15 Small Paint Jobs That Have a Major Impact

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated December 21, 2021
Women painting wall
Photo: Monkey Business / Adobe Stock

These eye-catching accents deliver a big impact for a fraction of the work

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There’s no denying the payoff of a good paint job, but they’re not always the easiest to pull off (OK, they’re a pain, let’s be real). If you have neither the time nor the patience to move furniture, tape off light switches, and do all the other tedious prep work, you might think you’re stuck with a blank slate. 

This actually couldn’t be further from the case. Consider these 15 bold, colorful accent ideas to transform your space. 

1.   Paint an Archway for Big Impact

Painted archways are an easy way to create stunning depth and dimension in a space. They’re amazing for defining an office or reading nook (no actual nook required). They also work great for accenting furniture and decor pieces, as well as creating the illusion of a headboard in a bedroom. Enlist the help of a local interior designer if you need help with your plans.

2. Go for a Bold Accent Stripe

You’ve probably heard of an accent wall, but have you considered an accent stripe? A single bold stripe of color is a lot less work than painting an entire accent wall, plus it carries an even more dramatic effect. Choose the best paint color to accent your decor and use tape to help visualize your design. 

3. Paint the Closet (or Other Smaller Space)

Can’t find time to paint the entire bedroom? Focus your efforts on a much smaller space—the closet. Add a striking hue to highlight the space, or choose a calming color to create a more relaxed environment. Coordinate the colors with your sheets, pillows, curtains, artwork, or furniture.

4. Paint One Statement Furniture Piece

Woman painting a chair
Photo: Halfpoint / Adobe Stock

You’d be amazed how one piece of brightly-painted furniture can illuminate an otherwise dull room. Don’t have time to paint the entire dining room? Try painting the table or hutch. Living room looking a little monochrome? Paint the bookcase in a bold, eye-catching color. For extra oomph, pick up some matching throw pillows, curtains, or decor items.

5. Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Open living room with grey kitchen
Photo: Seventyfour / Adobe Stock

OK, this might not be the smallest paint job out there, but it will totally transform your kitchen. If you’re sick of the outdated oak, painting your kitchen cabinets gives you the look of a renovation for a fraction of the cost. Go bold for a major statement, or go dark for a more modern look. If you’re not up for the DIY, a local cabinet painter can help bring your vision to life.

6. Try Color Blocking

Color blocking involves overlapping geometric shapes for a bold, modern statement. These can be as big or as small as you like, so it’s a great way to use up leftover paint. If you need to test out some ideas, try sketching your design or cutting out different shapes from construction paper.

Here’s a quick painting tip: If you’re painting over a glossy or satin paint finish, lightly sand it first to help the new color stick.

7. Create a New Sponge Accent Wall

On the hunt for a quick, easy painting idea to create a patterned accent wall? Look no further than a pineapple under the sea (or your kitchen sink—whichever is closer). Simply dip the edge of a sponge in your paint of choice and stamp in rows. The beauty here is that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

8. Make an Eye-Catching Painted Circle

Whether it’s accenting your headboard, front table, shelving, or gallery wall, a simple painted circle packs a serious visual punch. Best of all, you can knock out this project in under an hour. All you need is paint and a stencil (or a protractor and some stiff cardboard).

9. Paint a Big Sunburst 

With some painter’s tape and a good eye, you can easily transform a blank wall into an Art Deco statement piece. Start with a basic frame shape to outline your canvas, then crisscross your tape to form a sunburst pattern before painting. It’s pretty isn’t it, old sport?

10. Paint Inside a Shelf

Don’t feel like painting an entire piece of furniture? You don’t have to. Transform a neutral shelf or bookcase by painting the interior with a bold color. Use this project to make an eye-catching statement in the room, or to create a harmonious accent to your existing wall color.

11. Consider an Accent Half-Wall for a Small Budget

Why go for the whole accent wall when you can achieve the same impact with half the work, half the time, and half the paint? Just choose your cutoff point, lay down some painter’s tape, and create a look that will totally transform the room. 

12. Create a Stenciled Jungle

There are a ton of options out there for wall stencils, but we especially love the look of lush tropical palm and monstera leaves. These can transform a blah bathroom into a jungle oasis or highlight a tiger obsession in your child’s bedroom. Really, they’ll look beautiful anywhere—your jungle, your rules.

13. Plant a Trellis Wall

Wooden trellis facade wall
Photo: coco / Adobe Stock

Can you imagine a more gorgeous backdrop for your plant corner? Line the corner of a carpenter’s square up with the corner of your wall, then make your first line of tape where the hypotenuse lands (and you thought you’d never use the Pythagorean Theorem). Then, use same-size pieces of tape as spacers to create the rest of your crisscrossed lines before you paint. 

14. Design a Bold Color Square

A colorful square is a modern and eye-catching statement that’s super versatile. Think of it as an accent wall, except shrunken down to highlight one area or piece of furniture. This can add depth and visual weight to areas where it’s lacking, plus it’s super easy to achieve.

15. Paint an Interior Door 

Modern loft style kitchen with yellow interior doors
Photo: Liubomir / Adobe Stock

Painting an interior door is a relatively quick and simple project, but it can really have a dramatic effect. Consider a bright hue for a bold pop of color, or modernize the space by painting neutrals over woodgrain.

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