Five Dollar Decor - Paint

Every Friday, I'll be posting Five Dollar Decor--five ideas for interior decorating that can be achieved by spending only five dollars. For five dollars, you can add one new element to your in-home design. For twenty-five, you can revamp an entire room around a new theme. Hmm... a trip to Starbucks, or a weekend redecorating project?  

When I first started writing these posts, Mr. Scrimp suggested I write something about paint. I was hesitant, because it's nearly impossible to find sufficient quantities of good paint for $5 or less, but while the title of these blogs is "five dollar decor," the idea is that you can redecorate one room for about $25, and you can definitely change the entire look and feel of a room with nothing but paint.

For people who live in apartments where you can't paint--well, this isn't for you. We aren't allowed to paint, but I still daydream about it. But if you live in a rental where painting is ok, or are fortunate enough to own your home, painting is a perfect and low-cost way to totally revamp a space.

So, here are five suggestions for ways to transform a room with paint. Some of them are pretty straightforward. Some of them, though, maybe you haven't thought of yet.

1. Painted Stripes or Circles

A friend of ours recently did this. Wallpaper is a hassle both to apply and to remove. But with a couple of different paint colors, you can create vertical or horizontal stripes, or trace circles of various sizes onto your wall and fill them in for an abstract design or polka-dot look.

All you need to do is a google search for painted wall stripes to see some incredible variations on this idea. For instance, you could try alternating a matte paint with a high-gloss paint in the same color, alternating stripes of various widths and colors, painting only halfway up a wall for a wainscot-style look, or a single horizontal stripe over the circumference of a room. I particularly like the warm colors of these wide vertical stripes, found at

2. Painted Floor

Painted floors are one of my favorite things. Far less expensive than refinishing or carpeting a damaged or very worn wood floor, it combines the aesthetic positives of a rug or carpet with the flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and durability of paint, and the pleasure of wooden flooring (which I love).

Whether you paint an entire floor red, like in this historical house in Mystic, Connecticut (near where I grew up), stain a hallway floor with a runner-like design as New York artist Andrew Tedesco did here, paint a geometic design such as this website displays, paint a "carpet" onto a floor like Redding, Connecticut's Liotta Studios did, or refresh a floor with a few stripes and stencils like in this picture from Southern Living, the possibilities here are only limited by your creativity or inspiration.

3. Stencilling

Painting with stencils on a wall is another great way to either imitate wallpaper or to create a decorative accent on a wall that would otherwise be bland. Whether you make your own with paper or cardboard, or buy stencils at a craft store or online, the way you use your stencil provides a lot of room for variation and creativity.

StyleHive posted this beautiful piece of wall stenciling by Maria Kirk Mikkelsen, done by overlapping two different stencils and repeating a pattern on a wall to create a non-repeating, random-looking design of flowers. You could also use stencils to paint a diamond pattern onto a wall or imitate brocade fabric, two pick two examples off the top of my head.

4. Freehand Art

Not for the faint of heart, but if you or someone you know are lucky enough to be a good artist, why not freehand-sketch a design or mural onto one wall and then fill it in with paint? You're guaranteed to get an individualized, original piece of artwork for your home that says something new and unique about you.

Consider this gorgeous chinoiserie-inspired piece of painting, which I found at the Little Green Notebook blog. I'm a nut for anything tree-inspired, and that shade of blue is unbelievable.

Be sure to go and look at the larger version of that picture so you can really appreciate what a beautiful piece of artwork that is.

5. Swirls/Freehand Organic Shapes

If you don't feel confident actually painting a picture, why not try something a little simpler, like swirls or other organic-looking freehand designs? A great way to highlight your favorite colors and create a very dynamic look, the best part about this is that it's pretty much impossible to make a mistake. Just start painting and go!

Mr. Scrimp and I definitely have a bit of a hippie/bohehmian aesthetic to us, and we agreed we would both absolutely paint a room (or at least an accent wall) with something like the design in this picture, done by Perfection Painting in Des Moines.

If you've recently done a painting project and would like to show it off, leave a comment or get in touch with me via the Scrimpalicious facebook page. I'd love to see how you people out there on the Internet are getting creative with paint!

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