Affordable Decorating Ideas: Pick Up a Paintbrush

We all know that color can transform a room, but try a cheery shade in an unexpected place—the ceiling or floor—for a simple and stylish makeover.
Article: Zoe Gowen

Paint can do wonders for a wall and can be even more powerful if applied in a less conventional place. A bright color on the ceiling will perk up a room that feels humdrum. If your home has handsome millwork, make it shine with a color other than white. If your wooden floors look tired, wake them up with a checkerboard pattern. Or give your front door some extra recognition (and add architectural charm) with a coat of glossy color. Before you get started, see our tips.

Use white for color relief. 
Too much color can easily overwhelm. Pair a bright ceiling with white walls, or keep the trim a crisp white if walls are painted a bold color.

Choose the right Finish for the job. 
Try a flat finish on ceilings, gloss on cabinetry and trim, semigloss on kitchen and bath walls, eggshell or satin on bedroom and living room walls, or porch paint topped with a coat of polyurethane on floors.

Test before you buy. 
Every color looks different outside the store. Before committing, paint some swatches directly onto the walls to see what the color looks like in different light. 

Great New Paint Products
These new paints are making it even easier to tackle projects.

  • Glidden Trim & Door Paint: Thanks to a new technology, this high-gloss oil paint goes on like jelly, filling cracks and drying evenly with no dripping. $18/quart; glidden.com, available at
  • The Home Depot Olympic ONE Interior Paint: A paint and primer in one, this low-VOC product is available in more than 1,200 colors! $25 gallon; olympic.com, available at Lowe’s
  • Behr Premium Plus Ultra Interior Stain-Blocking Ceiling Paint: This splatter- and drip-resistant paint is specially formulated to block most stains. It dries to the touch in 30 minutes and, if needed, can be reapplied in one hour. $30/gallon; behr.com, available at The Home Depot
  • Valspar+ Interior Paint: This is the first paint to get the stamp of approval from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). $40/gallon; valsparpaint.com, available at Lowe’s