18 wall painting ideas – how to use paint, tape and creativity to DIY new looks

Refresh your living room, bedroom and the rest of your home with the best DIY wall paint ideas. You need tape, paint and a little creative thinking.

Yellow painted wall behind bed with wall light and soft furnishings
(Image credit: Dulux)

The most creative DIY wall paint ideas can transform your home in a hurry, and without a big spend. It's no secret that a lick of paint works a treat on tired or dated walls, but there's more to decor than simply painting walls in one uniform color, from top to bottom. Using tape, a bit of string or even a steady hand and choosing the right color pairing is a great way to add interest to your living room, bedroom, hallway or other space in the house. 

Most of these techniques can be achieved easily by beginners plus, you'll be able to upgrade your space in as little as a few hours or a weekend too...

What is the most creative way to paint a wall?

Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux says, 'The most creative way to paint a wall is to use more than one colour.  This could anything from horizontal split colours and blocks of colour to define different zones to a colour on the ceiling rather than the walls or a fully immersive hand painted mural.' And, it is so personal to you but that is the beauty of DIY. Whether you want to get messy and create a Pollock-style accent wall or use tape to add a pop of color in your home office, it's totally up to you.

1. Paint a blue ombré wall in a bathroom

ombre finish blue toned bathroom with roller bath

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

A DIY ombré wall is one of the most stunning yet truly achievable wall paint ideas out there. Beaut in a bathroom and sure to make an impact in a living room or bedroom too, whatever tone you go for. Simply pick up a few cans of your favorite paint colors, and your best paint brushes.

2. Add structure with paint in a bedroom

Yellow painted wall behind bed with wicker wall shelf and boho soft furnishings

(Image credit: Dulux)

A little masking tape really can help make an impact when you're getting creative with bedroom color ideas. Mark of a square section – off beat for more interest – and choose a contrasting color to make an impact. This bedroom was brought to life using Simply refresh feature paint in Golden Sands by Dulux and it's the perfect way to add a little structure to a soft, bohemian decor theme.

3. DIY a painted wall arch

Blue painted DIY wall arch in dining space with olive green velour chairs, artwork and house plants

(Image credit: Dulux)

A painted wall arch will add the pop of color needed to brighten up a neutral space. Great for a kids room or to better zone a workspace in a home office. Recreate this accent wall using tape, string and chalk – to get the perfect curve – and Ink well paint by Dulux.

4. Paint a headboard pink and with flair

patterned paint colours from Crown Paint in a bedroom

(Image credit: Crown Paints)

Geometric patterns and electric colors painted on a headboard bring vibrancy to this cool sleeping space. Nodding to other colorful elements in the room also.

5. Paint your ceiling in a contrasting color

Dulux Colour of the Year: Spiced Honey

(Image credit: Dulux)

We all have a tendency to play it safe when it comes to painting ceilings. Choosing various hues of greige (beige + gray) or simply letting that popcorn look do its own thing... However, opting for brights and matching, or totally contrasting, the color that is on your walls is a great way to DIY a new look with paint, just more imaginatively. Try Spiced Honey on the ceiling by Dulux.

6. Paint a dreamy mural by hand

inky purple and white watercolour style ombre wall mural

(Image credit: Murals Wallpaper)

A mural is your chance to go freestyle, we love the eggplant purple against the white in this rugged abstract painted wall. The simple lines and concept are really effective which proves that you can skip on detail, and simply work your wall like a canvas to create the best results. 

7. Paint color duos that will match furniture

Color blocking in pink and green in a bedroom

The pink on the walls and the commode/dresser makes this room pop in all senses of the word

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

If you have a statement piece that you love in your room, you can replicate that color on the walls to help it stand out even more. Choose a color blocking technique to make it pop like created here with Annie Sloan paint.

8. Paint everything the same color – bar the ceiling

Kitchen walls and dresser painted in Farrow and Ball India Yellow

Farrow and Ball India yellow makes an awkward kitchen corner far more spacious and bright to boot

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

Painting the walls the same color as big pieces of furniture and even your floor boards may seem like a maximalist choice. And, it is a little. But, it's great way to enhance a small room or awkward space. Plus, you won't need to worry about any paint splashing on the floor as you're painting...

9. Paint over wall paneling in light hues

Colour blocking in bedrooms

Here Farrow and Ball's India Yellow has been combined with a touch of black and a bright clean white to create an alternative feature wall

(Image credit: Argos)

The perfect way to add interest to inherited wall paneling is to paint it yourself. Try color blocking with a couple of different overlapping colors that nod to the hues in your furnishings, to create uniform appeal. A good look for all scales and totally customizable too.

10. Paint a pink border to frame hanging artwork

Artwork on white walls with pink accent painted striped

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Forget wallpaper borders when you can paint one yourself for more modern appeal. The pink works well in this hallway space filled with neutrals and some fine splashes of color, perfectly highlighting the artwork on the walls.

11. DIY wood paneling using dark paint

Bedroom painted in Farrow and Ball Railing and Estate Eggshell

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

If you're dreaming of a budget-friendly way to add wall paneling in the bedroom or lounge, why not mimic the look of wood paneling with dark paint? One of the most affordable and adventurous wall paint ideas, simply paint a quarter of the way up your walls in a contrasting color, use tape to mimic the panel grooves if you want to go pro, and you're guaranteed very chic results.

12. Paint a kitchen splashback in unexpected colors

Kitchen with geometric painted splashback in pink, green, brown and white with gold border

(Image credit: Katie Lee © Future)

Want an expensive looking tiled kitchen splashback but don't have the budget? Creating a tiled look is one of the most brilliant wall painting ideas around that you can recreate really quickly with tester pots and masking tape. Simply mark up your design to scale on paper and transfer it on to the wall. If you go wrong, you can just repaint. Clever.

13. Add detail to dark walls

white painted headboard on a dark blue wall

(Image credit: Dulux)

Another brilliant budget idea you can recreate by painting a wall. Again, you can use masking tape to create your design – either masking off the headboard pattern itself and painting it in, or using tape to create the headboard and painting the entire wall a different color to add detail – remove the tape when the paint's dried and you've got your design. 

14. Go boxy with white and blue paint

Annie Sloan 50:50 white and blue painted walls in modern kitchen with geometric tiled floor

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Dividing a wall in two horizontally has a number of positive benefits: it can create the look of a paneled wall, can give a boxy, modern room added character and a period feel, and it can, if the wall is painted a darker color below dado level than above, make the ceiling of the room seem higher. 

If you aren't just using your current wall color as the base colour for your project, start by painting your whole wall in that first color for the best results.

15. Create the illusion of a headboard

DIY painted headboard

(Image credit: Alternative Flooring)

Frame your bed with a faux headboard by simply masking off a rectangle and filling it in with paint. Note the chilled out vibes this light blue brings to the room.

16. Paint a view in a contrasting color

Pink hallway with straw hat against white room with bench

(Image credit: Mylands)

A pop of earthy pink in a hallway makes a fine view from a neutral living room.

17. Paint your floor up the wall

True Colours UNI 574 vinyl flooring, £22.99 per m 2 ; Noble geometric mint rug, from £48.99, both Carpetright. For similar paint, try Dance Hall Period collection flat matt, £21.50 for 2.5ltrs, Crown

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Azur blue from the ground up creates more fun and space in this eclectic dining room.

18. Add zigzag detail in your lounge

Colour blocking trend in a living room with a yellow wall and blue sofa

(Image credit: Maisons Du Monde)

Many DIY wall painting ideas will add movement and flair to living spaces too. This color picks out hues from the furnishings for a rounded finish.

What can I use instead of painting the walls?

Shillingford suggests 'Use canvasses to add splashes of creative colour to walls and paint up bits of furniture to fill the space in between with your favourite shades. You can also make a feature with colour by painting old vases, picture frames and accessories too. '

Is sponge painting still in style?

'Just you wait, painting with everything from sponges to rags and plastic bags is about to make a comeback. Getting creative with paint is something we’ve fallen in love with again during lockdown and the fact that Changing Rooms will be back on our screens soon will reignite our love of all things paint effect - but with a truly modern take on the 90s vibe.' Says Shillingford, and we're totally on board with that, it's a great one to keep kids entertained after all...

Paint + tape = some very exciting looks.

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.