What is color drenching? Interior designers love this bold trend

Color drenching brings dramatic results. Here's how to do it in a small space

Three pics of color drenching. Left is living room with dark blue color drenched walls window treatments and cornicing, middle is peach color drenched room with burnt orange velvet fringed loveseat and green palm plant with copper side table, right is moss green with marble and wooden vintage table in foreground
(Image credit: McCaffery Design Group/ Matthew Williamson/ deVOL Kitchens)

Color drenching has been sweeping across our interiors and no wonder, with designers and DIY enthusiasts alike using it to great effect. You too can bring this eye-catching design feature into your small space with ease.

In our guide to color drenching, our interior designers share what makes this decor trend so popular, what to paint to achieve the look including walls, architectural detailing, ceilings and even the floor, plus how to bring the rest of the room in line without losing variation.

What's great about color drenching and why it's one of our top 10 interior design trends for 2024, is its ability to visually even things out, so if you have an unsightly fixture you can't afford to upgrade right now, painting it in the same color as everything else will create a uniformed look. 

What is color drenching? 

Embrace this fabulous trend with us and you'll never look back,we promise! It takes the fuss out having to choose different colors, and no more painstaking painting of white woodwork.

Below we look into what is color drenching and how to apply it in your own home, with expert picks to help you shop the guide.

The prices in this article were correct at the time of publishing.

What is color drenching?

Color drenching is when we paint everything the same color from skirtings to ceiling and everything in-between, including doors and even floors. You can use any shade you like, though mid to dark tones do create a more dramatic result. 

"Color drenching can be the single most effective and affordable way to transform and elevate a space, says Matthew Williamson, founder and interior designer at Matthew Williamson Design. "This technique transcends traditional boundaries by immersing an entire room in a single shade."

It works in every room of your home too, and we particularly love it in kitchens.

Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL Kitchens adds, "Painting your walls and cupboards in the same color is true commitment and will reward you with a cohesive and always impressive look. The all-encompassing color creates an atmosphere of calm where nothing is fighting for dominance." 

For a similar green paint to this kitchen pictured above, try Lick's Green 18 Matt

image of Matthew Williamson, global interior designer standing by a window wearing a yellow and white stripe shirt, blue trousers, standing in front of yellow console table
Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson is an award-winning interior designer, known predominantly for his unique and unrivalled use of pattern and colour. Having begun his illustrious career in fashion under his namesake brand over 20 years ago, Matthew has drawn on his decades of experience and pivoted seamlessly into the world of interior design. He now develops several homeware collections to sit his growing residential and commercial interior design projects globally. His latest achievements are the launch of his first interiors book, Living Bright, a personal guide to embracing colour, and the Design Kitchen, a newly designed space for the Design Museum in Kensington, London.

what is color drenching? Green color drenched kitchen with mid green paint on walls, woodwork and ceiling, dark wood flooring, vintage table as an island with marble countertop, artwork, retro pendant above island

(Image credit: deVOL Kitchens)
expert headshot of Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL Kitchens, a blond woman standing in a kitchen with a white shirt on
Helen Parker

Helen Parker is deVOL's creative director. Joining in 2004 as a kitchen designer, by 2011 she had become responsible for deVOL's style, creating one-of-a-kind showrooms, sourcing antiques and gifts and designing new pieces of furniture and accessories. Over the years, she has developed deVOL's look and voice, styling all their beautiful imagery, writing for their brochures and website, and is often featured in national and international press. 

Where did color drenching come from?

Blue color drenching in a living room with blue walls, woodwork and ceiling, lilac accents, blue couch, gold metallic coffee table nest, drapes

(Image credit: McCaffery Design Group)

It's not entirely certain where color drenching came from, though the Victorians did love to paint a lot, so it may have originated from that era and is a reaction to the maximalism look that's also popular. 

"I think its recent popularity comes as a reaction to the minimalist trend that has been so popular the past few years. Maximalism is back and people are yearning for rooms with more character and drama," says Katie McCaffrey, owner and principal of McCaffrey Design Group.

"I have been using color drenching for years because our firm has always attracted clients who love the way we play with color fearlessly. It's also a great way to minimize “static" that sometimes comes from contrasting trims and ceilings. Drenching a room in one color or one color range creates impact but it also creates a calm uniformity which can make a room feel bigger and more impactful." 

For a similar blue to the one pictured above, check out Farrow & Ball's Hague Blue.

image of interior designer Katie McCaffrey from McCaffrey Design Group
Katie McCaffrey

Katie McCaffrey, owner and principal of McCaffrey Design Group, is a San Francisco bay area native who infuses her client’s contemporary spaces with color, art, antiques and a joyful soul. Katie offers clients her iconic contemporary style at McCaffrey Design Group which blends fine art, great design and clients’ need for a comfortable space. 

How to color drench

Color drenched living room in coral, matching mantel, artwork and candles on mantel, jute rug, fringed orange armchair, gold vintage side table

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

The first step is to choose your color. Although most color drenched rooms you may see might be darker shades, that doesn't mean they have to be. A lovely blush, pale grey or light green would work perfectly well. 

"I personally love decorating with a blush or plaster pink as my go-to neutral for color drenching. It is kinder and more forgiving than white, more fun than beige and warmer than grey," advises Matthew.

Once you've picked your shade it's time to give your space the allover color treatment. Don't forget to remove or cover furniture to avoid paint splatter, especially if you're painting your ceiling (try the LOOBANI 10 piece waterproof 9x12 feet disposable plastic tarps on Amazon).

"From the walls and ceiling to woodwork, cornicing and even furniture and radiators, every surface becomes a canvas for expression. This approach creates a seamless and continuous look, which in turn can help to create the illusion of a bigger space," says Matthew.

This warming Coral Reef from Valspar is a near match to the cozy room pictured above.

Shop the color drenching look

If you'd love to try this exciting trend, then start by choosing your color. You can then add in accessories in the same shade for cohesion.

If you love color then this fabulous trend is really worth a try. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to pick a dark color, go for a shade that you love the most across the room.

"Furnishings, fabrics and decorative items can amplify the chosen hue and contribute to the cohesive feel of the room," says Matthew. 

Katie agrees, "Color drenching is so fun! The ticket is to not be afraid. Jump in with both feet! Select a room that you want to have an impact. Select a color that resonates with you and which feels appropriate for your house." 

For more inspiration, check out our spring home decor ideas and small space decorating ideas.

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.