7 Out of the Box Design Ideas to Try in Your Home

Interiors & Decor

Green family room with a green velvet sofa, red decor accents, and a variety of coffee table books
Photo of our green family room

Editor’s Note: We’re sharing the article below, originally published in August of 2020, to offer up some unique home design ideas that would surely make a delightful impact in any home.

For those of you who are getting a little antsy in your homes and are looking to make some changes to your spaces, today I’m sharing a few out of the box home design ideas I’d recommend. These are updates you may not naturally gravitate toward that have the potential to make a noticeable impact in your space. Because sometimes all we need to shift our perspective is a slight change of scenery or a different approach we hadn’t thought of before. 

Here are 7 out of the box home design ideas to try in your home.

1. Paint a Design on Your Wall

Office with a design painted on the wall
Photo by Medina Grillo at @grillodesigns on Instagram

You don’t need to paint an entire room to make an impact in your space. Why not try your hand at painting a design on your wall instead? Even if you wouldn’t necessarily consider yourself the most creatively inclined, fear not! The design doesn’t have to be complicated to make a stunning statement.

I stumbled across a few beautiful examples of this idea. One is the half moon shape in the office of Medina Grillo from Grillo Designs (shown above) and another is the organic, free-flowing shapes Meg Lewis painted on her living room walls (shown below). (This sun painting from Molly Madfis of Almost Makes Perfect is also really lovely!) And for those of you who are Twin Cities locals and aren’t in the mood to do the painting yourself, you can always consider calling on a bit of help from the owners of She She, whether through their wallpaper designs or original work.

Living room with a design painted on the wall
Photo by Meg Lewis @yourbuddylewis on Instagram

2. Try Painted Floors

Home design ideas: bright and airy dining room with DIY confetti floors
Photo by Katarina Matsson @ettrumtill on Instagram

If you’re not satisfied with your floors and aren’t in a place to spend the money to fix them up right now, consider painting your flooring. A fresh coat of paint could be the refresh you need for your space, OR you could paint a bold pattern, like the green and white checkerboard design Grace Atwood DIYed in her Brooklyn apartment (shown below). Or take a note from Katarina Matsson, who did DIY confetti flooring in the dining room of her family’s beautiful home, as shown above. (You can watch this highlight to learn more about the process!)

Living room with a sofa, floor lamp, bar cart, and checkerboard green and white painted floors
Photo by Grace Atwood at The Stripe

3. … or a Painted Ceiling

Home design ideas: room with a green painted ceiling and two marigold sofas
Photo by Natalie Papier @home_ec_op on Instagram

Make a bold statement in a room and draw the eye upward by painting your ceiling (or, heck, wallpaper it if you’d like… the world is your oyster). Natalie Papier of Home Ec. has done this beautifully in several of her spaces. I love how the bright green color in her living room is so stunningly unexpected and yet works so impeccably well.

4. Use Curtains Unconventionally

Serene bedroom with a curtain behind the headboard
Photo by Angus Williams Photography, via Emily Henderson @em_henderson on Instagram; Design by Sascal Studio

Never underestimate the power that curtains can have in a room, whether used as a window treatment or something else entirely! I love the examples I’ve seen of curtains used in lieu of (or as an additional statement to) a headboard in a bedroom. And I love how Beata Heuman used delightfully patterned curtains to cover up the space underneath the sink shown below—it’s practical and beautiful all at once.

Pink bathroom with marble countertop and backsplash, artwork, and curtain underneath the sink
Photo by Simon Brown Photography, via Renovator’s Notebook @reno_notebook on Instagram; Design by Beata Heuman @beataheuman on Instagram

5. Create a Monochromatic Room

Monochrome pink bathroom
Photo by Brittany Goodman @thegoodmanhouse on Instagram

Go the route of the previous owners of our home and paint your room monochrome (I’m looking at you, peach room)—paint the baseboards, walls, crown molding, everything, all the same color. It’s one way to make a big statement without a ton of additional effort. I’ve seen this done in so many different spaces, and the all-pink powder room shown here is one of my recent favorites.

Home design ideas: monochrome pink bathroom
Photo by Brittany Goodman @thegoodmanhouse on Instagram

6. Go Maximalist With Your Design

Home design ideas: room with maximalist design and a variety of overlapping artwork
Photo by Jessica Reilly @domicile37 on Instagram

While minimalism at home continues to be as popular as ever, there are benefits to going the maximalist route, too. You get to make a big, unexpected statement, for one, and you can showcase all of the decor pieces you love most, little editing necessary. Overflow your shelves with your favorite objects and books; layer two rugs on top of each other; style your coffee table to your heart’s content. Sometimes more is simply more, and there’s no shame in designing a vibrant, bold space that speaks for itself; as long as you love the way it looks, that’s really all that matters.

7. Create Your Own Low-Profile Shelf

Home design ideas: low-profile wood shelf with artwork atop it
Photo by Melissa Oholendt for The Everygirl

One of my favorite ways to bring interest to a room is by varying the heights of decor elements. This helps draw the eye both upward in some areas and downward in others. The photo above is from the last apartment I lived in before Joe and I purchased our first house. I created a low-profile shelf with a piece of scrap wood propped up with stacks of magazines. I recently saw something similar done by Jazmine Rogers (as shown below). She used a leftover scrap piece of corkboard from a desk project and placed it atop two cinderblocks. And look at the result! It’s unexpected, beautiful, and anything but ordinary.

Low-profile corkboard shelf with books and vases atop it
Photo via Repeller @repeller on Instagram; Design by Jazmine Rogers @thatcurlytop on Instagram

Implementing slightly out of the box design ideas in your home doesn’t have to be challenging or expensive. It’s about using creativity to create the space you want. Have fun with it (design is meant to be fun after all!) and please share any of your own ideas below in the comments. I’d be eager to hear them.

BY Kate Arends - April 8, 2022

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August 18, 2020 8:52 pm

Love, love and love some more your creative examples. Thanks for sharing and I’d love to do something like that in my house.

August 21, 2020 12:44 am

Fanstastic inspiration

August 25, 2020 8:36 pm

I super love the painted walls you shared. It’s so unique and I’m definitely inspired to try that in my home also. I’ve also never thought about putting like a low-profile shelf before, I guess I’m going to try that as well. I super love your ideas! Thank you so much for sharing them.

September 9, 2020 11:41 am

These are some great ideas! Your ideas for painting part of the wall, the floors, the high/low decorating – it is all so funky and amazing! I just love it!

October 29, 2020 7:06 pm

Your ideas inspired me a lot to make changes in the interior of the house. By the way, I wrote a research paper on the effect of wall color on a person’s mood. Now I want to use my knowledge about it. First of all, I will change my home office.

October 23, 2021 2:56 pm

The low-shelf idea can work well with large books too – textbooks, for example, impossible to toss out because they’ve run your life for years.

April 10, 2022 12:13 pm

Love, love everything. Just lovely, original ideas that make your home yours.

May 27, 2022 7:51 pm

I love the green velvet sofa. Can you tell me where I can buy one? Thank you!

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