Weekend projects – 10 small updates inspired by interior designers to elevate your space

Get weekend project inspiration to add color, texture and pattern to your home from these interior designer-created schemes

a checkerboard painted feature doorway in an apartment
(Image credit: Mikhail Loskutov)

When it comes to taking on a weekend project, some ideas are more transformative than others. You can spend weeks overhauling a room, but sometimes a small but meaningful addition to your space is all that it needs to elevate it. 

With that in mind, we've curated some of our favorite schemes from interior designers and stylists right now with the seed of a great decorating trend that can be used to breathe new life into a space. 

From paint and wallpaper to tiles and paneling, these home decor ideas could be brought to fruition in just a few days, whether you're up for attempting them yourself or calling in the professionals, bringing character to your room through color, pattern, and texture. 

10 interior designer-inspired weekend projects 

1.  Try out the color drenching trend  

a home office painted in farrow and ball earth red

(Image credit: Ben Sage)

When it comes to interior design trends for painting a room, color drenching reigns supreme at the moment. This decorating idea sees a room use swathes of the same color throughout the scheme – at a minimum on all the walls and ceiling. For an even more elevated look, consider painting woodwork and joinery too, as interior designer Lizzie Green has with this wonderfully cozy and inviting small study, drenched in Farrow & Ball's Red Earth. 

'The idea of 'drenching' a room, particularly a small space, is brilliantly bold and hugely effective in making a space feel bigger, seamless and contemporary,' says Lizzie. 

The good news is, if you already love the color of your space, you can add to it by painting the ceiling and woodwork to match your painted wall idea, making for a small but transformative weekend project. 

2. Use wall paneling to create texture

a dark painted dining room with butt and bead panelling

(Image credit: Lindsay Salazar c/o Hudson Valley Lighting Group)

Paneling continues to be one of the most popular ways to add texture to walls in the home, but when it comes to integrating it as part of your scheme, there are a few different approaches. 

'Picking the right color to decorate them with is key,' says Helen Shaw, UK director at Benjamin Moore. 'If you prefer a subtle and elegant aesthetic consider a tonal scheme in by matching the wall color with the panel décor, or for more impactful finish pick out a complimentary or feature color to draw the eye.' 

It's very easy to create a feature wall with paneling, but matching your wall color and paneling offers a sophisticated take on the idea. In a design such as this dining room idea, created by House of Jade Interiors and featuring a beautiful Ace chandelier from Hudson Valley Lighting, a tonally-matched beadboard paneling creates texture for the space, without demanding too much focus as it would in a contrast color. 

3. Add the element of surprise 

a small powder room with a wallpapered interior

(Image credit: Brian Ferry)

Wallpapering a whole room is quite the undertaking, and for those who like to change up their interiors regularly, it can feel like a big commitment to make. However, wallpaper offers an exciting opportunity to bring pattern to your space like no other wall covering, and excluding it from your home entirely is unnecessarily limiting. 

If a wallpapered room isn't on the cards, consider ways to use wallpaper to bring unexpected moments of pattern into your home. This could be inside a built-in cupboard, for a feature ceiling, or as a bathroom wallpaper idea. This design by New York City-based interior designers Home Studios illustrates the idea perfectly, but with a custom mural by artist Kimberly Quillan. 

Adding pattern to the back of the door of this powder room was a great idea for giving the space instant wow-factor and a hint of a more characterful design aesthetic that could be overwhelming when used on a larger scale. 

4. Switch up tiling with colored grout  

a bathroom with green grout and blue tiles

(Image credit: Margaret M. de Lange c/o Collective Works)

Replacing grout might not seem like the most exciting way to spend a weekend, but if you consider a more interesting tile and grout color combination, it can be a way to make your bathroom one of the most magical spaces in your home. 

'Grout can often be overlooked or a last-minute choice, but good design considers every detail,' says Annie Ritz, principal of Andandand Studio. 'If you're willing to play with it, matching grout color to a wall or cabinet color within the space can make different materials seem connected and harmonious.' 

In this design, a collaboration between Collective Works and Koi Colour Studio, a vibrant green grout has been combined with a square blue tile – a color combination that gives it the sense of a Modernist grid, while bringing playful energy to this small bathroom. 

5. Give walls texture with limewash paint  

a dining room with a limewash paint effect

Styling: Kirsten Visdal, Creative Direction: Dagny Fargestudio, Visual Manager: Iris Floor

(Image credit: Margaret M de Lange)

Textured paint finishes have taken the interiors world by storm, and while applying limewash paint ideas isn't the same as simply painting a wall, it's a skill that's easy to learn, and achievable for a weekend project. 

The results can be spectacular too, whatever your style of interior. In this space, created by interior stylist Kirsten Visdal for Pure & Original paints, a tadelakt-effect limewash paint has been used, giving the walls a mottled appearance with a slight sheen. 

Adding texture to the walls allows for a stripped-back decorating style without walls feeling blank and stark, while ceilings and window frames painted in the same Polar Blue shade, though in the brand's Classico finish, offer a different take on the color drenching trend. 

6. Think beyond the kitchen and bathroom with tiling

a living room with a tiled chimney breast

(Image credit: Lucas Madani)

Tiling, once mastered, is a skill that can be brought to any room in the house as a medium to add texture to walls, floors and furniture. A tiled alcove, for example, can easily become the setting for a home bar, while fireplace tile ideas don't just have to be limited to the hearth. 

This scheme, created by French design studio Hauvette & Madani for a rural home, includes a chimney breast tiled with white encaustic tiles. While it's only a small addition to the space, it adds a crucial texture that grounds the rest of the choices in the room in this modern rustic living room style. 

7.  Make a statement out of your ceiling  

a colorful room with a stripe painted ceiling

(Image credit: Guillaume Grasset c/o CC-Tapis)

Sometimes referred to as the fifth wall, ceiling decorating ideas have become bolder and more experimental in recent times, and though it might be a trickier spot to paint, wallpaper or clad, it represents a much smaller space to create a feature design on than across all four walls of a room. 

Inside Apartment, created by French interior designer Claude Cartier, is a radical example of the role a ceiling can play in giving a space character. Throughout the apartment design, yellow horizontal stripes meet blocks of bold green, echoing patterns and colors used in the furnishings of the space, including invigorating rug designs from a collaboration between Claude and CC-Tapis

8. Take wallpaper to the next level 

a room with wallpaper on the walls and ceiling

(Image credit: Little Greene)

For another interesting take on a wallpaper weekend project, consider applying the same principles of the color drenching to pattern. This home office idea created by Little Greene uses the same patterned wallpaper from its National Trust collection across the walls and ceiling, while introducing visual breaks to help the eye process with a black-painted picture rail that ties in with furniture in the room, and a change of color. 

The effect is all together cocooning, with rustic accessories adding to the cozy feel, while modern furniture and art help ensure the space has a modern outlook overall. 

9. Design a feature doorway 

a checkerboard painted doorway in an apartment

(Image credit: Mikhail Loskutov)

There are plenty of ways that a feature doorway could be created as a modern home decorating idea, but this checkerboard design created by interior designer Tim Veresnovsky was made simply using paint. 

'After the project was finished, I looked at the doorway and I wanted to make it something dynamic,' Tim tells Livingetc. 'The day before, we played chess with friends, and I thought it might be a great decorative solution. The next day I bought paints and planted a chessboard. The result was better than I expected, and now the interior in the living room plays out completely differently.'

As well as adding a new perspective to the dining room, a feature doorway also acts to frame your transitionary spaces, especially in spaces with open doorways, creating a more interesting vista that draws your eye into the next room and improves the sense of flow between spaces. 

10. Add decorative details to re-imagine a space 

an industrial living room with a scalloped edge curtain

(Image credit: Anson Smart)

Sometimes, a small design feature can set the tone for an entire space, as this garden room design from Australian design studio Arent&Pyke goes to prove. While admittedly working with a room that has pretty impressive bones thanks to an almost Brutalist concrete internal façade, the addition of a bold curtain idea both softens and elevates the design of the space. 

The shade of lipstick red and curved scallops are not only echoed in other furniture chosen for the room, but it presents as the perfect foil for the industrial, concrete backdrop. 

How to plan your weekend project 

Before you start a weekend project, take time to list out everything you need to complete the task, and check to make sure you have these things in hand. Being unprepared when it comes to materials will not only mean that you might have to go out for more supplies, disrupting your weekend's plans, but also that you might be tempted to cut corners affecting the final finish of your project.  

List out the steps for the project while you're planning too, especially if you're tackling your decorating idea as part of a team. Making sure everyone is on the same page from the outset is sure to prevent miscommunication, and dare we say it, arguments later down the line. 

Plan your project to make the most of the daylight hours, especially where you're taking on an intricate or noisy project, where continuing on past sundown isn't such a good idea. Without the right task lighting for decorating, even something as simple as painting a wall using your room's standard artificial lighting won't properly illuminate the space so that you can make sure you've got a good, even coverage. If you end up with a patchy wall, you'll just have to re-do it the next day anyway! 

Hugh Metcalf
Editor of Livingetc.com

Hugh is the  Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2024.