Painting Ideas: How to Pull Off the Affordable & Graphic Paint Outline

Painting Ideas: How to Pull Off the Affordable & Graphic Paint Outline

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Adrienne Breaux
Nov 15, 2014

Are you on the hunt for a unique way to apply paint to a room? A way that will highlight the architecture of a room? Add an exciting graphic feel to a space? Make a whole room feel a heckuva lot more dramatic? Then you might consider using outlines to paint various surfaces in your home — you'll be pleasantly surprised with the big visual impact this paint pattern trick can have for a whole home.

And using your paint wisely and to create a big visual impact with little material will save you money in the long run, making this idea an affordable one!

Outline the walls

As seen in the photo above (from Architectural Digest Spain), thin, dark black lines have been painted around each wall panel, highlighting the wall's depth but also giving a contrasting, dramatic feel to the space.

The same idea was painted on in this room seen in Domino Magazine, only in lines a little bit thicker in width and in a color that is a few shades darker than the wall color. The result is still exciting, but not quite as jarring as a thin black line, showing the versatility of this paint trick.

Outline architectural elements

Consider defying paint expectations in a room and painting the baseboards and door frames in the color and leaving the walls white, instead of the other way around. This room spotted on Desire to Inspire also added drama by exaggerating the size of the baseboards, making them into an important design element.

Outline cabinets

Walls aren't the only place you can use this outlining trick. In this room found on Design*Sponge, a plain white kitchen cabinet is made absolutely electric by outlining the edges of the doors, giving an illustrated quality to the whole room. You could consider mimicking this look with vinyl or contact paper if you weren't particularly in the mood to paint.

Paint outlines on the floor

(Image credit: This Old House)

Control the flow of traffic in your home and get a dramatic look with floor outlines. (Though in this room spotted in This Old House, wood inlay was used to create this look). But you could use paint to create stripes along the walls on your floor, guiding the way and guiding your look.

Outline art

You can make a piece of art seem way more substantial and dramatic, or create a cohesive feel to a scattered wall art collage by using a painted outline in any color or stripe width. Room spotted on Hearted Girl.

Outline door panels

Doors can be shapely, and outlining them with a graphic thin contrasting stripe can be just the way to make them stick out even more. This room spotted on Design*Sponge.

What do you think about the idea of using paint to outline architectural features or just create a dramatic look? Share with us in the comments below if you've ever tried this look before!

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