and tell me in that in the right home it wouldn’t be in the chicest accent ever? This room already is insanely cool so by adding that border, it’s a total knockout.

painting ideas home
image via home and home

I love that this partly painted wall goes the extra mile with the added pink stripe. It gives it just the right amount of personality without it making too big of a statement. A hint of flare if you will.

painting ideas home
image via finch interior design

This wall design is definitely not for everyone but I do love the boldness of it. It’s just paint so why not get a little funky if that’s your style??

painting ideas home
image via domino | design by laura lane

When I saw this painted shelf, it just made me happy. It doesn’t hurt that it’s pink but it shows how to make a creative, functional focal point that will knock almost anyone’s socks off.

Okay everyone that is it! All the crazy DIY paint job inspiration your heart could ever desire. I hope you are inspired because per usual the wheels are turning again for what I want to design next and think I might be snagging one or two of these ideas for myself. It’s Friday, so let’s get outta here. But before we all go bask in the glow of a weekend sun (with sunscreen, of course), what is your favorite? Do you have any ideas you want to share? If you have pics of any of your own projects, tag with the #ShowEmYourDIY because we wanna see. 🙂

Love you, mean it. xx

**If you are looking for even more renovation goodness including posts and shopping options head to the Rooms and Shop page.

  1. Emily, I love all these rooms! I used this idea in an attic bedroom makeover for my sister. (I’m an amateur stylist). I used BM Simply White and a color called Raisin. It worked beautifully. Wish I could post a picture here, but you can view on my IG account: @_carmen_j_

    1. So much great inspiration here! I got lost looking at the the image sources and tagging them! Love it all! Also, something is wrong with the comments. It wouldn’t let me comment as a new thread.

      1. I discovered you have to be a follower to leave a comment.

  2. Some great ideas- definitely inspirational! Thanks!

  3. Love all of this! The QUEENS of paint are @liz_kamarul & @banyunbridges.

    1. Yes–and just so she doesn’t get missed, it’s spelled @banyanbridges 🙂

      1. Thanks!!!

    2. Looks like Liz even did a post of her paint ideas: https://www.lizkamarul.com/blog/2019/3/24/the-power-of-paint

  4. So much great inspiration here! I got lost looking at the the image sources and tagging them! Love it all!

  5. So inspiring. Thanks!

  6. Not sure if it’s just my computer, but the Circle paint headboard image isn’t on here.

  7. Great post, the power of paint is obvious in every photo. Many creative people out there.

  8. Love to see anything but white !! (Unless you live in Greece or Miami or the like). White is stark, and yes, clean, but abrasive and jarring. I’m all for sand and almond.

  9. Some of these are really … um … something.

  10. Love love love you guys and all of your content. However – the incessant videos and ads make the site unbearable to spend time on. I know you asked for feedback about this earlier this year, just putting in the plug that I would happily visit daily if this wasn’t the case.

    I felt compelled to write this after being linked here from Cup of Jo who does such an incredible job keeping the site calm/non pop-uppy… so, my 2 cents no one asked for!

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