Use paint to highlight architectural features on walls, woodwork, floors and furniture with these stylish ideas. Gather ideas and inspiration to turn your home into a sophisticated and chic abode filled with charm and personality through paintwork.
If you are lucky enough to have high ceilings then why not make the room appear cosier by bringing the ceiling colour down to the picture rail. Choose heritage shades of paint go for tonally close hues such as plum and dusky pink.
Add vertical stripes in a hallway for a sophisticated feel. Paint light tones such as white and pale blue, to add a feeling of height and space to a wall. Use a plumb line to draw the stripes out accurately before painting.
Paint two bands of colour on a wall as an effective way of introducing strong colour into a room without allowing one hue to dominate. Add stripes to the ceiling to emphasise the height of the room.
When painting a room pay attention to features such as the skirting board or vintage-style radiator. Paint features a contrasting colour, or a complementing hue in a slightly darker shade.
Paint the stairs in pastel tones for an effective country style. Use specialist floor paint and add two-tone painted risers and treads on the stairs.
For a dramatic look in your bedroom, paint walls a deep luxurious shade such as blue velvet or plum. Complement the wall colour with neutrals such as a white painted iron bed, or a cream dressing table.
When planning the overall decorating scheme for your home, tie in colour themes. For example if you feature mint green in the kitchen, mirror this tone again, for example on an upcycled painted cupboard. Add a stencil or a block-print design to finish the look. Paint the back of a vintage display cabinet in alternate pastel shades as a pretty backdrop to china and glassware
1. Pale grey hallway with panelling and storage
Highlight traditional features in a hallway with cleverly applied paint. Give architectural details such as wall panelling, dado rails, coving and cornicing a boost of colour in an innovative way. Continue colour beyond its natural boundary, or try tracing a line above or below a dado rail. Here a pale grey and white scheme is an elegant backdrop to a modern yellow hall table and coat stand.
2. Charcoal grey kitchen with white gloss units and yellow splashback
We love the contemporary style of this kitchen, where dark grey walls and bold accent colour choices balance the cool cabinetry beautifully. Gloss white kitchen units, stainless-steel appliances and a black dining table look super-sleek in this modern space. Add a burst of colour - here, yellow is used to brilliant effect via a zesty painted chair, tiled splashback and Roman blind.
3. Blue bedroom with feminine pink chest of drawers
Want to start every day feeling bright and breezy? The answer could be to choose feel-good colours for your home. Decorate your boudoir in a pretty shade that will complement your hair and eye colour – they say pale blue works for blonde, pink for brunette, and green for auburn. It’s an interesting way to decide on your colour scheme, but why not give it a try in the more personal places in your home, like the bedroom or dressing area?
4. Colourful scrapbooks, notebooks and photographs
Gather paint ideas from all around you. Holiday photos, fabrics, flowers, postcards - colour combinations can be found wherever you look. Interior designers create moodboards as they put together ideas for a room scheme, so if you spot an inspirational image, take a snap or cut it out and keep it in a scrapbook with other beautiful memorabilia for future reference.
5. Modern hallway with blocks of bold colour
Woodwork is the perfect place to go crazy with colour - break the rules and go for something other than white! Use small surface areas to include brights - when it's open this neon front door adds an exciting flash of colour to the hallway and creates a bold contrast to the black and white décor. Choose soft furnishings such as cushions to continue the neon theme.
6. Grey home office with modern orange bookshelves
Use fiery orange accent colours as a surprise hit of colour to bring grey, soft blues and greens to life. Choose a flat matt finish for walls, then go for an orange paint shade on smaller areas. This modern home office scheme is lifted by the orange inside the white bookshelves. And orange paint looks even more glorious in gloss.
7. Child’s bedroom with red and blue painted walls
Blocks of colour on walls can work in the same way as rugs on floors to give structure to a room. The colour scheme in this child's room replicates the blue, red and white target design on the duvet cover. A block of red is painted beneath the dado rail around the room and on the door, with blue above the bed to cleverly create the look of a headboard.
8. White staircase with pale green painted runner
If you want to make an impression in your hallway, but your budget won't stretch to new carpet or a woven runner for the staircase, bring shabby treads back to life with a brightly painted alternative! Create a colourful painted stair runner with two different shades for a fresh and eyecatching summer look.
Similar floor paint
9. Traditional-style radiator painted deep blue
When repainting a room, pay attention to fixtures such as radiators to make sure they dont let down the rest of the decorating scheme. Why not turn an eyesore into an asset with paint? If your radiators are less than lovely, paint them in the same colour as your walls or tiles, and if you have an ornate model, make a feature of it with a contrasting colour.
10. Panelled dark grey living room with red mirror
We know sophisticated greys are the new neutrals, but don't be coy when you're applying your paint colour. Forget white accents and go for maximum impact by treating all the surfaces with the same intense shade, creating a chic yet cocooning effect. This understated panelled living room has been given a contemporary edge with modern furniture and accessories including a circular red mirror and exposed-bulb lighting.
11. Pink painted wood kitchen chair with basket
Use paint to up-cycle a junk-shop find or give old furniture a new lease of life. If there is a paint colour you adore but are unsure of using on a large scale, its a great idea to transform furniture such as a chair, or try painting it inside a cupboard. Here a candy pink kitchen chair looks great alongside pastel linens.
12. Lilac bedroom with neutral upholstered bed
Add an extra layer of interest to a bedroom that lacks architectural features. Paint is an invaluable tool if you have a room lacking in interest and a small budget. Use it to create panels and zones that break up large areas and allow you to use more than one colour in a space. These subtle stripes mimic a dado, or you could use a group of vertical stripes to emphasise the height of a room.
13. Black bedroom with yellow and white striped ceiling
Think beyond walls when it comes to adding colour and pattern with paint. Floors and ceilings are often overlooked as potential surfaces to decorate, but if you have a high ceiling, adding colour above can actually draw the eye up and emphasise the height of the room. Painted geometric patterns are a budget alternative to floor tiles.
14. Luxurious bedroom with deep blue walls and white bed
Create a dramatic look in your bedroom by painting walls in a deep plum shade. Rich plums, purply figs and lush berry paint shades are what the best-dressed walls are wearing. Combine with laid-back neutrals, such as ivory, for a chic, understated look. In this bedroom we love the contrast between the contemporary white headboard and linen with a deep blue knitted throw.
15. Neutral country bedroom painted with lettering
Decorate walls with stencilled lettering and set the mood with a word or phrase. In this snug bedroom the word cosy above the bed creates a relaxed look. As an alternative to stencil paint, you could also use varnish to paint a design or lettering on an emulsioned wall - the sheen will contrast strikingly with the matt paint finish.
16. Green wardrobe with painted handle design
Give a wardrobe an instant lift by updating the handles. Any wooden knobs or handles can be treated to a lick of paint. To prepare wood, lightly sand down, wipe and apply an undercoat then you can really have fun with pastel paint colours, perhaps in a contrasting shade to the door colour, which will add a cheerful look to children's bedrooms.
17. White kitchen with painted blue island unit
Use paint to highlight a key piece of kitchen cabinetry in your room scheme for a bespoke look. Here a kitchen island unit and adjoining bookshelf have been painted a deep blue, so that the unit stands out against the fresh white walls and wood flooring. A few colourful accessories on the dresser shelves really bring the look to life.
18. Country bathroom with tongue-and-groove panelling
Redecorating a plain bathroom? Add character to the room with traditional panelling on the walls. Paint in a warm neutral shade for a timeless look, or go for a little colour with duck-egg blue. Tongue-and-groove panelling creates instant coastal style, so why not add a few nautical pieces such as framed pictures or a decorative boat by the window?
19. Traditional living room with grey painted feature wall
Create a focal point in your living room by painting one wall in a dramatic colour, such as charcoal grey. The original fireplace with black and white tiles inspired the feature wall in this traditional living room. Add a touch of glamour to the room with on-trend pineapple wall sconces, an overmantel mirror and a beautiful glass chandelier.
Similar wall sconces
20. Large country dining room painted warm red
Use colour to add warmth and cosiness to a large room in a traditional home. Take inspiration from this country dining room scheme, which is decorated a rich red paint shade, which frames the huge fireplace and complements the tiled flooring. Candlesticks, decorative lettering and alcoves shelves filled with books create a relaxed look and provide an extra touch of colour.
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Thea Babington-Stitt is the Assistant Editor for Ideal Home. Thea has been working across some of the UK’s leading interiors titles for nearly 10 years.
She started working on these magazines and websites after graduating from City University London with a Masters in Magazine Journalism. Before moving to Ideal Home, Thea was News and Features Editor at Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc and Country Homes & Interiors.
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