5 Mini Home Makeovers With Paint That Will Lift Your Family's Spirits

Nothing against spring cleaning, but there's another seasonal task that's more satisfying than scouring your place till it sparkles. Let's call it spring color splashing. This time of year, we're all craving cheery hues—and even one bold pop can changeup your space. Get inspired by these low-lift DIYs sure to raise your family's spirits.

01 of 05

Freehand A Mural

childs room with rainbow accent wall
That blank wall behind your kid’s bed? Go rainbow! Muted shades are forgiving and have a cool watercolor effect. @heysarahdarling and Milk and Confetti

The beauty of this project is that it actually looks amazing when it's not perfect, so you can feel confident going big with an easy-to-draw design like a rainbow or a sun. First, sketch it out with colored pencils similar to your paint colors, starting in the middle of the wall and working outward to make sure it's centered. Then go over it with acrylic paint in an eggshell or a satin with smaller art brushes, recommends Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design for The Home Depot. But seriously, don't stress it. "You're not looking for finished edges," says Bailey Li, a designer in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. "Going outside the lines makes it more abstract and fun."

02 of 05

Elevate A Staircase

hallway with colorful accents
Add bold color in small doses, say, on stair risers or doors. You’ll get a big visual payoff without having to paint the whole room. Nikole Ramsay

Steps offer ample opportunity for paint fun, and the vertical display can go in many design directions. "Paint them all one unexpected shade, or give each riser or tread its own color for a rainbow effect," Fishburne says. Paint each step horizontally (with the grain) using a small roller labeled "extra smooth." You'll want to remove excess paint from the roller first and keep the pressure even as you roll. Going multicolor? Save by buying paint in 8-ounce tester sizes, which are just enough for one step, Fishburne says. A semigloss or high-gloss finish will also cut down on scuffing, says Elsie Larson, director of the lifestyle company A Beautiful Mess.

Add bold color in small doses, say, on stair risers or doors. You'll get a big visual payoff without having to paint the whole room.

03 of 05

Brighten Up A Cabinet Or A Closet

white kitchen with teal cupboards
Elsie Larson/A Beautiful Mess

Whether it's shelving stocked with dinnerware or a walk-in brimming with clothes, "it can get pretty boring" inside these dark, utilitarian spaces, Larson says. That's why she loves transforming them with serious color—we're talking aqua, fuchsia, even yellow. Make sure to buy acrylic paint in an eggshell, a satin, or a high-gloss finish, because it will stand up better to scrapes from dishes or hangers. Before you start, clear out everything you can—including any shelves that are removable. For best results (and peace of mind), lay down a drop cloth and tape off the areas you'll paint. Then work on one section at a time, cutting in with a 1-inch angled brush and using a roller for the rest.

"Painting is less expensive than wallpapering, so you can get a really dramatic look for under $50."


04 of 05

Add An A-door-able Surprise

white hallway with red arch
Emil Dervish

All you need is a peek of color to energize a room. Think painting a doorway, the back of a door, or a door's edge. Any saturated shade provides a playful pop. "Be fearless," Li says. "This is an opportunity to express yourself." Choose a gloss or semigloss finish good for handling wear and tear, and tape off any no-paint parts to get crisp lines. Ideally, remove the door first, and if you're painting the door itself, lay it flat and coat it with spray paint. "It's quicker than regular paint and doesn't run," Larson says. But if you don't have the bandwidth to take off the door, use an acrylic paint and a foam brush so you won't get visible brushstrokes.

05 of 05

Color Block A Wall

white wall with yellow triangle accent
Try a triangle, a square, a half circle. (Anything goes.). Behr Paint

A big, bold geometric shape is just plain cool. But it's also great for spotlighting a desk or an entryway as a means to define zones in an open floor plan. If you're creating a design with straight lines, section it off with 1.-inch-wide painter's tape and start painting. Something curvy in mind? "Cardboard is your friend," Fishburne says. "Cut out the shape, and trace it onto the wall before you paint." Or try Larson's string-and-thumbtack method: "I form arches with twine and pin them in as a guide." Use acrylic paint in a satin or an eggshell finish and apply it with a 1-inch angled brush to cut in at the edges, then a roller for the rest.

Try a triangle, a square, a half circle. (Anything goes.)

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's March 2021 issue as "Mini Paint Makeovers." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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