Wall painting ideas: 10 ways to use paint to brighten up your space

Fancy hitting the refresh button in your home? Check out these simple yet effective wall painting ideas...

Wall painting ideas
(Image credit: Murals Wallpaper)

If you're looking for wall painting ideas to transform your home in a hurry, we can help. It's no secret that a lick of paint works a treat on tired or dated walls, and whether you're looking to paint your entire living room, a feature wall in the bedroom, a mural or maybe even a little furniture, we have rounded up our favourite techniques for you here. 

Be inspired by these super simple yet gorgeous ideas and when it's time to upgrade your surroundings, you'll be able to in as little as a few hours or over a weekend (we promise none of these ideas take longer than a weekend). It's the perfect bit of escapism. 

For even more advice and inspiration, take a look at our paint hub page.

1. Paint an ombré wall 

First, for anyone's who's missed it, the ombré paint effect is an easy paint idea where one tone gradually fades into another tone of the same colour. The effect creates a big impact but it’s actually easy to paint your own ombré wall – and you don’t need much more than a few cans of paint, some paint brushes and a roller… 

It's a look that really suits a feature wall behind the head of a bed (like @mydarkhome's) or in a living room, but we think it's most suited to bathrooms, as below. For the full low down to how to DIY an ombré wall, check out our step-by-step guide. Find the best bathroom paints in our buyer's guide.

ombre finish blue toned bathroom with roller bath

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

2. Paint your ceiling in a contrasting colour

Dulux Colour of the Year: Spiced Honey

With the rest of the room – furnishings included – sitting pretty in light shades of pink, the mustard (technically spiced honey) colour on the ceiling makes the perfect contrast and really warms the space.

(Image credit: Dulux)

We definitely have a tendency to ignore our ceilings when it comes to paint: we play it safe, painting them in various hues of greige (beige + grey). But we reckon we should start being bolder by going for brights and perhaps even contrasting the colour with what's on your walls...

Inspired to give your fifth wall some attention? Read our guide to how to paint a ceiling

3. Paint a feature wall

inky purple and white watercolour style ombre wall mural

(Image credit: Murals Wallpaper)

A feature wall means that one wall will be completely abstract to the other walls in a room, and this technique has been trending for quite some time. It adds interest to a space and offers a little escapism too so it works really well in all types of home. It's your chance to go freestyle, we love the aubergine purple against the white in this rugged abstract feature wall below. 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. 

4. Match your furniture

Colour blocking 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 colour on the walls to help it stand out even more. If it's the other way round and you have your wall colour down but want to filter the colour through to the rest of the room, look to up-cycle the furniture you have and give it a new lease of life with a simple lick of paint.

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 colour as big pieces of furniture also helps to tone down usually overwhelming pieces in a small room or awkward space per se. Find the best paints for kitchens in our buyer's guide for a tough finish.

5. Experiment with colour blocking 

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)

Simply put, colour blocking is the pairing of two or three totally different colours to make a bold statement. It's a really wall painting idea that can have a great impact on all types of space. You can do it on any scale and customise it to suit any colour scheme. Check out how well this technique works in the bedroom below and find more colour blocking design ideas in our gallery.

6. Use paint to mimic panelling 

Bedroom painted in Farrow and Ball Railing and Estate Eggshell

(Image credit: Farrow and Ball)

You can even use the colour blocking effect to feign the look of panelling. Plus, it's far more affordable and much quicker to achieve than adding real panelling. Simply paint a quarter of the way up your walls in a contrasting colour like below and you're guaranteed very chic results.

7. Create a simple paint effect with tape and tester pots

Sara Colclough and David Brass have added character to their new build home with a colourful makeover

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

This clever wall painting idea is created quickly by simply using masking tape on white-painted walls and painting over in a second colour – in this case, grey. You can even isolate sections as the owners of this bathroom have to create patches of colour for added interest. Love it.

8. Paint a kitchen splashback for a tiled look

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

(Image credit: Katie Lee © Future)

Love the idea of an expensive tiled kitchen splashback but don't have the budget – or can't find the tiles you want? This is a brilliant wall painting idea you can recreate really quickly with tester pots and masking tape. Simply create your design to scale on paper and transfer it on to the wall. If you go wrong, you can just repaint. Clever. More kitchen splashback ideas this way.

9. Paint a headboard

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 colour – remove the tape when the paint's dried and you've got your design. 

10. The easiest of wall painting ideas: creating a panelled look with paint

Annie Sloan paint ideas

(Image credit: Annie Sloan )

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

If you aren't just using your current wall colour as the base colour for your project, start by painting your whole wall in that first colour. For tips on the best way to paint a wall just pop over to our guide, you will find everything you need there. Let that dry for the time recommended for your chosen paint, then you can more onto create the two-toned effect. 

Bedroom painted with Farrow & Ball

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Once your base layer has dried now it's time to decide where you want your second colour to end. You can go bang on half away across, you could go three-quarters of the way up to create a kind of picture rail effect, or you could just stick to one quarter.

Whatever you decide, use a ruler and a spirit level to draw a pencil line all the way across the wall. Then take your masking tape and go over that pencil line. 

Colour blocking in bedrooms

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Now just take your second colour and use a roller to get paining below that masking tape line. You might need to do coats. Let that dry and then gently remove the tape. Voila you are done, two toned walls in just three easy steps. 

Want more painting and decorating advice?

Hebe Hatton
Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer. As a renter, she is always looking for creative ways to make her flat feel like home. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration.