The 43 Most Colorful Before & After Projects We’ve Seen
Whether you’re picturing head-to-toe pink or going full-on green, there’s no better inspiration than browsing through ultra-colorful paint projects, and this month, Apartment Therapy has them organized for you by color.
While this list might not help you narrow down your paint (or wallpaper) shade, it might open your mind to one you hadn’t considered before. Happy scrolling!
1. A Bathroom Redo Inspired by a Classic Horror Film (Really)
“I’ve never been shy about color, and our home has a lot of bold choices,” the homeowner and designer of this ultra-red bathroom, Natalie Papier (@home_ec_op), says. You might have guessed from the artwork on the wall, but Natalie’s inspiration for the high-drama, Art Deco-infused space was actually Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” perhaps most known for its bloody bathroom scene. “I always enjoy a bit of a shock factor, and a little bit of bathroom humor is a must,” Natalie says.
2. A Dated Kitchen Gets a Dramatic Redo for $3,125
Designer Katherine Thewlis’ kitchen is a deep red — like really deep, bordering on plum. (Know that the categorization of this one, as a red or as a purple, inspired much debate. Ultimately, we took a cue from the name of the new paint color.) Most of Katherine’s changes in the space are budget-friendly — no demo or large purchases required. For instance, she kept her existing cabinets and fridge, painting both over with Sherwin-Williams’ Rookwood Dark Red. Katherine says painting the fridge was easier than she thought it would be, but the matching walls took way more coats than expected. “Painting the walls dark red took about five coats,” she says. The floors are also the same, just painted over with white (Sherwin-Williams‘ Eider White), and the 3D peel-and-stick tile on the peninsula gives it some texture and visual interest.
3. A $2,000 Living Room Redo Features a Surprising (and Gorgeous) Paint Color
Nick Wallin (@gayegarden)’s living room in his historic, character-filled home went from “the most hideous color of lemon yellow” to a glam reddish fuchsia (Benjamin-Moore’s Peony). “We originally started out looking at shades that were more coral but ultimately decided to go with something more dark and saturated,” Nick says. The deep shade, plus the luxe finishes like the mirror, chandelier, and velvet sofa and curtains, all help create the “Hollywood Regency-meets-Victorian” vibe Nick and his parter, Gary Barness, were going for, all within a $2,000 budget.
4. A Historic But Basic Black Front Door Goes Bright and Bold
The owner of this 1910s Edwardian-style UK home, Nina Watson (@artdecojewel), says she wanted a beautiful entrance for her beautiful home. She used vintage-inspired details, like stained glass, brass hardware, and a refurbished turnkey doorbell to zhuzh up her door — plus striking red glossy paint (Dulux’s Ruby Starlet) to pack a punch.
5. A Beige Bedroom Gets a “Bold and Exciting” Two-Tone Redo for Under $500
The shapeshifting shade in this head-to-toe pink bedroom is Sherwin-Williams’ Rachel Pink. Homeowner Carla Morrone (@casa_de_car) says that it can look peachy or hot pink, depending on the time of day and how sunlight hits the space through the room’s large windows. “It’s pretty magical,” she says. Carla’s best color advice? “Just go for it; be brave with your color choices.”
6. A Colorful $700 Redo Made A Rental Bedroom Feel Like Home
DIYer Erin Johnson (@ej.sunshine) totally embraced pink in her bedroom redo, from using two $5 sample cans of pink paint on the walls to stapling a DIY fabric wall covering made from vintage curtains for a bit of pink pattern. Erin used travel as inspiration for her room, pulling from the colors and textures of Santa Fe, and she says her bedroom now feels much more cohesive with the rest of her apartment, where the rest of the walls are also painted pink.
7. A Few Basic Changes and About $42 Make This IKEA Nightstand Unrecognizable
The bubblegum pink spray paint on this IKEA VIKHAMMER-turned-custom-looking piece makes it look extra fun in the space. The DIYer behind the project, Marcus Merta, adds other pops of pink in his bedroom with a large pink artwork above the bed and pink pillowcases.
8. A “Va Va Voom Victorian” Kitchen Makeover in Brooklyn
The pink paint in Alison Dahl Kelly’s kitchen and dining room (now one large space thanks to the removal of the wall between the two) makes the home’s 1880s details sing. Alison was inspired to paint the space pink after visiting a friend’s pink-walled dining room and loving it, and she doubled (tripled, even?) down on the shade by adding large vintage rugs in the same color family on both halves of the room.
9. This $5,000 Vintage Bathroom Redo Honors Its Pink-Tiled Roots
This 1960s bathroom in Kristi Waite’s bathroom was already very pink, with a pink toilet, pink sinks, and a pink-tiled tub. Kristi’s goal was to modernize the space while still honoring the retro bathroom’s roots. Her advice to anyone with similarly bold tile from decades past? “Don’t ditch an old bathroom just because of a bold color!” Although she swapped the sinks and toilet for more modern fixtures, she did keep square pink tiles in the shower, bought a pink vanity, and added pink decals and artwork to dress up the walls. “As people have come through the house in the last couple of years, many have said, ‘You have to keep the pink!'” Kristi says. “Now that everything is done and we pulled the old and new together, we’re so happy with how it turned out.”
10. A Dark 1980s Kitchen Gets a Cheerful Pink Redo Featuring a Trendy Cabinet DIY
Soft pink paint in the kitchen is gaining popularity these days, and it’s a color choice that feels both trendy and vintage-looking all at once. Here, DIYer Dhara Sanghavi (@studio_dharaesque) gave her parents’ dated kitchen a pink paint treatment on the ceilings and walls opposite the counters and cabinets. As for the counters and cabinets, those got a marble-y epoxy redo and dowel rod DIY, respectively, for a totally new look that’s easy on the wallet.
11. A Non-Functional Bathroom Gets a Practical Modern-Meets-Vintage Redo
DIYer Marcel Dagenais (@brewcitybuilds) says his paint choice in his bathroom, which he shares with his partner, Ben, was inspired by pastel bathrooms of the ’50s and ’60s. The color: Valspar’s Coral Mist. “I wanted to add a bit of warmth to break up all that white,” Marcel says. “I was a little nervous about using this color since it’s not the first choice for me, but we’re both super happy with the results, and I think it really makes the space come together nicely.”
12. A Quick Under-$10 Project Gives a Plain IKEA HEMNES Some Character
This two-day, $10 dresser redo by Lorna (@laffsgaff) proves that you don’t have to paint an entire piece of furniture to make a big color impact. Lorna used a leftover can of Farrow & Ball’s Cinder Rose and some painter’s tape to create the color-blocked HEMNES in her daughter’s room. Her project takes the set of drawers from “boring plain white drawers that most people have in their homes” to a one-of-a-kind piece that’s far from boring.
13. A Boring White Kitchen Gets a Groovy Rainbow-Hued Update
Bob Copani borrowed many colors from the 1970s color palette for his retro kitchen redo, especially avocado green and bold orange. In his dining room, he adds orange galore via the tulip chairs and the stick-on Photowall mural.To see the other (hand-painted!) orange details in his space, check out his full retro-inspired redo.
14. A Few Swaps Under $500 Bring New Boho Style to a Once-Boring Bathroom
15. An Imaginative Redo Makes a Bland Dining Room Feel Way More Welcoming
It’s Natalie Papier’s colorful home again! This time, her dining room, which has a fantastic rusty orange (Sherwin-Williams’ Cavern Clay) ceiling and groovy floral artwork to match. “We love color. We love art,” Natalie told AT. Her home decorating advice? “Always surround yourself with pieces you love, colors you love.”
16. A 100-Year-Old Decaying Duplex Becomes a Glam Blend of Old-Meets-New
Homeowner Sasha Santillan’s favorite part of her living room redo is the wall treatment. The painted walls are a terracotta shade (Valspar’s Laredo), and the exposed brick walls run three layers deep and were lovingly restored: tuckpointed, sealed, and plastered in parts that were beyond repair. The two contrasting wall types are the perfect blend of old-meets-new.
17. A $600 Mostly-DIY Redo Cheers up This Grim Gray Bathroom
This budget-friendly bathroom redo by DIYer Morgan Gomez (@morganstayshome) will have you dreaming of Dreamsicles because of the fun, summery vibes it evokes, and also because that’s the name of the Hound Paint hue that Morgan used on the walls. Her small bathroom was cute before, but the dose of color is much more personality-packed than the once-gray walls. “I love the color so much,” Morgan says of the “after.”
18. Orange You Glad This Kitchen Got a Makeover?
“I have always wanted a bold orange accent wall,” the owner of this kitchen, Brandon Bourdganis, says. And he went bold indeed with tangerine-colored walls, and he says now, he couldn’t imagine his kitchen without the bright color. He also has an orange vintage clock and KitchenAid stand mixer to match.
19. A 1940s Fan Found in the Trash Gets a Groovy Orange Redo for Just $20
Speaking of orange accessories, this fan redo proves that appliances don’t have to be boring shades of chrome and gray. Justin Labinski fished this 1940s Eskimo fan out of the trash, fixed an electrical short inside, re-soldered the wire and lubed the bearings to get the thing spinning again, then buffed it and spray painted it in a retro-appropriate orange. Justin has two great pieces of advice for fellow tinkerers and flippers: “Don’t be afraid of color and changing things to fit your style,” he says. The bold orange spray paint he chose is his favorite part of his final product.
20. A No-Demo Redo Amps Up This Bathroom’s Groovy ’70s Style
Homeowner Kelly Bryant (@streetfleastyle) found the perfect solution to make the gold sinks, tub, and toilet — not to mention the gold square tile floors — in her kids’ bathroom look meant-to-be: a retro-inspired yellow wallpaper.“We didn’t want to demo anything, and in order to keep the refresh affordable I need something that would work with the existing sink, shower, and floor,” Kelly says. She says her redo makes the room a happier place to be as opposed to the “dull and sad” before.
The great news about using paint to create change is that it won’t eat up too much of your reno budget. Case in point: For her bathroom redo, Anne-Claire (@boobalootchi) added yellow paint (Behr’s English Daisy), crisp white paint (Behr’s Ultra Pure White), a frame around her mirror, a slim pine shelf underneath the mirror, new pine vanity doors, and a few new decor pieces. It has a totally different look from before, and all for under $130.
22. A Clever DIY Refresh Makes a Boring Bedroom Bright and Bold for $130
Anne-Claire used a similar sunny shade in her bedroom, too. “When we moved in, one wall was painted a dark greenish-gray, and the other walls were a very light shade of gray, almost white … but not white,” she says. The bed was also on the opposite side of the room. Anne-Claire opted for a smaller bed and moved it to a different wall to save space, and then she addressed the darkness in the space. She painted the walls white and then added a yellow color blocking treatment (this time in Behr’s Sunny Side Up) to act as a headboard in the space. Her advice when it comes to using a color as bright as yellow? “Rather than using it for a whole wall, consider just painting an accent shape,” she says. If you don’t like it or get tired of it after a while, it will be very easy to paint over.”
23. Kitchen Cabinets Get a Bold, Happy New Color for $160
Looking for instant joy in your kitchen? Consider painting the cabinets yellow. That’s what Luliana did in her kitchen with chalk paint — a huge change for just three weeks of time and $160. She says she was a little nervous about the bold color after painting a couple of the cabinet doors, but she decided to commit. Now, she loves walking in to the sunshine-y room everyday. “Along with the kitchen, I’ve painted many other pieces of furniture,” Luliana says. “My husband said he’s afraid that only our dogs will escape from being painted.”
24. A Two-Tone Paint Job Breathes New Life into a Once-Lackluster Kid’s Room
Fact: Bold green is just more interesting than beige — and definitely better for a creative kid’s space. Homeowner Sameera Stern-Gillet (@21_holmfield) says that the new dark green paint in her son’s room (Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe) is the perfect backdrop for fun patterns and prints. “I’d never painted a room in such a dark color before but am so pleased that I took the step and did it,” she says.
25. A $4,000 Redo Gives this 1980s Bathroom Vacay Vibes
Once again, green is a much more vibrant choice in this bathroom than the basic beige before. Jennifer Goschke used a banana leaf wallpaper and Etsy and Behr’s Perennial Green to amp up the the color in the space. She also upgraded the floors, vanity, mirrors, light fixture, and window trim to make the room feel more modern. Her color advice is great for anyone thinking about selling their home down the line: “If you’re worried about resale and finicky buyers, keep the bigger ticket items neutral, like the tile and the cabinetry,” she says. “Paint and wallpaper can be easily changed.”
26. A $500 Redo Turns This All-Beige Bathroom into a Dramatic, Plant-Filled Escape
The great thing about decorating green is that plants (whether real or faux) can also help create major color moments in a space in addition to paint, wallpaper, or decor. Take, for example, Carrie Kline’s (@honeydohoney_home) moody, spa-like bathroom makeover, which is filled with bright green plants and dark emerald paint (Benjamin Moore’s Tarrytown Green).
27. A $500 Renter-Friendly DIY Plant Wall Makes for a Dreamy Green Oasis
Another plant-filled redo FTW! Renter Kelly Malone (@kellymalonemakes) created a beautiful green display wall for the the monsteras and more that she amassed over quarantine with two IKEA IVARs (painted a deep green), peel-and-stick wallpaper from Target, and lots and lots of plants. Kelly says IKEA IVARs are very versatile for those who love to DIY with color. “You really can do a lot with these, from wallpaper to paint or staining,” she says. “You can repaint them each year and grab new peel-and-stick wallpaper with a current graphic or for a color change.”
28. A 1970s Dresser Gets a Statement-Making Two-Toned Redo for $150
The “dipped” look of this dresser redo is a cool way to add bold color to furniture while still maintaining some neutral wood tones. Pro furniture flipper Courtney Weisel (@steelbirchstudios) says she loves “the depth of the color next to the beautiful natural wood.” She chose a forest-meets-olive green (Eventide by Melange Paints) for the project. Her best advice for painting furniture is to prep, prep, prep. The sander is your friend, as is a can of quality primer.
29. A $500 Redo Featuring a Trendy DIY Makes This Basic Hall Closet Look Bespoke
There are bold shades green in this laundry room closet redo via the emerald green House of Hackney wallpaper, but the main green shade at play here is a more serene and sage-y one that’s having a major moment in 2022. Design and DIY duo Chica and Jo used Benjamin Moore’s Tate Olive for the trim, shelves, and surrounding walls in their $500 closet redo.
30. $500 Worth of Clever Changes Make This Bedroom Feel Bigger and More Glam
Homeowner Alyssa Carter used a deep emerald (Backdrop’s Kismet) and sage green in her under-$500 bedroom redo. Although she loves the new moody paint color, she does have a few words of caution for those going bold in the bedroom. “Once we painted green, we had to get rid of some of our older bedding because it didn’t go anymore,” she says. “So just be ready to be more limited with your color choice with a bold accent wall!”
31. A Tired Rental Kitchen a Charm-Packed, Two-Day Makeover
One spot where it’s quite common to add a pop of green these days is on kitchen cabinets, and this mossy green pick (Farrow & Ball’s Bancha) from Alexandra Gater and her client, Megan, is a winner. Alexandra said she spent a long time moodboarding colors for the space before picking a winner; she went with Bancha because it felt retro-inspired and played well with the tan counters, tile floors, and checkerboard peel-and-stick backsplash. “The color story of this kitchen was important to get right,” she says.
32. An Untouched 1980s Laundry Room Gets a Lively 2-Day, $100 Refresh
This laundry room looks much brighter thanks to white paint and counters, new window trim, and a tropical green and white wallpaper. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a great way to add color if you want to modify as you go or if you’re a renter. Homeowner Kari Rezac (@casasbykari) explains that it’s “just like a big sticker” and “was easy to apply and just as easy to peel off and fix.” Now, she has a beautiful backdrop for doing all of her laundry.
33. This Cheerful Kitchen Redo Features a Super Unexpected Color Combo
The electric green cabinet color in Martin Atwell’s (@rabbitt_ranch) ultra-colorful kitchen redo is Behr’s Crown Jewel. Martin originally planned on replacing all the cabinets in the kitchen with mid-century style wood ones, but when other renovation issues ended up eating away at her budget, she had to pivot to an under-$200 solution: paint. Her advice when it comes to painting cabinets should sound familiar: Preparation and patience are crucial to your success. “With cabinets — and most paint projects — the key to longevity and durability is in the prep,” Martin says.
34. A 1983 Dining Room’s Dramatic Redo Is Both Luxurious and Inviting
Is there anything more regal and luxe-feeling than royal blue? Probably not! After all, royal is in the name for a reason, and that makes it a great color for a grand dining room. Laura Bell Bundy’s dining room redo showcases the color in spades. She used Benjamin Moore’s Van Deusen for the walls and fireplace surround, added 10 royal blue velvet chairs from CB2, and incorporated navy and turquoise with her toile wallpaper selection. Laura says her new dining room is intimate and elegant, thanks to the bold color.
35. This Bathroom’s Affordable Accent Wall Is Totally Unexpected
This blue accent wall is made of an unexpected DIY material: plywood shingles. DIYer Zoe Hunt (@craftedbythehunts) cut 1/4-inch shingles and painted each one in a shade or tint of blue for her mom’s bathroom renovation. “She’s always loved blue and anything that reminds her of the ocean, so I knew color was top priority for her new accent wall,” Zoe says. “But I didn’t just want to paint on a pattern.” Zoe’s out-of-the box solution adds color, pattern, and texture to the space.
36. A Dated Kitchen’s Incredibly Colorful Remodel Still Honors Its Retro Roots
The inspiration for this head-to-toe blue kitchen redo was the backsplash tile. “The clients absolutely loved it, so that tile essentially became the inspiration for the actual design in terms of color scheme,” interior designer Abigail Braden (@augustinteriorsct), says. For example, the cabinet color (Benjamin Moore’s Blue Danube) matches the deep blue in the center of the tile, and the aqua color shows up again on the walls and floors. Abigail says the overall feel of the kitchen is “a little retro and a little offbeat.”
37. This $450 Laundry Room Redo Includes 6 Seriously Impressive DIYs
The vibrant blue walls in Becky Marshall’s (@flippingtheflip) laundry room get two totally fun treatments. Along one stretch, the walls got a cool, intricate pattern using a wood grain stencil. Along the other, Becky color blocked the same bright blue to create big, bold horizontal stripes. Not only do the bold color and patterns look “super cool,” Becky says, but they also help to conceal the breaker box in the back corner of the room. Check out the other stylish-meets-functional DIYs in the room here.
38. A $100 Project Gives a 1959 Time Capsule Bedroom a Fresh New Life
The serene blue-gray shade in this sophisticated bedroom redo is perfect for a place designed for sleeping (it’s Glidden’s Connecticut Blue). The accent wall was created with flat window trim, which DIYer Stephanie Beaulac (@s.and.p_diy) measured, cut, and nailed, all while navigating tricky measurements and angles. “The accent wall was a risk,” Stephanie says. “We didn’t know how it would turn out but we’re really happy with it and are proud we were able to create that.”
39. A Cheap Collage of Browns & Creams Gets a Bold, Blue Modern Remodel
This once-beige rowhouse kitchen got a sleek-looking redo that looks much more expensive than it actually was thanks to IKEA cabinets, Craigslist finds, and refurbished flooring. The cabinets’ bold blue paint color — a big piece of what luxes them up — is Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue. To see other pops of blue in the space, browse homeowner Peggy Wang’s full house tour.
40. An Old Freebie Cabinet Becomes a Modern Statement Piece for $200
To turn a brown piece of furniture into a statement piece, sometimes it needs a colorful coat of paint. In this case, Sabrina Saucier (@mysinteriors) turned this glass-front cabinet she found in her apartment building into a blue beauty using Benjamin Moore’s Old Blue Jeans. “I have a lot of warm neutrals and orange in my bedroom, so this blue really complements the other colors,” Sabrina says of her paint choice.
41. A “Dark, Muddy, and Uninspiring” Living Room Is Now Filled with Vibrant Colors
“Color has a significant effect on the way we feel on physical and emotional levels, and it’s a great way to shift the energy of a space,” homeowner J. Rycheal says. That’s why, in his home’s living room, he took the walls from brownish beige to something “more vibrant” and “more inviting.” J. says it took him about seven or eight trips to Lowe’s to choose the exact right lavender shade for the corner of his living room, but it was worth it.
42. A Bland Brown Kitchen Gets a Quirky Redo — and a Surprising New Cabinet Color
The purple (yes, purple!) kitchen cabinets in this renovation by designer Andrea Granger (@hunt.and.scavenge) give the old swirled countertops a new lease on life. The moody new shade is Plum Dandy by Sherwin-Williams.“The purple was such a daring choice,” Andrea says, but she also says this is her favorite project to date — so the color risk was well worth it.
43. Basic Brown Bookcases Get a “Harry Potter Vibe” for $110
Purple paint helped transform these basic laminate bookcases into something with dark academia vibes for a bookworm teen’s bedroom. Homeowner Randi Froug and her daughter, Mira, painted the bookcases themselves (including the black and gold stenciling on the back); Mira picked the color. “That purple is inspired,” one AT commenter wrote upon seeing the finished pieces. “But it’s the stenciled back that elevates this make-over to a whole new level of remarkable! Kid’s room?? I’d be delighted to have these in my living room any day of the week, and I’m not even that big a fan of Harry Potter (or the color purple)!”
This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: 43 of Our Most Colorful Before and Afters Ever, In Every Hue of the Rainbow