Easy paint ideas – clever ways to decorate your home with color

Try your hand at these simple, yet striking ways of decorating with paint

Easy-paint-ideas-Annie-Sloan-bedroom
(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Adding color can have a totally transformative effect on a space and one of the most straightforward and easy ways to do this is to use paint.

As Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director at Dulux says:  'The right colors can even make small spaces appear larger and reconnect us with nature. It has always had the power to transform on more levels than the way things look and we are only just beginning to realise its potential in our homes.'

We've curated our favorite easy paint ideas, showing how to introduce color in a variety of ways to help you create a completely new scheme in your home. 

What are the easiest paint ideas for a room?

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(Image credit: Little Greene)

It may not seem like you're doing much but by painting a single wall, you can completely change the look and feel of a room. But why stop there? Simple tricks like painting alcoves, woodwork, even ceilings can make a world of difference. 

The addition of pops of colour, whether muted or bold, can lift a scheme, accentuating architectural features or highlighting certain areas of a room. It's not a terribly difficult task either - painting a small feature of area in a room, can add depth, brighten a space or draw focus. 

While the obvious choice is to paint a wall (or four), try and think outside the box to other areas that involve less work, delivering a more unusual, yet no less effective, look. All you need is a paint, a brush and a little bit of inspiration. 

What is an essential piece of painting kit?

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(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Good quality brushes are key to getting a neat and tidy finish. The same can be said for rollers, too – cheaper versions of both tend to shed hairs or fibres, which then annoyingly become embedded in the painted finish. 

If, however, you're planning any specific detail work or painting a segment of wall, painter's tape is a must. Frog Tape or 3M Painter's Tape are both excellent choices and will help you create a neat and clean edge to your painting.

Easy paint ideas

1. Try painting your ceiling in a bold shade 

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(Image credit: Paint & Paper Library)

While most people tend to paint their walls, consider flipping the look by choosing a bold color for your ceiling instead. Compared to an all-white ceiling, a colourful one will add drama and personality to a room, while making it feel cozier, too.

Keep walls predominantly white - if you prefer, you can choose a subtle, coordinating shade below the dado rail - and pick a strong shade for your ceiling. 

This look is especially effective when the same color is echoed on the walls in an adjacent room.

2. Surprise by sneaking color into your cupboards 

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(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

For a guaranteed color pick-me-up, painting the inside of a plain pantry or cabinet in a bold shade is a guaranteed winner. 

Perfect for open shelving, glass-fronted cabinets and even closed pantries, this effect offers you the opportunity to be adventurous with colour without overwhelming the rest of your scheme. 

Choose a completely contrasting shade - the more dramatic the difference, the better the finished look - and paint every inch of the inside, from shelves to doors. 

3. Add layers of tonal color to make a space appear larger

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(Image credit: Little Greene)

Wrapping a space in warming layers of color not only creates a smart, cohesive feel, it can make a room feel bigger than it actually is. Patrick O’ Donnell, Brand Ambassador at Farrow & Ball agrees: 'Carrying the wall colour onto all of your woodwork creates the illusion of more space.'

Choose a relatively pale hue for the wall and pair it with a darker shade (of the same color) on adjacent woodwork. 

You can either continue the look though to the rest of the space with similarly tonal shades on furniture and accessories. Alternatively, keep the rest of the furnishings in neutral tones for a more subtle effect.

4. Bring depth to an alcove using paint

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(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Here, plain white built-in storage is given a lift with the addition of a panel of color in the recessed section. Painting an alcove like this adds depth and variety to a space. 

The paint color you choose doesn't necessarily have to be a dramatic either - a soft tone can work just as well as a bolder shade. With color, often the smallest of changes can make the most difference.

5. Paint a contrasting panel to draw focus

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(Image credit: Dulux)

Just as you would add a rug to create a separate zone in a large room, a painted wall panel can do the job just as effectively. 

Here, a small dining area in an open plan room is pulled into sharp focus by the clever painted panel on the wall behind the table and chairs. Stretched up onto the ceiling, it creates a wrap around effect on the space, giving an overall cocooning effect to a spacious room with lofty ceilings.

6. Experiment with color on woodwork

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(Image credit: Little Greene)

It's a classic choice and perfectly natural to reach for a white or off-white color when painting woodwork, but by choosing a less obvious shade, you can create a far more sophisticated effect. 

Just as you would opt for a contrasting, harmonious or tonal shade when painting a separate panel on a wall, look to using that color on the woodwork instead. 

If painting woodwork on a wallpapered wall, color match your paint to a shade from within the pattern, using that instead for maximum effect.

7. Build up ombre shades on your stairwell

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(Image credit: Crown)

An easy (and deeply satisfying) project to execute, painting stair risers in a graduated ombre look produces a clever, eye-catching effect. Tester pots of tonal color will work a treat as you won't need much to cover each panel, either.

The beauty of this look lies in its simplicity so decorate the steps and the hallway in a pale, neutral shade to avoid the remaining decor fighting against the soft, staggered colors.

8. Break up a large space using color

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(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

A large expanse of wall in one shade can feel a little overwhelming, no matter how much furniture you have in the space to try and break it up. 

Head of Design at Paint & Paper Library, Andy Greenall suggests: 'Try combining contrasting colours, painting above and below a dado rail, using layers of colour to build a dynamic colour scheme.' 

The addition of a horizontal panel of contrasting color in this scheme makes the space appear cozier and more inviting.

9. Add bold color to unexpected places

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(Image credit: Crown)

Color can be used to emphasise and highlight architectural features, from painting cornicing, pillars or arches in contrasting shades. 

It's the unusual that makes this particularly effective so so don't shy away from using bolder hues, provided you keep a neutral background to provide the colors with a simple backdrop from which to shine.

10. Introduce warmth to a space using tonal colour

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(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

While all-white kitchens are endlessly popular, in north-facing rooms they can have the tendency to look cold and uninviting. 

Using a clutch of soft shades on walls and cabinetry can create a space that is both warm and cocooning, making the most of the natural light available.

Now that we've given you some decorating inspiration, it's time to pick up a paintbrush and try one of these easy paint ideas out for yourself!