This Outdated Paint Trend is now Predicted to Return — Designers Love its "Fun, Eye-Catching Glamor"

Lacquer walls were considered outdated until recently, but we think its the paint trend to watch this year

A lacquer painted bedroom
(Image credit: Ludovic Balay. Design: Necchi Architecture)

The lacquer look is one of those trends that has gone in and out of fashion. As it stands, it's very much in, and we're enjoying its high gloss sheen that makes a room feel luxurious and expensive. We've seen a real shake-up with how its incorporated into interiors too, and designers are taking this luxurious look and going dark and contemporary.

'Lacquer walls are a fun and eye-catching way to bring some maximalist glamor to your home,' says Kathy Kuo, CEO of Kathy Kuo Home. 'Lacquer adds a fun dose of shine and shimmer and is a great way to frame a grand millennial look in a cool way.' To get to the bottom of this interior design trend, we've spoken to the designers to find out why it's trending and how to use it effectively in your own home.

What's the lacquer look?

A living room with red lacquered walls and a gold bar

(Image credit: Joshua McHug Design: Hines Collective)

Lacquer walls are achieved with high-shine paint, but the modern version of the look incorporates a monochromatic color scheme, taking the paint over the walls and across the ceilings to create a cocooning feel. The modern manifestation of the lacquer look uses dark and gloomy paint for a sumptuous color palette.

This living room from Hines Collective perfectly encapsulates the lacquer look. It's moody, and cool and adheres to the client's brief of 'vampire speakeasy', in a deep oxblood shade.

There is something about lacquer that exudes luxury and style. It's a high-end addition to your interiors and even has a touch of the mob wife aesthetic about it. 'Lacquer exudes confidence and assertiveness,' says Shaunn Quayle, Designer at Britt Design Group.

Hotel Chateau D'Eau's dark lacquer walls

(Image credit: Ludovic Balay. Design: Necchi Architecture)

It's not just the glossy finish that is lacquer's biggest allure, it's also about the functional aspect. 'If you're keen on experimenting with light, the ultra-glossy and reflective qualities of lacquer are perfect for you,' says Shaunn.

The effect of the dark, mirrored finish means that the way the walls play with light is a big part of the lacquer look. 'It just adds something to the space,' agrees Esther Stam of Studio Modijefsky. 'Lacquer infuses spaces with a tactile allure and a dynamic interplay of light. The sheen of lacquer imbues colors with a transformative quality, shifting hues with the changing daylight or artificial illumination, thereby engaging in a constant dialogue with the surrounding environment.'

In this bedroom, a high gloss lacquer ceiling oozes sophistication and helps make a small bedroom look bigger. 'We used high gloss lacquer on the ceiling at Touriste’s newest Parisian property Hotel Chateau D’Eau (above) for functional more than aesthetic purposes,' adds Alexis Lamesta co-founder at Necchi Architecture.

'We chose the black lacquer for its reflections and the unusual sense of volume it creates. It helps to bring in natural light at any time of day, so that indirect light becomes warmer, creating intimate moments. It reminds us of summer nights, when all the constellations become clear to the eyes, when we have no end to the perspective.'

How to get the look

A red cabinet painted in lacquer paint

(Image credit: Jeff Holt. Design: Chused & Co)

So how do you get the look? 'To create a lacquer wall at home, select a high-quality lacquer paint in the desired color and apply it evenly to the wall surface,' says Esther.

'Multiple coats may be necessary for achieving a smooth, glossy finish. The reflective properties of lacquer create an ever-changing color palette that responds to natural daylight or artificial illumination, enhancing the ambiance of any room,' she says.

Because of the process and multiple layers applied, the finish will end up being quite durable and easy to clean too, making it perfect for kitchens or family homes where durability needs to be factored in.

How to style lacquer

A dark bedroom with high shine walls

(Image credit: Laurey Glenn. Design and construction: River Brook)

First up, pick the perfect color to drive the aesthetic. We're seeing a lot of dark colors selected in this lacquer finish for a moody effect. This example by Leigh Misso, owner of River Brook has purposefully gone dark and moody in this modern bedroom.

'We achieved the high shine look using Fine Paints of Europe's Hollandlac Brilliant 98,' Leigh explains. 'This premium product ensured an even lacquer finish, enhancing the richness of the color and creating the perfect moody ambiance for our den. The way light interacts with the walls, reflecting and illuminating, adds an extra dimension to the space.'

Think about the rest of the room too. 'I would recommend keeping wall decor somewhat sparse with a lacquered wall in order to let the lacquer itself shine and as to not overwhelm the eye,' says designer Kathy Kuo.

If you're looking to bring in a touch of lacquer sheen without committing to painting a full wall, consider investing in a piece with a lacquer finish instead. The Lacquer Company is London-based and flies the flag for this glamorous finish. Miles Redd - previously creative director of Oscar de la Renta Home and owner of interior design studio Redd Kaihoi - is just one of the many interior designers to design a collection with The Lacquer Company.

Pick from designs like triangular stacking tables, dining tables, consoles, side tables and even smaller details like this scalloped-edge mini lacquer tray to lift the space.

'Lacquer is one of my favorite finishes,' says Miles. 'I have always been a magpie; I see something shiny and have to drag it back to my lair.'

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Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.