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Find paint techniques to match any home decor

Elvis Elvis

You can design beautiful walls with creative paint techniques. It’s the foundation for a fabulous vintage style home.

There is a lot of ability to be creative with paint and no end to the number of different paint styles and methods available to the do-it-yourself home decorator.

Here are some of the paint techniques that work best with the decorating styles listed in this site. In some of these methods, you’ll begin by applying a base coat in one of your select paint colors and allowing it to dry for two days. Then you will apply the faux painting technique.

Find paint techniques to match any home decor

Colorwashing is a paint technique that is easy to do and creates a look that is rustic and informal. The basic technique is to apply glaze over the dry base coat in a contrasting color in a scattered, crisscross pattern leaving areas of the base coat exposed. Keep in mind that if you use multiple glaze colors you’ll create a more interesting pattern on your wall.

Ragging creates a look of crushed velvet. Over the dry base coat, apply a contrasting glaze color and with a wadded up rag and press into the glaze with a slight twisting motion to create the pattern. Again, apply two different glaze colors for a more interesting effect. For the rags, you can use regular cotton rags or painter’s plastic.

Distressing is a wonderful paint technique that creates an old world look on wood surfaces. It works very well on wood surfaces. Once the base coat is dry, the surface is sanded down to remove portions of the base paint, thus creating the “age-worn” look. This one is easy because there is no glaze to apply, unless you want glaze. The distressed look is dependent on how much sanding and how much paint you want to remove.

Venetian plaster is a thick plaster type paint that is applied on the wall in a diagonal motion. No base coat is needed and no paint brushes are used, it’s applied with a trowel.

Another thing to remember about venetian plaster is that is very difficult to have the plaster blended into a darker color. Because it is so thick, the color is more difficult to blend. Best to stick to lighter colors for venetian plaster. Check with your local home improvement store for guidance on paint colors.

Pickling is an airy, informal look, perfect for a lighter color scheme. This technique puts a thin, glazed layer of stain over unfinished wood. The effect of this method is that the glaze is so light, the wood stain shows through and creates the look of lightly stained wood grain.

Sponging is another easy method of creating a beautiful wall. Glaze is applied over a dry base coat with a damp sea sponge. Firmly blot the damp sponge on the wall creating a lightly flecked effect.

Rag rolling is similar to ragging with a slight “twist.” You will apply glaze over a dry base coat with a cotton rag that is twisted, rather than bunched up. The effect will be a more wavy, horizontal pattern than regular ragging.

Fresco colorwashing is slightly different paint technique than regular colorwashing. Before applying the base coat, the wall is troweled with a thin layer of joint compound. This created an uneven, old world look. Once the joint compound is dry, the base coat goes on. You will then proceed with applying the glaze just as you would do in colorwashing.

Stippling is a technique where base coat is allowed to dry, then glaze is applied. The glaze is then removed with a light, stroking motion with a stippling brush. The effect is subtle, but elegant. It’s perfect when just a little texture is needed.

Dragging creates a thinly striped pattern on a wall. Once the base coat has been allowed to dry, the glaze is applied with a firm, dragging motion down the wall to the floor. To achieve a lighter look, you can re-drag the area again until the look you want is achieved. Again, dragging more than one glaze tone will add to the effect.

Rubbing is a technique similar to ragging, but instead of “dabbing and pressing” the glaze onto a dry base coat, the contrasting glaze is applied in a circular, rubbing motion. There are actually two techniques here, “rubbing on” and “rubbing off.” To rub on, apply glaze lightly over the base coat with a circular motion. For rubbing off, apply the glaze with a paintbrush and proceed to rub the excess off with a circular motion.

Striping is a more difficult technique to master, but well worth the effort. Once the base coat is dry, you will measure out the width of the stripe you want and section it off with painter’s tape. Then sponge on the glaze with a dabbing motion to the non-taped area. The result is spectacular!

Stenciling is another more complex faux painting technique, but it’s beautiful. Over a dry base coat, you will actually paint over a commercially prepared patterned stencil in a contrasting glaze. This gives the wall a look of wallpaper, without actually being wallpapered. This is great for bathrooms, where wallpaper can be impractical.

A word of caution about stenciling…it’s extremely hard to do over modern texture coated walls. Much better on flat surfaces. But if your walls are texture coated, sand them down as flat as you possibly can before beginning the project. Test on a small, inconspicuous area first, to see how the stenciling comes out.


Being a do-it-yourself decorator, I’ve looked everywhere for information on decorative paint techniques and creative ideas…including the internet. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of the information out there is geared toward getting you to sign up for costly classes to learn how to create a faux finish, decorative paint style or apply venetian plaster.

I firmly believe that these techniques can be mastered without the need to invest in expensive classes. If you have a well written, easy to follow manual on the subject, you’ll be able to master almost any paint technique you can think of on your own.

And if you’re concerned about making a mistake, start by practicing on a large piece of bristol board. Bristol board is a sheet of heavy duty paper that can be purchased at any art supply store. Practice on the bristol board until you feel comfortable enought to attempt the project.

Keep in mind that painting mistakes can always be corrected with a little touch up. And when it comes to vintage decorating, a lot of the “shabby chic” appearance contain natural imperfections, anyway. So, why worry about being perfect or exact? Nobody will know about the imperfections in your newly acquired paint techniques…except yourself!

Here is the best information on decorative paint techniques and faux finishes that I have ever found. This is the book that I have used for my own home and where the listed techniques are explained in clear, concise detail.

This is the best guide yet for creating faux painting techniques. Required reading and highly recommended!

And when thinking about the art of venetian plaster or other plaster finish techniques, this book gives extensive information on the subject of plaster that is invaluable for themed decor.

Another easy reading source book that will give you all the information needed to create beautiful venetian plaster walls.

The most important thought to remember is be creative and have fun! These books provide the tools and know-how necessary, but you provide the imagination required to come up with beautifully unique paint techniques.