Design: Celerie Kemble and Lindsey Herod; Photo: Jessica Glynn; Styling: Liz Strong

This tip is a total game changer.

By Marisa Spyker

When we want to give a room a solid refresh, our minds often go straight to a coat of colorful new paint: Which shade am I drawn to? How far down the color card am I comfortable going? Am I more of a Capri blue or a Surfin’ blue type of person?

And while paint is important, what comes next is more often an afterthought: the finish. (Eggshell, right? Is there another option?)

Actually, there is, and it’s not as elusive as you might think. Paint, meet lacquer—a high-impact, high-gloss finish that can completely transform the look of your walls and ceilings in one coat.

Lacquered orange ceilings make a statement in an entryway.
Design: Lee Ann Thornton; Photo: James Ransom; Styling: Emily Rickard

While it often gets an ultra-modern rep, lacquer can actually be applied in a variety of settings and atop a variety of shades, with the dynamite effect of reflecting natural light from the outdoors (a major score in a sunny beach home).

Related: Paint your house this color and it could sell for almost $5,000 more:

A lacquered finish on the paint behind the latticework reflects outside light.
Photo by Max Kim-Bee; Styling by Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Lacquered surfaces can make a space feel brighter; like it’s literally glowing from within. On top of that, splashing lacquer atop deep, bold, or bright shades saturates them even more, so they’ll never look dull.

Lacquered cabinetry brightens up this condo even more.
Photo: Lisa Romerein; Stylist: Liz Strong

But lacquer isn’t reserved for statement shades. Apply the high-gloss finish over bright white, like on the kitchen cabinetry above, and it takes on a new role that jibes perfectly well at the beach. “By giving the kitchen surfaces a glossy finish, the kitchen takes on the subtle colors of the shoreline,” says architect Tim Barber.

So, who’s ready to get lacquered up?