Before and After: A Simple Paint Project Changes This Living Room’s Whole Vibe

published May 29, 2023
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About this before & after
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Before: Empty white living room

Single-shape paint projects are a great way to add a bit of whimsy and color to a space for the low cost of a sample pot of paint. Some of the trendiest shapes of late? Arches, of course, along with circles, triangles, and hexagons. But the cool new shape du jour is a rectangle — and not just any old rectangle. See how homeowner Lezeth Alfaro (@lezethh) put a fun new twist on the four-sided shape.

“I had an apartment before where I just did a rectangle on the wall, and I LOVED how it looked,” Lezeth says. “I was renting, so I didn’t want to paint too much so it would be easy to paint it back when I moved out. Now that I have my own house, I knew I could get a bit more extra with it.”

Lezeth saw a photo of a paint project on Pinterest where the rectangle continued all the way up to the ceiling and she loved how it looked. “It made a boring square more interesting,” she says — and she wanted to try it in her own living room, which was a blank slate when she moved in. 

Lezeth used Behr’s Washed Olive for her accent wall; it’s a neutral color that can serve as a nice “frame” for artwork and contrast with the white walls without overwhelming. After all, Lezeth has two orange accent walls in her home elsewhere: here, in her bedroom, and here, in her dining room.

Lezeth used a laser level to draw the lines, then painter’s tape to block them out. She painted within them using a small roller and broke out the ladder so that she could continue the image upward. Her recommendation for achieving crisp paint lines is to tape the edges and sides, then use the current color of the wall to paint along the outside of the tape and area you will be painting. “This seals the tape edges,” Lezeth says. “Let this dry, and then paint over with the new color!”

Lezeth says she learned this lesson the hard way. “I have very textured walls, so straight lines are very difficult,” she says. Her tape-sealing method ensures ultra-crisp lines even after you remove the tape.

Lezeth’s painted shape makes the ceilings in her living room seem taller, and gives her artwork a little more of a spotlight, too. “It makes me feel happy and creative,” she says.

Want to get a similar look in your own home? Check out these 23 cool projects that would make your former geometry teacher proud.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.