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The 5 Paint Tricks You Need (To Add Interest To Your Space)

Design: Studio Plumb

Paint is a powerful tool to transform your home. But it goes way beyond just a wall-to-wall treatment. There are lots of techniques you can utilize to add something special to your space – and we’re pulling out all of Bobby’s best tips and tricks to show you how. 



Instead of sticking to the expected and painting an entire room, we’re showing you 5 easy ways to introduce paint to your walls – in ways you may not have thought of before. Whether it’s highlighting an aspect of a space, drawing the eye around a room, or just adding some interest, we’ve got you (and your walls) covered.


Keep scrolling to see all of our best tips below (and give your home a whole new feel).



And be sure to check out our other posts for ideas to update your space: Finding The Right White: Bobby’s 5 Favorite White Paints and 4 Mood-Boosting Colors That Look Good (And Make You Feel Good Too)

Try Two toneS

When it comes to adding interest to a room, two tones are definitely better than one.  Embracing color-blocking, whether on a single accent wall or throughout a space, is a great way to give room real appeal. Opt for a horizontal band of color around a room to add levels (and visual interest) or use a vertical panel to define a certain area within a larger space.



Using a shelf to separate two colors is a unique way to draw attention to the two different tones.

Showcase SHELVES

Shelving is the perfect place to let paint make an impact. Add a coat to the interior of the built-in shelving in your living room,  and you’ll create immediate appeal, along with a sense of depth (and a lot more excitement than basic white). A darker shade is going to stand out against lighter walls, so it’s a great accent in a room that’s more neutral. Utilize this technique on built-ins in a living room, or any recessed area you want to give renewed focus.



You can easily create the same effect with wall mounted shelves by painting the shelf and the wall behind it the same color.


Adding an interesting arch can enhance a space that’s lacking architectural detail – and make it uniquely yours. And they can be used just about anywhere: over an existing doorway, behind shelves, as a headboard, or as a stand-alone feature. Consider using symmetrical arches to add balance or a series of connected arches for a more playful take.



To create a perfectly round arch, tie a pencil to a piece of string and attach the string to the wall with a pushpin. Then use the pencil like a compass to draw the arch. Click here to see a complete guide.


A coat of paint can take cabinetry from standard issue to something truly special. And while the kitchen may be an obvious choice, adding color to cabinetry in your mudroom, laundry or bathroom is a way to draw focus to the details of a vanity or storage (and it’s going to take a lot less time than painting an entire room). Even a free-standing piece like a bookcase, armoire, or credenza can get a new life by simply adding a shade.



Make sure to properly prepare a wood surface before you begin painting. Click here to see all the steps to take before you pick up a brush.

STICK TO Stripes

Stripes are a classic design pattern for a reason: they work with lots of different styles, have a timeless appeal, and are easily incorporated in every medium – including paint. Vertical stripes can add instant height to a room, while horizontal stripes are a sure-fire way to make a room look wider. And besides the obvious visual impact, painting on stripes is also a more affordable option than wallpaper (and a lot easier to change out).



Consider going tonal, or using the same color in two different paint finishes, to create a more subtle striped space. Click here to see how to get your room all lined up before getting started.


  1. Hi! Lockdown has inspired me to get decorating and next on my To Do list is my bedroom. I’ve decided to paint one wall dark blue/ green. At first I thought I would paint the other three walls white, but it feels so clinical. Do you have a neutral shade you would recommend pairing with a dark blue/green? Thanks!

    1. Adding in a second color can be a bit challenging, so I would just go for a warm shade of white. I like cloud white by benjamin Moore or Minced Onion, which has green undertones. Thanks for your comment! xx -B

    2. Hi Bobby, you inspire me a lot and even though I’m 15, I already know what I want to do
      I get emotional every time I see a queer eye episode, because you all do an amazing job.
      I hope one day to be like you.
      sorry for my English
      thanks for everything
      eu te amo ♥️?️‍???

      1. Thank you so much for your support and leaving a comment. Sending you lots of love – beijos! xx -B

  2. Hey Bobby!
    I am about to get my grandmother’s mid-century dining room set and I kind of want to spice my dining room up since I’ll have this nice furniture. I’m intrigued by the tonal stripe idea with two different finishes of the same color. Do you have any advice on doing that?

    1. For a smaller room, I would advise narrower stripes and scale-up for slightly larger spaces. Stick with either a lighter neutral tone, or a rich green or blue that would really bring out warm wood tones. You’ll probably want to go with semigloss and matte for textural contrast. Thanks so much for your comment! xx -B

  3. These spaces are really awesome! I love the first image with the green shelving and black windows-your work is just so creative. I also think that the bed with the arch treatment is brilliant! I love the transformative power of paint, and I am constantly changing the colors in my house. So much so, that I think my square footage is shrinking from the layers of paint on the walls! 🙂

  4. I love these ideas! Definitely gonna paint the wall behind my floating shelves. You don’t think I should paint the shelves right? They are natural wood and would pop more with color behind them.

    Also the chairs in the first dining room picture with the built ins…. I’ve been searching for some similar. Where are they from?? Thanks ❤️

    1. Painting the shelves will make them look more custom and blend in. If you want them to pop, I would leave them natural. You can find a similar option to the dining chairs here. Thanks so much for reading! xx -B

  5. Thanks for all of the good info Bobby! I have already implemented a lot of your ideas!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment! I hope you stay safe, cozy and inspired in our space. xx -B

  6. I love the idea of painting the bookshelf walls. I have light grey walls. Benjamin Moore HC-169 forgot the name. What color do you suggest I paint the back walls of the built-in? One shelf on each side has old wood we nailed to the will.
    Thanks for the help!!

    1. If you want to add some color, I think I lighter green shade would look beautiful, like this color. For a more neutral look, you could also go with a warmer white. xx -B

  7. I’m so happy for the blue paint picks here! You always use the most gorgeous blues, and I’m inspired, but didn’t know where to start. We call it Bobby Blue❤️ I’m dying to do my island a beautiful navy like one of those, and trying to decide if it would be too much with an accent wall with that fab Graham & Brown Boreas. I kinda think it would be spectacular! Thank you⭐️

    1. I think it could definitely work. That wallpaper isn’t overly busy or multi-colored, so it wouldn’t overpower the room. I say go for it! Thanks for your comment. xx -B

  8. I love this article. I didn’t realize until recently that while I love deep forest colors and peacock colors, I’ve painted most of my interior either sand or wheat. My house is so monotone! What are your favorite “restful” shades for the bedroom? Figure I should start there 🙂

    1. I love lighter shades of green and blue for the bedroom. They definitely have a soothing feel, while still bringing in a bit of color. xx -B