From classic grey to uplifting ombré, a lick of paint can update your wardrobe beautifully
They take up a lot of space and, after the bed, tend to be the most dominant feature, so a wardrobe that fits in with the rest of your bedroom is key to its success.
Many of us, however, have a wardrobe we haven’t chosen – whether it came with the house or was inherited from family or friends – so if you’re looking for a way to give it a new look, check out the painted selection below and see if you’re inspired to show some cupboard love…
Team it with your woodwork
This built-in wardrobe has been painted a pretty pale blue to match the rest of the woodwork in the bedroom.
Choosing a darker shade than the one on the walls adds a contrasting element to the scheme, and makes a nice change from the more standard white.
When painting wardrobe doors, paint with the doors open and then again with them closed to make sure you don’t miss any bits.
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Reboot fitted wardrobes
Here, a whole wall of fitted wardrobes has been painted a deep shade of grey, complementing the other dark tones in the room and making the cupboards into more of a feature.
Chalk-style paints work on almost any surface, so can normally be used on wardrobe doors that have a man-made finish. It’s worth experimenting with a tester pot on an inconspicuous area first (inside is ideal) to make sure you’re happy with the finished effect.
Experiment with ombre
A flush wardrobe door with no trims or large handles is a good place to experiment with a modern paint effect, such as this ombré technique.
Choose two tonal colours then graduate one into the other – there are lots of guides online to show you how best to blur the edges to get just the right look.
Create a contrast
Don’t be put off from trying a deep colour, especially on a slimline wardrobe. This dark green creates a very different feel in the room than if the furniture had been painted white or a pale shade.
Using a small roller can help to get a smooth finish on woodwork, and remember to remove any handles before painting to make the job easier and give a more professional finish.
Browse wardrobes in the Houzz Shop
Match the walls
Help fitted wardrobes with lots of beading and panelling to blend in by painting them in the same colour as the walls.
This is especially useful in a small bedroom to stop the cupboard doors looking too fussy and overwhelming the space.
A neutral, ‘sludgy’ colour like the one seen here is a good choice in a compact room, as it helps to create a calm feel. Bed linen in a similar shade completes the serene look.
Transform a freestanding piece
If you have a large, wooden wardrobe that’s never really floated your boat – maybe you inherited it, or it came with your partner when they moved in – why not take the plunge and update it with a really bold colour, like this hot pink? (Better check with the owner first if it wasn’t yours to start with, obviously!)
This huge cupboard has been painted in a shiny gloss finish, but there are lots of paint types to choose from, including ultra matt and mid-sheen satinwood. Check with your favourite DIY store about the best type of paint to choose for your project.
Of course, wardrobes don’t have to be confined to the bedroom – this one has been repurposed as living room storage.
Read this expert advice on how to paint wooden furniture beautifully
Add a pattern
If you’re feeling artistic, the large expanse of blank space provided by a wardrobe can be the ideal spot to add an individual touch to a room scheme.
Whether you’re going for a freehand pattern, stencils or letters, mark out the design first, using masking tape to section off areas, then get creative. If you get bored with the design, you can always just paint over it.
Just paint the doors
If you’re worried that a strong colour will be too dominant, try painting just the doors instead. This stops the wardrobe from looking too ‘blocky’.
It’s also a good option for a built-in cupboard, where it would be difficult to get to the sides to paint them properly, or for a heavy piece of furniture it would be difficult to drag out, as here.
Leave a white border
On a bank of fitted wardrobes, leaving the frames around the door panels white breaks up the expanse of colour, adding another level of interest.
In a child’s room like this, you could even use different colours on the separate door panels.
Replace any overtly ornamental handles with unobtrusive white knobs to keep the look clean and simple.
Have you painted a wardrobe? Share your ideas in the Comments section.