Paint ideas – 12 easy ways to elevate walls, floors, ceilings and more

Inspiring paint ideas to inspire you to start some colorful weekend projects to transform any room

Dining room with colorful chairs
(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

We've all been looking at our homes through a new lens these past few years and many re-assessing the decorating choices we once made - thinking about how to update and re-fresh tired rooms with quick and easy paint ideas.

Giving walls, woodwork, or even ceilings a coat of fresh color can totally transform any living space and a simple paint shade can have an immense effect on our emotions, happiness, and well-being. Drawing inspiration from the most forward-thinking interior designers, restaurants, and homes we've rounded all our favorite paint hacks, styles, and effects for every room. 

So if you were looking for a weekend project to update your home, whether it's switching up your living room color or changing the hue of your kitchen cabinets, we have plenty...

12 paint ideas to totally transform a room

1. Transform with two tone walls

paint ideas Wooden door with black frame and surrounding walls painted in beige and taupe with a black dado rail in the middle

(Image credit: Soho House Amsterdam)

Two-tone walls with the introduction of a dado rail that runs between the colors is one of the most on-trend ways to transform a room. A dado is an architectural molding often found in most Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian houses where period features have been preserved or restored. They are used in modern interiors to provide a break between the lower portion and upper portion of a wall and a fun opportunity to use a variety of wall-coverings or colors within the same room.

'For the chic hallways in Soho House Amsterdam we painted the lower half of the walls a creamy coffee color and used a light neutral on top then added a smart black dado line and black door frames to create a strong visual connection,' explains Sevverine Lamonglia, Lead Designer at Soho House. 'Two-tone walls can transform a space, it adds depth and detail to a wall. It is also easy to do and a cost-effective way of adding character.'

2. Match your skirting with the wallpaper

Bedroom with blue patterned wallpaper and glossy blue skirting board

(Image credit: The Bear Inn)

A really easy way to update your bedroom colors (or colors in ay room really) that doesn't require a complete overhaul and most likely an afternoon of relaxing DIY is by painting skirting that is often kept simple in a bright hue.

'Skirtings and cornices don’t have to be an off-white and eggshell and gloss don’t have to be left just for the woodwork,' says  Interior Designer Octavia Dickinson. 'While decorating a bedroom at The Bear Inn, Hodnet, I picked out colors in the wallpaper and painted the skirtings in a bright glossy blue which instantly modernizes the room and frames the wallpaper.'

3. Use an on-trend plaster finish 

Bathroom with plaster pink walls and mint green chandelier

(Image credit: Holloway Li)

Raw plaster walls have a beautiful texture and inject a subtle, earthy wash of color to your home. They provide a wonderful canvas for brighter colors to shine too, from pastels to bold neons like in this light-filled bathroom by interior designers Holloway Li.

'Don’t use any paint at all and retain the raw plaster look,' advises Alex Holloway founder of Holloway Li Interior Architects.  'We found a sealer called PROTECTiT100 that binds the raw plaster so it doesn’t leave a dusty deposit and means the space captures the raw feeling and is a lot easy to repair and patch over time, without having to repaint the whole room each time.'  

4. Go all over with a wash of the same shade

Smokey grey painted living room with charcoal walls and dark grey curtains

(Image credit: Albion Nord)

Layering the same color in a range of hues in one room can be a striking technique in itself. It's an elegant technique that has longevity as well as feeling like a modern update.

'In this living room, we have matched the curtains with the paint color to give the room an all-encompassing feel,' Camilla Clarke, Creative Director at Albion Nord 'Down Pipe by Farrow and Ball is a color that looks great in the daytime but also becomes very cozy and inviting at night when lit with lamplight. The color has been used on the walls, architectural details, door architraves, and window reveals. This gives a more contemporary edge to the room and also making it feel more cohesive.' 

5. Color contrast adjoining rooms

Green bedroom with pink hallway beyond

(Image credit: Natalie Tredgett)

Choosing contrasting colors in adjacent rooms and considering how room colors look when viewed from one to another is a clever way to create a flow of hues throughout the space.  This lovely jade green bedroom has a view through to a candy pink hallway – part of a series of colorful rooms designed by Natalie Tredgett.

'When deciding what colors to use in two adjoining rooms consider the conversation between the spaces,' says Natalie. 'Our eye is drawn to warmer colors, so lead with a pink, coral, or terracotta to naturally draw someone in that direction. Then create layers and complexity by making the next room a cooler color like green, teal, or blue.'

6. Layer a symphony of whites

White kitchen flooded with light and wooden and silver utensils

(Image credit: Tutti Meme)

Is going all white really a color update when it is is one of the most common color choices when decorating an interior? Far from ordinary and safe this lovely white kitchen belonging to designer Caroline Feiffer layers a symphony of whites in an array of finishes and features highlights of glossy white marble and burnished silver details from kitchen accessories and exposed pipes.

'I love a gallery approach to designing in general, using a white space and for objects to be able to stand out without any noise.' says Caroline Feiffer founder of studio Tutti Meme. 'I therefore naturally turn to whites and especially warmer whites as these give a sense of sunlight flushing in. The color in this kitchen from our old Copenhagen townhouse apartment, features a brighter matte white on the walls, the beams a more glossy and a bit warmer hue, and for the kitchen a warm white from farrow and ball called Pointing No. 2003, a warm and delicate white.'

7. Make door frames pop

A white room with traditional door painted in a bright blue door frame

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

There's nothing like a lick of glossy bold color to energize and instantly modernize a traditional space. This generously proportioned Victorian home features paperwhite walls with door trims picked out in brilliant blue gloss.

'Pick out door frames in contrasting hues to introduce some excitement.' says Joa Studholme Colour Curator at Farrow and Ball. 'School House White is pared back, timeless, and familiar on walls but has a subtle sophistication that makes it the perfect foil for stronger hues like the lively tones of Stone Blue, used here on the frame of the door.'

8. Or take color to the window frames

Window Frame

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.

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. 

9. Embrace the trend for glossy finishes 

A dining table in a restaurant with glossy yellow walls

(Image credit: Fettle)

Inspiration for paint ideas are everywhere and borrowing from your favorite restaurants and design-led haunts is an exciting way to bring a little bit of that social buzz home. As this new restaurant Isola in St. Christopher’s Place by interior architects Fettle proves, gloss is back and is looking like a huge interior design trend for 2022.

'The color palette for Isola restaurant was inspired by Grand Sicilian Manorhouses,' says Andy Goodwin Founder of Fettle. 'We utilized pale yellow polished plaster with a high gloss finish and applied it with a brush to ensure that the strokes create movement and texture. Using high gloss paint finishes helps to ensure the available natural light bounces around the room.'

10. Get creative with decorative shapes

painted scalloping painted wave effect on wall

(Image credit: 2LG)

How fabulous is this kitchen diner designed by 2LG Studio (opens in new tab)? There's so much inspiration we could take from this space but lets just focus on the paint idea that frames the door. It's fun, playful, and adds a whimsical touch – and yet it feels very chic and grown-up.

Recreating this look is super simple too, all it takes is a pot of paint (you could use a sample pot even), a small paintbrush, a pencil, and some patience. You could get technical with tape, but with a design like this, we'd say your fine to freehand it. Just lightly draw your design with a pencil and then start painting. 

11. Give old floor boards a new lease of life

Painted Floor paint ideas

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

Painted floorboards are a classic look, and you can create so many looks to suit your style from super simple whitewashed boards to checkerboard or stripes as can be seen here. 

‘Painting the floor with an accent color brings a huge amount of drama to a space,’ says chalk paint expert Annie Sloan (opens in new tab). ‘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.’

12. Use paint to revive old furniture

painted kitchen paint ideas

(Image credit: Future)

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. 

Check out our guide on how to paint furniture – it's a super quick job that can be achieved in a couple of hours. 

Rohini Wahi is Content Editor for Livingetc Online. With a decade-long career in the interiors and design industry working as a journalist for premium lifestyle publications then delving deeper into the business as a trend forecaster, Rohini has amassed a wealth of global design knowledge that informs her work. She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home.