The big reveal! This simple paint trick creates a wonderful element of surprise and joyful home

Painting closet interiors in bright colors is a surefire way to add a bit of joy to your interiors

A brightly painted closet
(Image credit: Studio Noju)

We all could do with a little extra joy in our homes, and brightly painting closet interiors in an unexpected color could just be the ticket. So the surprise is revealed rather than on full show, think primary pops, from bright sunshine yellow, cheery pinks, bold reds, and pale cornflower blue to add a dopamine dose to your morning routine. 

It’s a wonderful way to introduce a strong accent into your home without committing to an ‘all over’ strong color too, says Farrow & Ball’s Patrick O’Donnell. 'Whether a wardrobe in your bedroom painted in an azure blue against a muted backdrop of a mid-neutral, or either a standalone larder cupboard in your kitchen painted in the brightest sunshine yellow against a background of a complementary off-white.'

From wonderful wardrobes to under-the-stair cupboards or walk-in closets, read on for why they're the perfect space to embrace color.

Oonagh Turner
Oonagh Turner

Oonagh is a content editor and writer with a specialty in interiors and home decor. For this color story, she spoke to the designers to find out how turning to bright and bold colors can impact our mood.

Why should we be celebrating our closets?

A under the stairs closet painted bright red

(Image credit: Hufton + Crow. Design: Sophie Nguyen Architects)

Adding an element of surprise to your interiors, designers are choosing to brighten up smaller spaces. Where going bold with wall paint in larger rooms might feel overwhelming, a small space or small closet can work well to bring that pop of color in a more subdued and subtle way. 

'Closets have a bad name, they always seem to be associated with something we would prefer to hide in or apologize for,' says Sophie Nguyen of Sophie Nguyen Architects. 'They end up in forgotten spaces, when we can’t think of anything better to put there than bold paint.

'The closet should be celebrated as part of the dynamic in a home. They perform the noble and necessary function of tidying our living spaces and consequently freeing our minds from the debilitating tyranny of mess. Adding a bright color to the closet qualifies the storage space as an important item, creating a surprising discovery and focal point in the room,' she says.

In this example, the choice of bright, fiery red was a reaction to the pandemic. 'During that time, it was almost impossible to source more noble materials and the only finish option available was construction-grade timber sheets. 

'This setback became an opportunity for a vivid color to define these objects. I chose a vermilion, which has the vibrancy of red and the warmth of orange.'

What color should you paint a closet interior?

A closet with yellow interiors

(Image credit: Hufton + Crow. Design: Sophie Nguyen Architects)

Embrace those bold and bright colors that make you feel happy and energetic.  ‘Color theory affects us psychologically,' explains Suzy Chiazzari, a holistic interior designer and color therapist. 'We are attracted to colors in our environment that mirror our mood and personality. When we are surrounded by our favorite colors in our home, they make us feel happy, relaxed, and comfortable with ourselves.' 

'Something about walking into a room with bright colors just lifts the spirits - whether it’s a sun-soaked room or a welcome counterbalance to a dreary winter day, they exude optimism,' says Patrick.  

The Casa Triana project by Madrid-based Studio Noju is a 60-square-meter apartment renovation located in the historic neighborhood of Triana, Seville. 'The apartment has been designed for one person, providing her with as much living space as possible with various niches and closets painted in bright, comforting colors,' says Antonio Mora, architect and co-founder Studio Noju.

A series of colored spaces give the apartment its unique identity and character. 'The colors respond to the charismatic Sevillian colors found in the streets such as the bright blue of the sky and in the case of the closet referenced to the bright yellow sun.'

Citron from Farrow & Ball
Editor's pick

Citron from Farrow & Ball

Citron is a bright, Mediterranean yellow which has a bright intensity in small spaces and is fantastically welcoming.

What color should you pair the exterior with

A wardrobe with painted blue interior

(Image credit: Future)

To really help the color pop, pair your choice in bright color with something more neutral and muted. Doors in a natural material like wood, or a muted tone or classic white paint will help achieve that added element of surprise.

Alternatively, go for a completely contrasting color to help the interior shine. Look to the opposing side of color theory to get inspiration.

How else can you decorate the interior of a closet?

A pantry painted in aubergine purple

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

For that added wow-factor and glamor, try painting your closet interior in full gloss for an almost lacquer effect. You could also get creative with vivid wallpaper designs. Go daring and bold with your pattern to achieve the same surprise effect to bright paint.

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.