Editor’s Note: This is archival material – first published in 2015, updated in 2019

An effective way to shake up the interior without serious expenses is to enclose the room in a “frame”. We are talking about decorative contours. Framing will emphasize the architecture of the space, add graphics to the interior and make it more expressive. You will be surprised how many surfaces you can circle and outline! And you will need nothing for such a decor – a can of paint left over from a previous repair, a roller and masking tape.


Highlight the walls
Highlight the walls of the room with contours – emphasize all the corners, as well as niches and ledges, if any. Graphic dark lines will enhance the contrasts and give the room a more dramatic look.

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Branca Inc.

A universal option is thin black outlines, however, both the color and the width of the lines can be varied.

Advice: Use paint only a couple of tones darker than the wall color if you are afraid of sharp contrasts.

Highlight the ceiling
Skirting boards and ceiling moldings also deserve attention: painted in bright colors, they themselves are able to “pull out” the most ordinary and boring interior.

If there are no skirting boards or moldings in your room, it will be even easier for you: you can simply draw them, moreover, exactly the width you want (and all this without tedious trips to the store).

In the photo: an alternative to coloring – the standard backlight can be replaced with a colored, diode

Korneev Design Workshop

AFT Construction

Idea: if you draw a contrasting outline along the ceiling (and not on the border with the wall), this will visually raise the height of the room. White on black works about the same as dark on white.

Euro Laguna Marble Inc.

Draw the floor
Contouring won’t hurt the floor either. Graphic lines will give dynamics to the interior, set the direction of movement, direct the eye to bright decorative elements (for example, a sculpture or a picture on the wall).

In addition, the contours help to zone the space – and, unlike the most compact partitions and screens that serve the same purpose, they do not take up any space at all.

Choose floor paints for work, they are durable and resistant to abrasion. After all, you will constantly walk on the floor, and you will have to wash it periodically.


Photo idea: A thin yellow line makes this skirting board look vibrant and dynamic

Olle Eksell

Idea from a photo: The side surface of the steps is a great place for a graphic line-contour

Vendome Press

Paint the windows
Highlight the architectural features of your room with color – emphasize windows with contrasting paint. Paint the bindings – they will turn into elegant frames, and the picturesque views from the window will become paintings.

However, such a decor will also help out if the landscape outside the window is not the most cheerful: a bright frame will simply draw all the attention to itself.

You can paint not only frames (plastic double-glazed windows are not quite designed for this), but also window slopes. The effect of a snow-white window in a colored frame will be no less impressive.

Hendricks Churchill

Label the doors
Like windows, doors can also be emphasized with color. In addition, there are twice as many opportunities here. Try to draw a perimeter – a door frame or architraves.

Becky Harris

By the way, who said that the contour should be exceptionally even?

Experiment with outlines: draw an intricate arch from the eastern palace or a strict antique portico with columns. And, if this option seems too frivolous to you, use it in the children’s room.

Zhenya Zhdanova

Idea from the photo: color coding with the contour of the panel. This project has 5 guest bedrooms on the second floor. Each is decorated in its own color. To prevent guests from looking for the “yellow room” at night, opening all the doors in a row, designer Zhenya Zhdanova painted the contours around the panel in the appropriate colors.

Dembowski & Tikhonova Architects

outline furniture
Not only the perimeter of the apartment, but also its contents can become a canvas.

Just a couple of colorful lines will add spice to ordinary pieces of furniture, as is the case with the kitchen set in the photo.

Zhenya Zhdanova

Take care of individual interior items: you can refresh the look of a cabinet, chest of drawers, wardrobe, table without completely repainting them – just walk along the contours of the doors and drawers.

Dulux Amazing Space

Idea from the photo: the decorative line from the wall goes to the end of the shelf.

Saus Design

frame art
Attached to the wall, notes and notes, photographs and posters will look like an integral decorative composition – just draw a common frame around them. It not only focuses attention on the decor, but also slightly reduces the level of visual noise – it groups and arranges various elements into a single system.

Design Manifest

Set the accents
You can use contours quite locally – to highlight individual objects hanging on the wall or standing near it. For example, try creating a contrasting frame for a wall mirror (pictured), a painting, a bookcase, a bedside lamp, even a TV.

Try to accurately repeat the outlines of objects. If not, enclose them in strict rectangular frames.

Lanny Nagler Photography

Draw the missing
Does the bed have a headboard? Draw it with outlines. Or frame an existing one for an unexpected and fresh look.

Charlotte Fequet

Are you ready to draw outlines in your own house? On what surfaces?