8 Mess-Free, Paint-Free Ways to Add Color to Your Home

published Jul 31, 2023
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When it comes to home makeovers, paint is one of the quickest, easiest, and cheapest ways to make a big impact. But that doesn’t mean that painting isn’t also a . If the thought of moving furniture, prepping your space, and dealing with the mess is enough to persuade you to forgo any home makeovers at all, I have some good news: There are numerous mess-free alternatives that allow you to experiment with color in your home without ever picking up a paint brush.

One way to add color is through clever DIYs. Colorful decor, updated textiles, and playful patterns can instantly brighten up a room and infuse it with a little more personality. So if you’re tired of plain surroundings but wary of opening up a can of paint — or not allowed to open up a can of paint, as is the case for many renters — then read on. Below, you’ll find eight different color-happy DIY ideas that involve not a single lick of paint.

Fake stained glass.

There’s no rule that says all your glass windows have to be colorless. Transform your windows with DIY faux stained glass to let the rainbow pour in. Take inspo from Chelsea Foy of Lovely Indeed, who chose to install large swatches of colored window film for her partition door. You can experiment with different shapes to achieve endless glass cut styles, or even buy pre-made designs online.

Credit: PMW For Two

Wallpaper your furniture.

Paint is a go-to for people looking to make over an old piece of furniture, whether it’s something they thrifted or something they already own. But paint isn’t your only option! Wallpapering old furniture can give it a new lease on life. Aside from being a great way to play with intricate patterns, wallpapering a furniture piece also means that you don’t have to wait for anything to dry to put it back into use. Here, Ariel of PMQ for Two shows off her remade bar cart, which she covered in retro-inspired wallpaper. For a subtle hint of pattern, you can also use wallpaper in other ways — like to line the sides of drawers or the backs of shelves.

Hang funky lighting.

Lighting is an underrated way to bring color into your home. You can, of course, purchase colorful fixtures off-the-shelf (like this pretty glass pendant light), but DIY options can be even more creative. Take this clever pendant light DIY, which doesn’t require any wiring but still manages to make an impact. These delightfully candy-colored lampshades — the brainchild of Sammy Jameson of The House That Lars Built — were made by upcycling simple plastic plates and cups. The only other thing you’ll need to make these are plug-in pendant cords and LED bulbs.

Credit: Club Crafter

Give your couch a colorful cover.

Odds are good that the centerpiece of your living room is your couch. Let it really steal the show by giving it a colorful makeover, like Holly of Club Crafted did here by covering her old couch with a new couch cover in a pretty teal hue. If you’re interested in more ways to flip your couch, check out these eight other ways to give your couch new life.

Make your own upholstered headboard.

Textiles are a wonderful way to bring texture and pattern into your space. Pillows are an easy pick — and totally DIYable! — but this DIY upholstered headboard shows another way to give a favorite print pride of place in your home.

Credit: Cat Meschia

Outfit cabinets with colorful hardware.

Every few years, different metal hardware finishes — from polished chrome to aged brass — make their way through the trend cycle. Buck trends altogether and go for hardware that’s a bold, bright color like I did on the cabinet shown here. Try subtle with a single furniture piece or go for the full effect by having a kitchen full of unexpected handles. You can, of course, buy new — or you can nab basic pieces and give them a spray paint makeover in any color of your choice.

Credit: SKG Designs

Add a rainbow-bright stair runner.

If you have stairs in your home, when was the last time you thought about them? Instead of letting them be an afterthought, make those stairs sing with a colorful runner. Here, Sara of SKG Designs used stair runners from Annie Selke to transform her stairwell into a rainbow path.

Credit: Oh My Tiles

Transform tiles with peel-and-stick designs.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) replace the tiles in your kitchen or bathroom, leverage the power of peel-and-stick to transform them. I love this design from Etsy shop Oh My Tiles, which has incredible options in almost any shade you can imagine. If you want an even more renter-friendly DIY, check out how I used foam board as a backer for peel-and-stick tiles in my own home.