bathroom wallpaper

Photo: Ball & Albanese

The Tiny Room Where You Should Have Anything but White Walls

One way to quickly transform a plain vanilla powder room is with vibrant wallpaper. Chango & Co. creative director Susana Simonpietri used a red print to update a client's guest restroom instead of adding expensive fixtures or replacing the white sink. The geometric pattern creates the illusion of more space while drawing attention away from slight imperfections. To decide whether to go with light or dark wallpaper, "pay close attention to the space and colors that surround it," Simonpietri says. The red print pairs well with the lavatory's deep-chocolate oak stained floors—and complements the orange accents in neighboring rooms. "Just make sure the scale doesn't get out of hand so there's ample space for a wallpaper pattern to repeat at least three times," she says.
persimmon dresser

Photo: Reeves Stump

The Bright Hues That Update Humdrum Furniture

Stuck in a rental that prohibits painting? A great (and affordable) plan B is to incorporate bright furniture. You don't have to shell out an entire month's rent on a colorful midcentury credenza, dresser or console. Popular 1950s and 1960s styles can usually be found at budget-friendly prices in thrift stores, at rummage sales and on Craigslist. Then paint it yourself, says The Weathered Door blogger Reeves Stump, known for her can't-believe-my-eyes furniture makeovers. What's worth buying: Items with a sturdy foundation, solid- wood parts and dovetailed joints. Stump uses neutral colors such as grays and whites (especially with two-toned projects) but usually prefers intensely rich tints on midcentury furniture. Bold colors including magenta, Yves Klein blue and persimmon look best. Saturated tints also cover imperfections including water rings, stains and missing veneer remarkably well.

For the smoothest finish, prep the piece by wiping off grime with a damp towel, sealing holes and nicks with wood filler and most important, sanding it down until most of the original paint or stain is removed. For more detailed instructions, visit The Weathered Door.
office book paint hack

Photo: Courtney Apple

The Paint Hack to Know if You Occasionally Work from Home

Apartment dwellers with limited square footage tend to eat, entertain, lounge, read and work in the living room. For those yearning a separate office area (that's not covered in potato chips, remote controls and paperbacks), here's a simple way to fake it. All you need is a bucket of blue paint. Find an unused wall—the narrow space between two doors or windows, for example—and paint it in a striking color. In designer Naomi Stein's loft, she used an eye-catching Yves Klein–inspired blue to define an office space. Pro tip: Blue is an unexpected neutral that's easy to pair with almost any color. "This nook felt sort of awkward until we used a bold treatment to make it purposeful," Stein says.
ombre painted stairs

Photo: Brittany Hayes

The Staircase DIY That Instantly Completes a Room

Apply the ombré trend (shades fading from dark to light) that you're seeing on clothes, pillows, ceramics—and even cake—onto the stairs. The effect takes only a few hours to complete. This is a pared-down version of the DIY ombré wall, and it cuts out the tedious color-blending with a sponge and glaze. Since you're only painting a small section (each riser), you can stick to cheaper, sample-size pints of paint instead of gallons. Each pint can cover two to three risers, says Brittany Hayes, blogger at Addison's Wonderland. Use the paint swatch as a guide for how many pints of paint you'll need. Start from the bottom and work your way up from darkest to lightest. Hayes recommends using painter's tape to help you keep color within the lines. Run a strip of tape directly above and under the riser you're painting. The project takes approximately 6 to 8 hours.
dark green paint

Photo: Patricia Goijens/

The Broody Shade You Never Thought Would Work in Your Hallway

To redefine her hallway as more than just a passageway into her airy, white living room, No Glitter No Glory blogger Patricia Goijens painted it in a show-stopping hunter green. "The previous owner took out the French doors between the rooms, so the color helped us define the space better without the use of a wall or doors," Goijens says. It may sound counterintuitive, but the dark paint in a compact space actually makes the area seem larger. Painting the ceiling, doors, trim and crown molding in the same color as the walls added to the broadening effect. Abundant natural light in the adjacent living room keeps the hallway from feeling cavernous. The shade also helps highlight the colorful artwork and furniture that lines the corridor.
painted headboard

Photo: Danae Horst

The Easiest DIY Headboard Project Around (No Drill Required)

We've seen custom headboards out of books, pegboard and recycled wood pallets on Pinterest and blogs—but we've never seen a project this easy and affordable. In a Los Angeles home (as a part of a charity-design project with a budget of $5,000), interior stylists Faith Blakeney and Justina Blakeney—author of The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes—decided to skip buying a headboard and painted one instead. The designers cut a shape out of cardboard and used it as a stencil. No expert skills are required for this DIY project. Hold the cardboard up and fill in everything outside the outline with paint. If you're worried about symmetry, try working on one side of the wall first. Then flip the stencil over so you can perfectly mirror the outline. Coat the wall in a rich color, leaving the silhouette of the headboard in white. "Coral is known for restoring harmony and balance—we wanted to bring all of those traits into the bedrooms of these deserving women," Justina says. "We wanted the bedroom to feel like a coastal retreat."