5 exciting ways to totally transform your home with paint – in a weekend

Paint and color expert Annie Sloan shares her favorite ways to reboot your rooms, fast

Three brightly painted rooms by Annie Sloan
(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Known as one of the world’s leading authorities on paint, color and style, Annie Sloan has long shared her advice with H&G on a vast array of decorating subjects, from mastering color theory and developing your own colorful interior narrative through hand-painting, decoupage and upcycling.

Annie regularly shares how you can become color confident with a range of paint ideas and techniques that will revive anything in the home, from furniture, walls and floors, to cabinetry, lampshades and doors. Here, she shares some of her favorite paint tricks to bring color into your home.

Annie Sloan Profile
Annie Sloan

Annie Sloan invented her revolutionary chalk furniture paint, and imaginative ways to use it, in 1990 and hasn’t stopped refining and improving her formula and inspirations since. She is widely considered one of the world’s leading authorities in paint, color and style. These tips are an exclusive extract taken from her first online for Create Academy course: How To Fill Your Home With Color.

1. Paint scallop edging to add architectural detail

Green door, pink walls, white fireplace

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Looking for living room paint ideas that make your room's architecture more interesting? Hand-painting a scalloped border is an easy trick for adding detail to contemporary homes and the perfect complement to traditional spaces. 

'Given the ubiquity of tastemakers and interior designers using scallop patterns on Pinterest and Instagram, you could be forgiven for thinking scalloping is a recent trend. However, there is evidence of scalloped patterns being used in interiors as far back as the Ancient Greeks, including several surviving examples of Minoan painted walls incorporating a repeat semicircle border motif,' says Annie. 

'Then, of course, the Regency period arrived. The Georgians fell in love with clams, conches, shells and applied them liberally either painted, carved or moulded inside and outside interiors. The Georgians used pastel tones copiously, and these feminine romantic colors fit perfectly with the inherent Botticellian references of scallops.'

2. Paint your floor to mirror furniture 

Green wall, brown and white tile floor and cabinet, red shelf and light

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

'Painting flooring to match painted furniture ideas gives a high-end comprehensive look and is flabbergastingly easy,' says Annie.

'Even photo frames, lamps, and tiles can be updated to suit your scheme which will give that attention-to-detail level of transformation that elevates a well-decorated room to a beautifully-decorated home. 

'Whether you paint accessories and fittings to match, to joyfully contrast, or to create a tonal spectrum that forms an orchestra of color. Repeated traditional designs like herringbone, checkerboard or gingham can look totally avant garde when done right.

'To avoid veering into matchy-matchy interiors-by-numbers territory, choose strong, bold, contrasting colors with backbone and spirit.'

3. Give your kitchen cabinets an easy, colorful upgrade 

Yellow wall paint, green cabinets, white and green circle floor

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Considering painted kitchen cabinet ideas or looking for new ones? It's worth knowing that you can paint kitchen cabinets yourself. 

'You could easily complete the makeover over a weekend or in the evenings after work,' says Annie. 'A lick of paint will transform your kitchen at the fraction of the cost, let alone fuss, of getting the professionals in. 

'When using paint rather than opting for brand new fittings it’s much less of a “risk” – which opens up a whole new world of bold color. Use savings made on cabinetry to spend on fittings and hardware which will give a chic finish and have much more impact in terms of making the space feel luxurious and fun. 

'My palette caters to everyone, whether you want to create a calm and serene white kitchen, or want to introduce some colour. This kitchen has been transformed using saffron Carnaby Yellow on the walls and tiles, with Amsterdam Green on the cabinets, and again on the floor in unison with gorgoeus Old Ochre. 

'I love how much personality is in this kitchen, it would be a wonderful place both first thing in the morning for fixing one’s first cup of tea of the day; and then later for doing dishes while enjoying a glass of wine.'

4. Re-invigorate bathrooms with bold color

Orange walls, white fireplace, clawfoot bath

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Considering bathroom paint ideas that will be transformative, particularly in cool-feeling rooms? 

'Orange bathrooms with Victorian fittings echo grand Cuban bathing spaces, which although restful are also places of reinvigoration. This vivid orange, Riad Terracotta, is inspired by the sun-baked spiced oranges and reds of Marrakech, Morocco. 

'Specifically channel the hammam spas this city is famous for by using this shade in a bathroom. The word hammam means “spreader of warmth” in Arabic, and the purpose of these communal spaces is for people to be ritualistically scrubbed and cleansed in a very warm room. The idea is that in purifying the body, one also purifies the spirit. A beautiful cultural reference to make in your home. 

'Using unexpected bathroom color ideas can be fiercely rewarding since these are usually smaller spaces. Here, the orange sparkles and dances and projects into the room, filling the space with joy-sparking color. Especially effective in a high-ceilinged room with plenty of light; not recommended in bathrooms with no natural light as the pigment in the orange will be lost. Sunny and warm, splash it on walls if you’re feeling confident and playful or limit to vanities and bathtubs to create eye-catching accents.'

5. Re-imagine vintage furniture in modern colors

Pink desk and mirror frame, green lamps, blue wall and tiles

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

'Classics going colorful make a confident, exhilarating, lively statement. Perfect for an entryway, foyer or hallway, which will set the tone for your whole home. This photoshoot was buckets of fun to work on. We took classical-inspired furniture (you can’t tell from the image but these were charity shop source repros rather than actual antiques, which I would hesitate before painting unless damaged). 

'I had a huge amount of freedom with how to paint this space and I allowed myself to be utterly playful and chose the colors which most delighted me. I was desperate to use Capri Pink (my Schiaparelli-inspired hot pink) so that was my starting point. It’s a brilliantly bold, empowering, smile-inducing shade. 

'I emphasized the color by using pea green and peppy Chalk Paint in Firle on the lamp and then drenched the rest of the room in a soothing backdrop of cool blues. Louis Blue, a pastel baby blue with strong connections to Regency homes, is a witty yet calming backdrop for the walls, and we strengthened it by pairing with slightly stronger Greek Blue to create a tiled pattern on the floor. These cool-toned contrasts further emphasize the vitality of that lip-smackingly pigmented hot pink.'

Lucy Searle
Content Director

Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she also took on the editorship of the magazine. Today, Lucy works as Content Director across Homes & Gardens, Woman & Home, Ideal Home and Real Homes.