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Faux Painting with Coastal Style

Updated on March 24, 2010

Inspiration from the Sea

Atlantic Ocean St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A.
Atlantic Ocean St. Augustine, Florida, U.S.A.
Look to nature for color inspiration.
Look to nature for color inspiration.
Sand, ocean, and sky -relaxation...
Sand, ocean, and sky -relaxation...

Bringing the Ocean Inside

Spring is finally here!  Our clocks have sprung forward, and our days are getting longer.  it is time for spring cleaning, yard sales, and trading dark winter coziness for fresh summer colors.

A great way to get a fresh summer look is to go "coastal".  An easy way to get this look is to faux paint the walls of one room with a "faux ocean" treatment, in a blend of subtle blue shades.

I painted my living room with this technique.  My husband and I have been happy with the outcome, and find the room relaxing and comfortable.  It goes perfectly with my collections of lighthouses, village houses, shells, and snow-globes, that I display year round.

In this hub I will tell you how to give your walls a "faux ocean" look.

Rounding Up What's Needed

Before buying paint, it's best to take an information gathering trip to the home improvement store. Check out the faux paints that are offered, and bring home some cards with paint samples. There are many different shades of blue to blue-green, teal and turquoise. By bringing home the samples, you can see what goes best with your furnishings, and the rest of your house. Get your family member's opinion on what looks best. Then head back to the store to pick up the paint, and other supplies that you will need.

  • Two different colors of blue latex paint. A very light shade of blue for the base, and another compatible slightly darker blue of your choice. Depending on room size, you will probably need a gallon for the base, and a quart for other blue color.
  • Acrylic craft paint in off white, and another shade of blue for accent. You can buy this paint inexpensively at a craft store.
  • "Glaze" paint. I used Ralph Lauren Interior Faux glaze tinted to a very light blue. One coat will cover, but if your room is big, you will probably need a gallon.
  • Paint roller tray, old plates
  • Rollers, brushes of choice
  • Sea sponges - available at home improvement or craft store
  • Filler product, sandpaper (only needed if cracks, holes need filling)
  • Rags, newspapers, paper towels

My ocean walls, with my shell fireplace.
My ocean walls, with my shell fireplace.
Ocean walls above an ocean painting of mine.
Ocean walls above an ocean painting of mine.

Start to Finish

  1. Clear your walls of all pictures, ornaments, etc. Clean walls to remove dirt and dust. Tape around baseboards if desired. Cover furniture for protection.
  2. Fix any cracks, holes with filler as needed, and let dry. Sand smooth.
  3. Stir your paint well, as directed before using.
  4. Use rollers to paint your room with the light base color. If your room was previously dark, this might take more than one coat. The color does not have to be completely perfect though, you will be sponging over it with more color.
  5. Put your second color in an old plate, rather than the roller tray. It will be easier this way to not get it too thick. Dab your sea sponge in this color. Practice your stroke with this on your newspaper, or a piece of paper to see if you like how it looks.
  6. When you are satisfied with how your sponge stroke looks, dab with your sponge at random over your base coat. Move your hand around while painting to get a random look. Let this color dry. Clean your sponge.
  7. Take your next blue color, and pour in your plate. Since this is acrylic paint, you can water it slightly to the consistency you desire. Practice your stroke as before. This color is an accent, and you will dab it at various points on top of your other sponge strokes. Clean your sponge as before. Let this color dry.
  8. Pour your off-white color in a plate. Water it down as desired as before. With a new sponge, dab accents of off-white around your room. Clean your sponges, and let the white dry.
  9. Follow the manufacturer's direction with your glaze paint. After stirring mine well, I used a roller tray, and rollers to apply the glaze. I used a thin coat of a very pale blue, see through type glaze.  Practice with this in an unobtrusive area of the room to see if you like the results. The glaze will subdue, and add a slight shine to your previous coats. Let dry as previously, clean your rollers and brushes.
  10. Another technique is to mix the glaze with the sponge paint, and dab it on, instead of painting the whole wall with it.
  11. Find some related décor such as ocean pictures, lighthouses, and shells. Enjoy your new room!


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    • profile image

      Geri Juen 

      23 months ago

      How did you do the shell fireplace?

    • susansisk profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Sisk 

      4 years ago from Georgia, USA

      My house has regular sheet rock walls. I am still happy with my blue living room.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks Joanna! It actually did take quite a while (probably a year?) for the house to feel fiinshed, and trust me there are STILL areas of the house that need more attention. Definitely pull as much inspiration as you can Pinterest, shelter mags, etc. to help you think outside the box and come up with creative solutions that you can apply to your space. And as hard as it is, try not to second guess yourself too much! It's decorating, not rocket science, so have fun with it and go with the pieces that you feel yourself fall in LOVE with!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm a big fan of Ryan Street's designs. He's my fatvrioe architect in Austin. I love clean lines and details that pop. Understated elegance! Your home is simply beautiful. We are in the final stages of our home (thankfully because I'm so ready to be settled) and I look forward to trying to style my home as lovely as you have yours. We seem to have very similar tastes. Im not sure if you have plaster walls but it appears that way and Im hoping to find someone who does great work with smooth diamond plaster. It would be lovely to meet you sometime to share home decorating ideas, baby fun, and running a business while trying to balance it all. My husband and I are both self-employed as well and Austin seems to be a great fit for entrepreneurs!

    • susansisk profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Sisk 

      7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Your house sounds beautiful. The good thing with faux painting is you really can't make a mistake. I would start with a light teal background, then randomly sponge the other colors, and also a cream color. Then get a light blue glaze, (I used Ralph Lauren).

      You should do a hub about your results!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      so ... i need some help!!! i have added a bathroom to the house we are building.each room is done in a different earth element. i want this bathroom to represent the ocean... it has a shower that is all tile and floors and walls (from floor up 4 ft. on walls ) are ceramic tile.the tile looks like sand color and pattern and my vision is the ocean for the walls. i picture a marine blue,a green and a brown for the water ...i just need help with how to make this come to life ...also any imput on colors would be awesome also...

    • susansisk profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Sisk 

      9 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks Ashley. You ought to try it. It is fun.

    • ashleyyoung profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      This is fascinating Susan. You are one crafty lady!

      What a creative outlet to have. Rated. :)

    • susansisk profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Sisk 

      9 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thank you. I have just always loved doing faux projects. I need to find some pictures of the faux stone wall I did in a previous house. It was fun.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      susan - I love faux painting so this was a great suggestion. Your painting is gorgeous! I am going to look through your hubs, hope you feature more of your paintings.

    • FrugallyHealthy profile image


      9 years ago from Brunswick, GA

      You are so talented, it is easy for you to come up with good ideas like these!

    • susansisk profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Sisk 

      9 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Glad you liked it. As i said before, it is fun.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      What a great idea! Thank you for this inspiring article. Well done! :)

    • susansisk profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Sisk 

      9 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks for reading. I think that faux painting is more fun than regular painting, and if you make a mistake, it is like part of the design.

    • becca7176 profile image


      9 years ago from Palm Beach Gardens, FL

      This sounds really cool. I'm not very crafty or handy so I would be scared to try it. I guess you could always paint over it if it didn't come out right.



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