10 Fall Painting Ideas to Welcome the Season

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on September 8, 2020

Ah, autumn. The sweet taste of pumpkin spice lattes, the coziness of sweaters and the romance of falling leaves.

Turn the page on a new season with a fall painting project—a personalized way to enjoy fall colors without leaving home and driving to the nearest wooded area (although that doesn’t sound half-bad). 

Consider this a primer on fall painting ideas. Sip that cider, light a candle that smells like firewood and consider the possibilities.

Before you head to the paint store, ask yourself a few questions about your paint project: 

What‘s my level of painting expertise?

  • I’ve never painted before so I want to keep this low stakes.
  • I know my way around sandpaper, drop cloths, blue tape and primer. 
  • I’m a painting pro!

Takeaway: The world is stressful enough right now; don’t write a check your paintbrush can’t cash. If this is your first trip down the paint aisle, get your feet wet with a small piece of furniture with simple, clean lines.

How much time do I want to devote to this? 

  • A few hours and I’m out. 
  • A day will do.
  • A weekend or more. 

Takeaway: Again, be realistic and go for the low-hanging fruit if you’re new to painting. If you take to it like latex to drywall, you can graduate to something a little more challenging next time. 

What’s my budget? 

  • How low can I go? 
  • I can devote a few Andrew Jacksons to this.
  • I’ll spend whatever it takes.

Takeaway: You can find low-quality, flat-finish paint for around $15 a gallon or spend almost eight times that much on designer paint. Know your comfort zone and shop around.

The thing is, wherever you land on the sliding scale of experience, time and money, there’s a fall painting idea for you.

Think beyond your walls. As long it’s not breathing or moving, considered a priceless antique or owned by someone else, you really can paint it

  • Spice up your kitchen by painting your kitchen cabinets, the bottom of your kitchen island or the legs of your kitchen table 
  • Paint the window trim and window sills in your living room 
  • Pull up to a freshly painted garage door. This is the time and the season to tackle exterior painting projects
  • Paint your bookshelves or built-ins, and use the opportunity to do some seasonal decluttering of those shelves
  • Refresh the banister of your staircase or the little table by your bed
  • Swap out the colors of picture frames and mirror frames. Small investment, big payoff
Simple paint ideas

Color can pack a punch. It’s capable of not only transforming the look of your space but also your outlook on life. 

If you’re considering a larger painting project —an accent wall, a room or even an entire floor of rooms—really give some thought to the mood you want to create at home

Are you trying to instill calm? Blues may be your best friend, but tried-and-true creams and whites are always a good bet. Or go for a modern monochromatic palette—walls in the same color family as the furniture—for super-seamless visuals.

Need a quick pick-me-up? Pick a cheerful goldenrod or touch of pink. And if you think pink is only for spring, check out Benjamin Moore’s perennially flattering Tissue Pink

Want to boost your productivity? It’s said that a deep navy might do the trick because it calms the mind and increases focus.

Craving contentment and security? Browns and other earth tones can help you feel rooted. 

Want warmth? Orange you glad it’s fall, when orange feels particularly homey and in-season?

Dip into this blog post for more paint-color advice, including our designers timeless tip on paint chips.

For many years in “Harper’s Bazaar,” iconic fashion editor Diana Vreeland wrote a “Why Don’t You?” column of suggestions for leading a life of glamour and style. 

While many of Vreeland’s ideas landed at the intersection of extravagant and ridiculous (see: washing your child’s hair in champagne), they often contained a kernel of practicality.

“Why don’t you have two pairs of day shoes exactly alike, except that one pair has thin rubber soles for damp days? Any cobbler can put these on.” Makes sense to anyone who’s ruined a favorite pair of heels in an unexpected rain storm. 

In that vein, why don’t you … 

  • Paint your front steps ebony, the better to make porch gourds and jack o’ lanterns pop. Or paint your front door a luscious burnt orange that complements the facade of your home, then hang a glorious fall wreath on it. 
  • Paint your interior stairs in two tones of durable semi-gloss paint. Lay down your primary color a couple of feet wide in the center of the staircase then add a few inches of the secondary color on each side. Or paint the steps one color and the risers another. (Here’s how to reach the summit of stair-painting.)
  • Paint your fireplace or mantel, keeping in mind the styling moments you want to create there this fall and winter. 
  • Paint a reading nook a rich, bold color that contrasts sharply with the walls around it, so you feel like you’re entering a womb-like space when you step inside. 
  • Paint your child’s bedroom furniture or virtual learning desk a color that will make them happy. Kids need renewed visual stimulation, too, and relish a feeling of ownership over their space. 
  • Paint the illusion of wainscoting into a drab hallway by painting only halfway up the wall. 
  • Paint your baseboards a crisp winter white. Out of sight and out of mind, baseboards often get neglected, but a baseboard revamp is surprisingly satisfying.
  • Paint something in your WFH space a power color that your boss would never consider for the bricks-and-mortar office. Black is an elegant, sophisticated neutral (but a little goes a long way). 
  • Paint planters and terra cotta pots on your balcony, patio or deck a uniform shade that will play nicely with the fall colors of your backyard now and, come winter, snow (if that’s in your forecast). A hunter green or cranberry would deck your outdoor space with all the holiday feels. 
  • Paint your back door a fall shade that feels daring but will make you unreasonably happy: Sherwin-Williams’ Autumn Orchid, Blackberry or Crabby Apple.  

Ready to create a space for all seasons? Let our designers help. Get started with the Havenly style quiz.

Words by Staci Sturrock