Modern wall paint design ideas with tape – for walls that are graphically glorious

We've found 50 modern wall paint design ideas, ranging from patterns and dado rail effects to colour blocking and more

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

It's time to turn your walls into something graphically glorious with this brilliant wall paint design ideas with tape.

The wall is a blank canvas, so it's surprising how few of us do much more than paint on one block colour. With a little imagination, masking out a wall and painting pockets of colour can look surprisingly chic. These wall paint ideas with tape can transform the traditional into something altogether modern, and make the unassuming seem really rather clever.

Colour blocking will help to zone different areas, which is particularly useful in open-plan spaces. Colour is a great way to break up open-plan spaces and create zones that mark the difference between where you cook, say, and where you relax.

Read Also:The Best Grey Paint Shades,The Six Best Powder Blue Paint Shades andThe only 5 shades of white paint you'll ever need

By painting two-thirds of the wall with a colour and leaving the top third white will help to visually raise the ceiling height. Splitting a wall with two tones can look modern and sharp, and a light hue above a darker one makes a room seem larger.

Read Also:Cool and clever ways with paint

A dado or picture rail makes a good divider, but where you draw the line will depend on the room’s features and where the light falls. Painting borders can create the illusion of a dado rail where there isn't one, and painted borders can also frame floors, fireplaces, arches, windows and other features, drawing attention to them.

Highlight interesting architectural details with contrasting or complementary shades and create a picture frame effect.

And, if it’s maximum drama you’re after, it pays to be brave. We love some of the striking wall paint design ideas used below, illustrating how to create geometric shapes, horizontal stripes, smart check patterns or even mountain effects, bringing imaginative flair to schemes.

A painted ceiling is also a fabulous way to introduce a bold accent colour – you can even take to the floors. ‘Painting the floor with an accent colour such as Klein Blue brings a huge amount of drama to a space,’ says chalk paint expert Annie Sloan. ‘Keep the rest of the room neutral with soft nude browns such as taupes or fawns to focus attention on the floor. Or go for white walls – but be sure to choose a warm-toned or neutral white rather than one with blue undertones as this could make the space feel stark.’

Here are a few simple ways to weave a complementary shade into a scheme. Brush up on these creative wall paint design ideas with masking tape...

Neon Edge

Neon Edge

A crisp line of neon pink adds a bold, modern edge to this room without being overbearing. Get the look: Carpetright Madagascar Wilton Carpet in Beige Leopard £39.99m2

Neon Edge

Neon Edge

A crisp line of neon pink adds a bold, modern edge to this room without being overbearing. Get the look: Carpetright Madagascar Wilton Carpet in Beige Leopard £39.99m2

Frame It Yellow

Frame It Yellow

A dash of incandescent yellow – Trumpet by Little Greene – delivers a burst of energy and links the front living room to the middle sitting room in the home of interior designer Suzy Hoodless

Pastel Pair

Pastel Pair

Here, a large frame acts as a border for a plane of contrasting colour. It's a striking effect, and works well with these two pastel shades. Get the look: Lichen and Setting Plaster estate emulsions, both £45 each for 2.5L, by Farrow & Ball.

Split Divide

Split Divide

In this long and thin corridor, the colour was only taken half way up the wall. If the narrow space had been blue all the way to the ceiling, the space would have felt very enclosed. By using a light shade at the top, the area feels more open. Get the look: The lower half of the wall is painted in Inchyra Blue; the upper half in All White, both by Farrow & Ball. The overhead light is from Gong. The bauble decoration is from Habitat.

Mondrian

Mondrian

We love this paint effect idea, where masking tape has been used to create neat lines, borders and boxes, inspired by the artist Mondrian, and then coloured in.

Illusionist

Illusionist

Twin beds are given the illusion of headboards simply with paint.

Paint Effects

Paint Effects

In this example from Farrow & Ball, masking tape has been used to create a striking effect on the wall in three complementing colours.

Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow

Zesty yellow is an unusual choice for undertake dado, and the colour is taken up the inside of the arched hallways too. The effect is playful and uplifting. Get the look: Walls in Soane Yellow by Papers and Paints. Stairs in Highland Green by Dulux. Asparagus ferns, Nikki Tibbles Wild At Heart. Star, Ginger Ray.

Floor Border

Floor Border

Brightly painted borders on the floor inject a playful energy.

Painted Stairs

Painted Stairs

Using a fun colour on the stairs, even just on the vertical part of the steps, instantly makes them more cool.

Alcove

Alcove

The ceramics collection on this alcove ledge is highlighted by the strip of pastel pink. Get the look: The wall light and pedestal were bought at online antiques auctions. Find similar at Tommy Mitchell. The reclaimed wood dining table is by DT-69. These are vintage white Ant chairs by Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen and Peppermint DSW chairs by Charles and Ray Eames for Vitra. The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite and Calamine Pink estate emulsion.

Geometric

Geometric

Using masking tape, you can easily create some eye-catching geometric patterns.

Geometric Colour Block

Geometric Colour Block

Can't decide on a colour? Choose a mix instead. Here, tape was used to combine three complementing shades in a modern, geometric way.

Smart Checks

Smart Checks

Here Dulux shows how you can easily create a smart check pattern simply by choosing a backdrop colour, then overlaying it with a criss cross of stripes.

Horizontal Stripe

Horizontal Stripe

Painting a repeat pattern like these pastel stripes on the walls creates a smart, wallpapered effect.

Wave Effect

Wave Effect

We love the wave affect ribbon of paint that frames this doorway, styled by 2LG. Get the look: The 'Capsule Saldo' pendant from the 'Capsule' collection is a collaboration between 2LG and lighting designers Cameron Design House.

Faux Dado

Faux Dado

Who said you need an actual dado rail to have a painted colour below dado height? Using masking tape instead, you can create a more up-to-date and modern version of the idea.

Framed

Framed

The painted skirting, doorframe and door create a striking frame into the next room. Get the look: The tiles are from The Antique Floor Company. The mirror is from Absolute Flowers & Home. The wall lights are from Caroline de Kerangal. The bath and brassware are from The Albion Bath Company.

Transition

This idea is illustrated again here, where a grey doorway creates a transition from this room into the next.

Cornicing

Cornicing

A pink ‘racing stripe’ has been added to this cornicing, adding a modern twist to the traditional room. The back of the fireplace is painted in same pink used for the cornicing. Get the look: Mr and Mrs cushions from Liberty. Coffee table found on Golborne Road. For a similar armchair, try Graham & Green. Upcycled chaise longue by Ines Cole at Liberty. Vases on mantelpiece from the Oriental department at Liberty. Little plates to the right, high up on the wall, by Yvonne Ellen, from Liberty. Painting above mirror by Hugo Guinness. Persian rug from Liberty. Flowers from Wild at Heart.

Double Doors

Double Doors

Introduce splashes of colour through painting doors in bold colours, and leaving the rest of the room more neutral. In this sitting room, a grey palette is lifted by the Tiffany blue door, the two fuchsia chairs and tangerine artwork. Get the look: The I Like It. What Is It? poster is by Anthony Burrill. The pink velvet armchairs are from Fern & Grey. The coffee table is from West Elm.

Different Shades Of The Same Colour

Different Shades Of The Same Colour

Highlighting skirting, windows, doors, mantels and other features in a stronger tone can make a subtle impact. Get the look: Velvet Plum by Crown is similar

Steps

Steps

Here the vertical part of the stairs is painted in a zingy yellow, giving a cheerier contrast to the palette of white and greys.

It's A Wrap

It's A Wrap

A ribbon in burnt ochre contrasts against the ink-drenched room.

Painted Line

Painted Line

Here, a thin painted line acts as a border to the colour below it.

Top To Bottom

Top To Bottom

This living room scheme features a sea of deep greens and rich textures to create a dramatic yet harmonious feel. Flashes of metallics and a dash of contrasting colour in the accessories heighten the glamour. Get the look: Walls are painted in Huntsman Green elite emulsion, £49 for 2.5L; woodwork in Taylors Grey acrylic eggshell, £34 for 1L; sofa in Quartz Velvet in Teal, £117m, all Zoffany.

Stair Runner

Stair Runner

A neon stripe runs up the stairs, cutting diagonally across the wall and punctuating through the grey colour palette.

Painted Ceiling

Painted Ceiling

Flashes of red keep this decadent cinema den feeling daring and grown-up. Get the look: The sofa is from BPA International. This is the E1027 side table by Eileen Gray for Aram Designs at Aram Store. The patterned cushions are by By Nord at Houseology. The linen cushion covers are from The Linen Works. This is a Windowpane throw by Raft Furniture.

Blue Ceiling

Blue Ceiling

The door and door-frame are painted in the same shade as the ceiling, giving this room more edge. Get the look: Wall light, Bert Frank. Cushion, Soho Home. Artwork, Alexandria Coe

Colour Blocking

Colour Blocking

Enveloping each room in a different paint colour will create distinctly different zones, rooms and moods.

Daring Dado

Daring Dado

This room’s low dado rail makes a natural split, while the daring shade of turquoise instantly makes the space more modern. Get the look: For a similar paint shade, try Fresco Blue 1829 chalky emulsion, £35 for 2.5L, Craig & Rose.

Groovy

Groovy

In this kitchen, paint playful cuts across the grooves of the kitchen dresser. The dresser itself is a fun twist in that the grooves carry on up the wall and onto the ceiling.

Painted Floor

Painted Floor

Here, the gloss painted floor boards with a stripe effect acts as the focal point of the room, and instantly makes this otherwise uninteresting room feel modern and cool.

High Rail

High Rail

In this off-the-wall idea, the dado rail is placed unusually high, with the space above it painted in a wild fuchsia.

Monochrome

Monochrome

Here, a monochrome scheme is made more interesting with painted cornicing, skirting, doorframe and dado rail, plus the contrasting pop of the raspberry pink door.

Overspill

Overspill

The painted dado-effect appears spill over onto the curtains. Matching curtains to wall colour creates a feeling of space and uniformity so could be a good option for smaller spaces. Play with contrasts, however, for dramatic effect and to create a focal point within the room. Get the look: Farrow & Ball’s Ammonite, Brinjal, Charlotte’s Locks and Rectory Red estate emulsions, £45 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball. Find a similar Sixties-style Schreiber lacquered wood dressing table on eBay. The curtains are made in Harlequin’s Tranquil Bayberry/Praline 130954 viscose/linen-mix, from £68.85m, from Fashion Interiors.

Pink Plaster

Pink Plaster

Pistacchio walls are a light, calm contrast to the dusty blush ceiling and dark olive dado.

Upcycle

Upcycle

Upcycle tired furniture with bold accent shades to breathe new life into old pieces. Bright yellows, bold blues, vibrant reds and rich emerald greens are great for invigorating furniture. They’ll complement the popular navy blue and grey neutrals that we’re seeing in many homes. Here, odd chairs are united with a hit of blue. Get the look: Try Farrow & Ball’s Chinese Blue

Swamp green

Swamp green

This swampy green is what we imagine you'd get from mixing in a brown or orange pigment with a mossy green – it's very deep, grounded and earthy. The paint has been taken across the headboard too, to striking effect, but we like that it hasn't been taken all the way up to the ceiling. Pink pairs well with it, and pink bedding ties in with the blush hue on the wall. Get the look: Paints from Dulux.

Window Frame

Window Frame

A bold colour framing the window creates a framed picture-like effect; the picture in this case being the view. In this bathroom, the window frame and ceiling have been accentuated with dashes of sunny orange and ultramarine, giving the period space a contemporary feel. Get the look: Walls are painted in Flint, ceiling in Deep Space Blue and window frame in Marigold, all from £22.50 for 1L absolute matt emulsion, Little Greene.

Trio

Three different shades from Little Green instantly transform this traditional room into something ultra modern.

Skirting

Skirting

Yellow skirting also achieves a modern, zingy and uplifting effect.

3D

3D

In this idea from Little Greene, a feature wall is made to look 3D simply by painting the sides of it in a slightly darker shade.

Arched

Arched

These gorgeous Deluxe shades complement each other perfectly, and look very smart in this arched window composition.

Ink Effect

Ink Effect

Blanket coverage with a single paint colour makes a bold design statement. Faux flowers both relieve and enhance the dark and moody colour scheme. Get the look: The flowers and vase are by Abigail Ahern. The vintage stool and Deco mirror are both from eBay.

Throwing Shapes

Throwing Shapes

You could even use tape to break away from straight lines, by overlapping tape at different angles or by intentionally creating messy lines – as long as you make it look intentional, as has been achieved here.

Unexpected

Unexpected

A wall of built-in storage is given a makeover with three contrasting colours and a roll of masking tape. We particularly love how the purple doesn't carry right up to the ceiling but is cut off at an unexpected point, halfway up the top cupboard.

Splashback Effect

Splashback Effect

The space behind the kitchen counter is painted in a block colour, creating the effect of a splash back. Of course, this would only work if the sink is in the kitchen island, unless you protect the paint with a waterproof coating.

Strip

Strip

A deep indigo anchors the lower half of the room, with a textured wallpaper above and a strip of blue as a zingy divide. Get the look: The print of Slim Aarons’ Poolside Glamour is from Grapefruit Gallery. Console, Wood’n Design. Indigo Blue paint (on lower half of wall), Sanderson.

Zoning

Zoning

In an open-plan living space, zoning different areas in contrasting colours can create rooms within rooms. Bubblegum pink frames the lounge area in this open-plan space, while the hallway beyond sports a dramatic fire-engine red, which is ideal for making an entrance. Get the look: The wall is painted in Nancy’s Blushes and the panelling in Charlotte’s Locks, both estate emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball. Planter in Scallion pure flat emulsion, £49.50 for 2.5L, Paint & Paper Library.

Ombre

Ombre

These walls are painted in a gradually fading ombre effect, while the contrasting pastel pink ceiling has a crisp, neat edge. Get the look: The bed is vintage French. The light is by Lee Broom. The wallpaper is Designers Guild. The bedside table was from Alfies Antique Market. Wild & Wolf does a turquoise Trim phone.