Published on June 10, 2019

The idea of painting the walls of your rental can be daunting—even if your landlord has guaranteed the safe return of your security deposit. There’s the process of getting it approved, navigating drop cloths in what may be a small space, and then having to repaint everything when you leave. If this scenario sounds familiar, don’t give up on your dreams of a colorful interior just yet. Paint your doorframe instead.

Painting the trim is a much lower-lift way to personalize your apartment, allowing you to bring a pop of color home with less of a risk. It’s easy to cover up when you move out and feels more unexpected than simply coating your walls in a new hue. Not to mention, it’s a lot cheaper.

The best news? There are tons of ways to bring this high-contrast style home, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time painter; ahead, two of our favorite ideas.

For the beginner

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Photo Courtesy of Lannoo Publishers

This one’s so easy, it barely requires a tutorial: Simply apply painter’s tape to the outside of the door’s molding and use an angled brush to really get into the grooves of the frame. Layer on two to three coats of your color, depending on how saturated you want it to look. Pro tip: It’s easier to work if you pour your paint into quart-size containers, so you can easily hold it and reapply paint while balancing on a ladder to reach the top part.

If you ever find yourself willing to venture into painted wall territory, consider a two-tone style to take this a step further. Pick complementary colors for some fun juxtaposition.

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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea
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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea
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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea
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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea

For the DIY aficionado

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Photo by Meghan McNeer

Opt for a multicolored look that just grazes the doorframe. While this striped design may appear a bit complex, the only real difference is that it takes more time—and the end result is oh so pleasing. Start out by lining up your three paints on a work surface for easy access, in the order you want them applied.

Now get to arranging the tape: Apply three strips of tape next to one another, and pull out the center piece. Using a 3-inch paint roller with a ¼-inch nap, roll on the color that you want as your second stripe. While that stripe is drying, apply tape to the inside of your doorframe and to the outside of the last piece of tape—these will be your borders for the first and third stripes. Once the center is completely dry, pull off the two pieces of tape that flank it, and cover the just-painted stripe with another bit of tape to protect it. Roll your first and third paint colors on, wait for them to dry, then remove all tape. Strut around your apartment like the Martha Stewart you are, marveling at your newly colored interiors.

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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea
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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea
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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea
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Imagery by Aaron Bengochea

See more paint ideas:
If You Want Your Home to Look Like a Charming Tuscan Villa, Try This
5 Ways to Get More Creative With Paint
16 Ways Painted Trim Transforms a Room

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