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Paint and Wallpaper: Dramatic Changes on a Small Budget

Therapy comes in many forms: wine with girlfriends, kid-less vacations, and a universal must, a real, live, phenomenal therapist. Well, I’ve got another to add: painting a room. The list is endless of things we have to apply serious brain power to in a day. Not paint. Nope. This enjoyable, impactful, and affordable way to update a room is just hands down fun.

Let’s break down what colors work, where to shop, and which rooms to wallpaper vs. paint. Life is too short not to try it and unlike chopping your hair because the bob came back in, you can always paint it right back. Let out your inner OCD (or not!) and completely change the look, feel, and vibe of a room in less than a day.

Paint Color

Feels like the world of design can lean very dark or very light and I’m here for it all. I gravitate toward moody rich hues for a bedroom, a strong office space, and even a powder room. There is a resurgence lately of ‘middle tones’ - a revival which can work well (like classic whites) in areas like living rooms, kitchens, and great rooms. The bigger the room and more often it’s used, it’s okay to play it safe and go lighter, so you don’t tire of a deep, rich color.

Pro tip: Request paint samples on These 12x12 square stickers are made with the real paint you’re pondering, and applied with two coats!


Wallpaper is like that treat-yourself handbag – purchased with intention and as an ‘accessory’ only. No one’s leaving the house dressed solely in their handbag, let’s be clear. As the pricier sister to paint, I love accenting laundry rooms, kid rooms, and smaller powder rooms with wallpaper. Think outside of the box for wallpaper treatments as well: the ceiling in a kids room, behind the shelves of a built-in, or even inside a fun pantry closet.

Pro tip: My go-to favorite sites for wallpaper are Hygge & West, Chasing Paper, Spoonflower (for a vast assortment), Anthropologie, York, and Wallpaper Direct (for the best pricing).

Source: Pinterest, via Design Collective

Source: Pinterest, Black Library in 206 Bridgehampton by Timothy Godbold

Source: Pinterest, via Urban Wall Decals


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