Paint is powerful. The right paint color can make a room feel brighter, more inspiring, more you. There are seemingly endless ways to play with paint in your home, from accent walls, allover color, and everything in between.
In an interview with ‘Arteresting‘ earlier this year, Clare Paint founder and CEO Nicole Gibbons successfully predicted we would see a lot of people paint arches in their homes to create focal points. It’s a simple trick that can highlight a shelving unit, bar cart, or entryway—a DIY that’s especially helpful in an open-concept layout or studio apartment.
But if you’re thinking ‘been there, done that,’ perhaps it’s time to try another form of color blocking, this time, utilizing chair rails or scalloped edges to separate the top of your wall from the bottom. There are infinite possibilities with color and paint, and if you’re looking to add a little something extra to your space, we rounded up ten clever ideas to leave you feeling inspired.
Medina of Grillo Designs uses a muted mustard paint color to carve out a distinct dining area in her home. Here, a faux chair rail frames the nook perfectly, creating a cozy space that’s reminiscent of a cafe (remember those?). Wall-mounted bookshelves and a white tulip table complete the scene.
Who says color blocks have to include straight lines? In this bedroom, designed by Jade and Anthony of House of Chais, a half-painted wall with a scalloped edge gives the illusion of a wall-to-wall headboard. The bedroom is decked out with a woven statement pendant and a neutral palette. Paired with the statement art above the bed, the scalloped wall grounds the lower half of the room and accentuates the bed frame’s low profile.
Keep it Colorful
Upon entering Instagrammer Paulo D’Agostino Bowe’s home, you won’t find a lot of white space. As you’ll quickly gather from Paulo’s Instagram feed, The Little Gold House, his home is doused in rich color from ceiling to trim. It’s no surprise that his take on the half-painted wall incorporates two different shades of pink and extends onto the fifth wall. The color pairing is muted, yet cheerful, and by keeping the dining room furniture and accessories neutral, Paulo’s paint selection really shines.
To recreate this look, try using different shades of the same color or go with a complementary pairing for more contrast.
If you’d like to kick the DIY up a notch, try adding wainscotting or board and batten trim. Here, Suzy of Sweet Bungalow did just that in her entryway. The moody green shade lets the grooved storage piece (also a DIY!) shine while adding a contrasting pop of color to an otherwise neutral space. Board and batten like Suzy’s would also look stunning painted in a luxe navy or charcoal.
While some choose to go for a high-contrast look with their color-blocked walls, neutral shades are worth considering. In her Munich home, Mani of Afro Bohemian Living pairs a light beige paint color with warm white, making for a subtle-yet-impactful dining space. We love the way the black-and-white striped bar stools shine against the beige. Mani pulls this off perfectly in her home.
When incorporating statement pieces, make sure the wall color highlights them instead of detracting attention away from them.
The key to a well-done color-blocked wall is a sharp line. Ana Isaza Carpio of Modern House Vibes took things a step further by adding an additional strip of color—sort of like a racing stripe. Achieving this look is simple: once you’ve outlined your faux chair rail with painters’ tape, simply add a second row an inch or so above the first line. Then, paint directly over the lower piece of tape and up to the top. In Ana’s home, we love how the white stripe between the pink sections mimics the white floating shelves hung above.
Because of their small size, bathrooms can be the perfect place to play with color. In this bright and airy bathroom designed by Light and Dwell, a soothing, sage green pair well with the marble sink basin and warm wood vanity. This space also includes beadboard, which is a type of wall paneling that is relatively simple to install. The beadboard’s texture adds another element to the room, creating a delightful layered look.
Paint can help accentuate a space’s decor style. Take this New York City bedroom, for example. Influencer Jessie Ruane, aka Jessie Finds, paired a rich olive green with walnut-toned furniture and midcentury pieces. The result is a modern space that gives a nod to funky ‘70s decor styles. Art is hung in the white space above the green, and the chrome accents add a certain retro flair to the room.
We’ve seen how paint can accentuate a space. Jackie of Finding Lovely took things up a notch in her son’s room by pairing deep green paint (and board and batten trim) with a black-and-white patterned wallpaper. The result is a whimsical space that is simultaneously sophisticated and kid-friendly.
Even if you don’t have or plan to add trim to your home, a half-wallpapered, half-painted wall would deliver a similarly fun impact. The combination would look particularly stunning in a small powder room or entryway.
A Little Extra Color
Anyone who enters this home in Lancashire, England will be greeted by a pink door and understated color blocking. Paula of Home By Polly went with gray for her faux chair rail, which lines her entryway. To create contrast and add a little something extra, Paula painted a gold stripe about a half-inch above the grey. From afar, the gold looks nearly like three-dimensional trim. We love how whimsical this accent wall looks when paired with the blush-colored door.