Backdrop’s Co-Founders Share 9 Ways to Create Architecture With Paint

Turns out miracles do come in a can.

April 8, 2022

Stromboli Chess Club, the newest Backdrop color, frames the brand’s cofounders, Natalie and Caleb Ebel, in their Los Angeles studio.

Nicole Mason

Where some may consider paint a finishing touch, Natalie and Caleb Ebel see it as an indispensable tool in any decorator’s problem-solving arsenal. Since founding hyper-curated, climate-friendly paint brand Backdrop in 2018, the Los Angeles–based couple has made it their mission to prove to even the most color-shy that a few strategically placed brushstrokes can reshape a room, magically adding wainscotting or turning a square door frame into an arch. “When you’re looking to add detail or adjust the feeling of existing architecture, paint can be one of your most powerful tools,” says Natalie. “It can change how light enters, conjure different styles or push a room’s aesthetic in one direction or another.”

Still not convinced? We asked the Ebels to round up some examples of high-impact tricks that can totally transform a space with nothing more than a colorful sleight of hand. You don’t have to bring anything to the table aside from a serious application of imagination and some strong hues. So go ahead and grab a paintbrush— the graphic ceiling or the eye-catching doorway you’ve always dreamed of are just a few strokes away.


    Supersize It

    Simple shapes that go big and bold amp up the visual interest in the sitting room of Lenny Kravitz’s Brazilian fazenda. Get the look with Backdrop paint in Supermoon and After Hours.


    Graphic Design

    A sense of whimsy gets graphic (in a good way) in this room Sarah Sherman Samuel created for her son, where stripes radiate around a simple light fixture. Get the look with Backdrop paint in Lawn Party.


    Liner Notes

    Instead of the expected ending, Rome’s Studio Strato extended a racy red up onto the ceiling and used it to delineate the doorways. The shelves are edged in a surprising cool blue, giving the passageway Op Art prominence. Get the look with Backdrop paint in Lipstick on the Mirror and The Early Stuff.


    Urban Greens

    Like a visual version of surround sound, every surface of this New York City breakfast room by Giancarlo Valle is swathed in a calming bath of color that expands and amplifies the space. Get the look with Backdrop paint in Weekend Upstate.


    Colore Amore

    Using wide stripes that encompass the ceiling, Filippo Carandini gives a featureless blank box in a 1950s Milan building a whole new dimension. Get the look with Backdrop paint in Ghost Ranch, Palo Santo and After Hours.


    Glass Half Full

    Color-blocked walls don’t have to be dramatic: Grisoro Studio used a quiet blue- green to add subtle depth to a kids’room (and let the wallpapered ceiling—in Binary by Porter Teleo for Schumacher, available at fschumacher.com—take center stage). Get the look with Backdrop paint in Skywalker.


    Check, please

    Designer Tim Veresnovsky decked out the doorway of this St. Petersburg, Russia pad with a checkerboard arch that adds Bauhaus precision. Get the look with Backdrop paint in Harvest Moon and Dark Arts.


    Shade Shifter

    Playing with shadow and light, designer Pierre Yovanovitch layered similar shades for a dramatic mood that makes the most of simple architectural details. Get the look with Backdrop paint in Negroni and Self-Portrait.


    Sunny Disposition

    This brilliant yellow behaves like a magic eraser, effectively hiding the unsightly architecture overhead while highlighting the height of the room. Get the look with Backdrop paint in Pablo Honey.