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Pictures of Sponge Painting Walls in My Mother-in-Law's Bathroom

Updated on May 29, 2017

Portion of sponge painted wall with mirrored reflection

Portion of bathroom
Portion of bathroom | Source

Faux Painting

Sponge painting my mother-in-law's bathroom transformed a very dated look into something more contemporary.

My husband and I were in a retail store one day when a portion of the store was being painted and then ragged. The woman doing the ragging (a faux finishing technique) explained how she was accomplishing the project as to the thinning of the paint and how she handled the actual ragging process and we were watching her while she was actually doing the work.

After seeing the end result, I thought that I might try doing it. We had painted many a room and the outside of our house while living in Wisconsin (for that matter) so were very familiar with painting.

Faux finishing was just a new way of applying paint to get a different type of look.

Sponge Painting in multiple colors

Before and after sponge painting photos

Before picture of bathroom
Before picture of bathroom | Source
After picture of bathroom
After picture of bathroom | Source

Current trends

Faux finishing of walls was fairly new when my husband and I offered to do some repainting of walls at my mother-in-law's home in San Antonio. She, unlike us, did not spend her time looking at newly constructed homes.

Often there are newer subdivisions which have a Tour of Homes.

Completely decorated with furniture and accessories and open for viewing for a specific time frame, the ticket prices to go through the homes are given to a specific charity. Thus one can have a good time while also helping a charitable cause.

The homes are for sale as is the furniture and the designers are usually on hand to talk to the people if they have any questions. The builders are also there to discuss their custom homes with potential customers who may wish to learn more details about that specific home that they are viewing or to learn about having that builder construct a different one for them.

It is a good opportunity for the builders and designers to possibly pick up new customers for their services.

As just a form of entertainment for the vast majority of people attending a home tour, it is also an easy way to stay abreast of new trends.

Faux finishing of walls with various techniques has been popular now for many years and we saw numerous examples of different treatments and unique effects brought about by the use of nothing more than paint while we were attending those home tours.

Sponge Painting (Looks like this guy is having fun!)

More before and after sponge painting photos

Before picture in bathroom
Before picture in bathroom | Source
After picture in bathroom
After picture in bathroom | Source
After picture in bathroom
After picture in bathroom | Source
After picture in bathroom
After picture in bathroom | Source

Ragging and Sponging

As a gift to my mother-in-law my husband and I offered to repaint her living room many years ago. She was delighted!

She would have hired someone to do it for her but she also knew that we were accomplished at doing that task as she had seen the results in the houses in which we had lived. Thus she felt confident in the eventual outcome of the new look.

However...she had never heard of ragging.

On one short wall in her living room, I offered to rag the wall to offer a contrast to the rest of the room.

This was the first time I would be practicing this new technique since viewing it in that store with my husband!

She was dubious but trusted my sense of style and artistry.

We also assured her that if she did not like it, we would repaint the wall to match the she had little to lose.

Moving the upright piano away from the wall, I began the ragging process after the first background coat of paint had dried. My husband was helping with the regular painting, but I would be the one to do the faux finishing.

Now I will admit...for someone who had never seen the end result of such an endeavor, it does look a bit crazy especially in the beginning of the ragging process.

My mother-in-law took one look at it and to say that she was dubious was an understatement!

The color was only a few shades lighter than the background wall color so would be a muted look that only gave a hint of a difference when dried. When I saw her trying to evaluate whether she liked the look of the wall in progress, I reminded her that when it was dry...if she did not like it...the wall would be repainted.

That gave her some confidence to let me continue that first of what would become many ragging and faux finishing projects ahead in not only her home, but my mother's home and ours as well.

Mission accomplished!

My mother-in-law truly liked her newly painted and decorated living room and it drew many compliments from her friends and relatives. She even invited her next door neighbors in to see the ragged wall because they also had never heard of that type of painting.

When that living room turned out to be such a success, we offered to transform her very outdated bathroom into a more modern look by sponge painting it.

By now, she had more confidence and with the assurance that it could also be repainted if she did not like the outcome, we proceeded to take that old wallpaper off of the walls.

Once again, she really liked the new fresher look and was inspired to purchase a new blind and curtain for the window treatment.

A new shower curtain completed the look.

Before and after pictures included in this post tell the story better than mere words.

How to sponge a wall

How to add decorative painting to any room - The Home Depot

Have you ever faux finished a wall or other object?

See results

Cloud Sponging Technique (Something a little different for making cards, etc.)

If you can paint a wall, you can faux finish a wall.

Google the many sites which offer information or "how to" videos. Visit paint stores where you can pick up literature as well as supplies which make the projects easier and understandable.

When we watched that lady ragging the wall in the retail establishment many years ago, she thinned the paint she would be utilizing to rag the wall with about 9 parts of water. Using a broad paint brush she stroked the paint onto the already painted and dried wall and it immediately began dripping. Using her crumpled rag she started dabbing it in different directions. Each stroke applying new paint was applied in random patterns as was her hand using the ragging technique.

Most videos suggest using glazes instead of water. Water works just fine depending upon the look one desires.

If one desires a bit of a shine as the undercoat, use a gloss or semi-gloss paint. Want that look on top? Use a flat paint as the first coat and use a semi-gloss to rag or sponge paint.

A quart of paint goes a long way when sponging or ragging because of thinning it out with water or glazes to various consistencies.

Don't be afraid to try these techniques for yourself. The cost is minimal and the impact can be as subtle or as strong as one desires. Do try it out first in a small area to make sure you like it.

Experiment with the paints. You are in total control! Try a darker look over a lighter base coat or vice versa. Try multiple colors.

The dried look is always different than when it is still wet. So keep that in mind and allow for drying time when testing the colors you think you wish to utilize.

Oh...and DO finish one entire room (or if doing one wall...the entire wall) at one time. It is sometimes hard to blend an area once completely dried with a new wet one. I learned that the hard way and had to re-do an entire room one time starting from scratch!

My mother-in-law was delighted with the sponge painting I did in her bathroom those many years ago as well as the ragging done on her living room wall. Are you inspired to faux paint a room for someone in your family or faux finish one of your own walls?

Have you ever entertained the thought of sponge painting a room?

See results

Where my mother-in-law lived at the time...

A markerSan Antonio -
San Antonio, TX, USA
get directions

© 2010 Peggy Woods


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      It is amazing what can be done with faux finishing techniques. I once marbilized some gourds and have also done some ragging and other painting techniques. The effects can be quite beautiful.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      A faux finish can be amazing in its effect and there are so many different ones. They can be used on so many different surfaces and materials. I've done a lot of painting over the years but never tried this. I was going to put a faux marble top on a table, but I never got to it. Had everything to do it with . . .

      Voted up, BUI, posted to FB, pinned to my 'Art & Interior Design' board, and will share on HP.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi RTalloni,

      For people who have never seen the final effects of faux finishing, when one just begins to transform a wall, it is hard to imagine the end result. At least that was my mother-in-law's reaction. She ended up loving her new sponge painted bathroom and the ragged living room wall. Thanks for your comment. :)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      It is amazing what a sponge and a little paint can do! The story of your mom-in-law's initial dubiousness makes me smile because I've seen narrowed eyes many times. :) The effects can be endless as shown in the videos you've included. Neat stuff!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Charlu,

      That was now many years ago when I did that sponge painting of my mother-in-law's bathroom. I have ragged quite a few walls in several people's homes and faux finished one at my mother's home actually using dried stalks of a firecracker bush. It ended up looking like wallpaper! Really pretty! Thanks for your comment on this hub as well as your votes. :)

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 5 years ago from Florida

      I love sponging because it's never the same. I love the BR and have an accent wall in my bedroom that is almost the same. I've never heard of cloud sponging and am definitely going to have to try it. Voted ups across the board on this one.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

      My mother-in-law loved the transformation of her bathroom after I had sponge painted it. I kept it in color tones that she liked. Glad that you enjoyed these pictures and thanks for the comment.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Peggy, you did a beautiful job. Sponge painting can brighten a room and make it seem larger. I like the colors you used.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Tony,

      Sponge painting or ragging or a myriad of other faux finishing techniques certainly can transform a room for very little money. Thanks for the comment.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      Fascinating - and what a wonderful way to paint a wall! Must do wonders for dull and uninteresting rooms.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Love and peace


    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Micky,

      I don't know about the wonderful part. I was merely happy to transform my mother-in-law's bathroom with some sponge painting. Ragged her living room and also did some faux finishing at my mother's house, our house, and helped a friend in her kitchen do the ragging. That was a few years ago. The nice thing about it is that it is only paint which does not cost a fortune. So if the effect is not what is desired...more paint can solve it. Thanks for the comment.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      You are so wonderful! I love your work and all your kindness. God bless you Peggy!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello TurtleDog,

      I agree with you. After sponge painting or ragging or using some other faux finishing technique, a few other cosmetic changes can really update a room. Thanks for the comments and votes.

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 7 years ago

      Great painting technique. I've done both. Your pictures tell a better story than I can though. Hang the right decor after using these techniques and it really creates a great room. Thanks! Voted UP! Very useful.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello DavidLivingston,

      Glad that you found this hub about the Pictures of Sponge Painting walls in my mother-in-law's bathroom of interest. It certainly transformed that room! Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      DavidLivingston 7 years ago

      That seems pretty neat! I like it, very good and interesting. Thanks.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi billyaustindillon,

      Faux finishing techniques like ragging, sponge painting and more can really create great looking walls and objects. I once met a woman that did almost everything she had including the garage floor to toilet seats and lamp shades. Although that might seem to be a bit much, it was well done. I haven't been inspired enough to tackle the garage floor. Ha!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      Very impressive - my wife has used the technique on a desk she did - looks fantastic looking like an antique. You did a super job in your mother in law's bathroom. I need to revisit some of these techniques.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Journey,

      Glad to hear that the video was helpful. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this sponge painting hub.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 7 years ago from USA

      Hi Peggy W., this seems like a great technique. The ragging a wall video was helpful. I love the pics. Thanks for sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Ethel,

      My mother-in-law really liked the change after being sponge painted also. That wallpaper may have been popular at one time but it looked very dated when we decided to re-do the room. Thanks for the visit.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      You did a great job Peggy. It looks classy and calming. It was pretty before but a bit "busy"

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi reddog1027,

      Good luck with your move and good luck with your sponge painting or other faux finishing of your walls when you are ready. When you just might want to take before and after pictures and write your own hub! :-)

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA


      I have bookmarked this hub. I will be relocating and most homes that are up for sale have such boring walls.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings borge_009,

      Happy to have introduced you to new ideas about painting...things like sponge painting and ragging. There are many other techniques as well which can transform the look of a room for the cost of paint. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi agusfanani,

      Knowing how you like to redo things so creatively, you will enjoy the effects of sponge painting and/or ragging. You can even use them on projects other than walls! Let me know how you do with it...I'll be interested. Thanks!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings suny51,

      Happy to hear that you liked this sponge painting hub. Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi jill of alltrades,

      My mother-in-law truly loved that sponge painting and ragged walls when she still lived in that home in San Antonio. She moved over here to Houston for the last years of her life. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • borge_009 profile image

      borge_009 7 years ago from Philippines

      I have never realized this technique will work. I love the designs. great job on this hub.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 7 years ago from Indonesia

      I really have to admit that it's something new for me. I have some walls at home which need repainting and I think I can try this on them. Thanks for sharing, Peggy W.

    • suny51 profile image

      suny51 7 years ago

      i love to watch paintings with unique ideas.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 7 years ago from Philippines

      Wow! This looks real nice! I'm sure your mother in law loves her bathroom!

      Thank you for sharing this technique Peggy.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi habee,

      It is amazing what sponging or ragging or using one of the many other faux finishing techniques can do to transform or decorate a room when painting. Thanks for the comment.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      My oldest daughter did this in her bedroom. It looks great!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi katyzzz,

      Yes, my mother-in-law's bathroom before and after pictures really show the change. A little sponge painting made a huge difference in the look. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello nikki1,

      My mother-in-law really liked the end result of the sponge painting in her bathroom as well as the ragged wall in her living room. Have a picture of the rest of her living room, but not the ragged wall. That is why it is not shown in this hub. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Wonderful hub, the changes are amazing, they look great.

    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 7 years ago

      Great job. I love the design.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Greetings Hello, hello,

      Let me know if you try sponging or ragging techniques in your home. It is an inexpensive way to transform the look of a room. If you don't like problem! Paint over it! That is the beauty of this. You can really get creative once you see how easy it is to accomplish.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello kowality,

      That would be fun to see the different effects those painters can accomplish for the filming industry. There are so many techniques that can be utilized besides sponging and ragging which was shown in this hub. I used a dead branch from a firecracker bush to create an amazing look at my mother's house. Actually looked like wallpaper. Maybe I should show that in another hub? Thanks for your interesting comment.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      That is amazing. I am glad you wrote this hub and showed all the techniques. Great idea. Thank you.

    • kowality profile image

      kowality 7 years ago from Everywhere

      Nice Hub Peggy. I work with scenic painters in the film industry and they are amazing at fooling everyone. For the most part, we can get away with some pretty good looking finishes like you've outlined here.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi dahoglund,

      Ha! I agree that painting is no longer the easy job it was when I was younger, alas! Think with a few aches and pains to follow, I could still yield a roller and brush and tackle some faux finishing projects like I used to do. In fact I have been considering ragging a guest bathroom for some time now. Thanks for the first comment.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I'll admit I have never even heard of these techniques. Although I enjoyed painting when I was young, I find it more of a challenge now. I'll have to think about these new things and how they would work for me.Good to know about.