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Interior Design: Decorative Paint Effects

Updated on November 16, 2015

Paint finishes

So you came to the store, selected a colour paint but have you thought about the paint finish you want to use? There are so many different types of decorative paint finishes. You can do wonders with them! Need a quick makeover? Decorative Painting is the way to go!

There are 4 main types as combing, sponging, stenciling, colour wash and trompe l'oeil. It was the main decorative paint finishes I've found, but there are more of them which I'd like to mention in short: glazes, dry brushing, dragging, sponging off, spattering, stippling, antiquing, marbling, imitation terracotta, verdigris, faux leather, stamping, gilding, crackle glaze, scumbling, block printing.


colour washing effect, color wash, interiordesign, squidoo
colour washing effect, color wash, interiordesign, squidoo

1. Apply a coat of emulsion to the wall and allow it to dry thoroughly.

2. Create colourwash by thinning emulsion paint: 1 part paint to 4-8 parts water and then experiment on a small area until you find a mixture that is both easy to work with and which creates the soft gradations of color you require.

3. Using a large decorative brush, apply the wash in random, bold, criss-cross strokes over an area of ~ 1 sq m.

4. Take a slightly damp paintbrush and go over the wash to soften the brush marks and wipe up any drips. Leave this coat to dry for overnight or at least 12 hours.

5. Repeat the technique, again working on 1 sq. m. at a time.

6. This time apply criss-cross strokes to the areas you missed the 1st time.

How to color wash - YouTube

Learn how to color wash you walls in a few easy steps. Let Sandra Kiss London of Faux Like a Pro show you how to apply this alternative paint finish to make your walls come alive.


combing paint effect, paint effect, squidoo, paint finish
combing paint effect, paint effect, squidoo, paint finish

1. Apply an even base coat to the prepared surface.

2. Leave to dry, then rub down lightly and repeat if necessary.

3. Thin the top color slightly with white spirit and brush over the base. NB. Once the paint starts to dry it can't be combed.

4. When using a fairly transparent paint (glaze) there may be faint brush marks in the surface. You can remove them by lightly dabbing the wet paint with a soft cloth.

5. Drag the comb through the wet surface to reveal the contrasting color beneath, keeping your strokes as even as possible. Vary the pattern by changing the direction of the strokes.

6. When combing is finished it is important to leave the paint until it is completely dry. If necessary, apply 2 thin coats of clear varnish to protect textured surface.

The Basic items

Paint sample guide, white paint, roller set, brushes and the point & paint is what you need for a start.

How to apply combing paint finish

The technique known as faux painting adds grace and sophistication to any room. These combing effects create rich textures and handmade detail to the wall finish, which cannot be matched by similar...

Sponging effect

sponging paint effect, sponging, squidoo
sponging paint effect, sponging, squidoo


1. Prepare the surface. Paint on the base coat. Leave to dry thoroughly.

2. Pour a little sponging color into a shallow dish. Dip the sponge in water and squeeze it thoroughly. Then dip it into the paint and squeeze to remove excess paint.

3. Lightly dab sponge over the surface. Turn sponge as you work in order to vary the pattern.

4. Recharge sponge with paint whenever necessary, testing it on a piece of scrap paper before. Restart sponging till it finished.

5. If you want to apply the 2nd sponged coat when the previous one is quite dry. Fill the gaps between prints and also overlap some to blend the colors.

Learn on how to apply sponging effect - Stylish and easy

Learn how to sponge paint with a little help from The Home Depot. Sponge painting is fast, easy and inexpensive

Stenciling - Latest trend

stencil, stenciling, paint, paint effect, squidoo
stencil, stenciling, paint, paint effect, squidoo

1. Choose your stencil attach it to the wall with masking tape or spray adhesive.

2. Apply a colour. Whether you are using a stencil brush or a spray can, the secret is a light touch.

3. With a spray can, waft it quickly and gently over the surface, gradually building up the color in subtle layers.

4. If using stencil brush, rub it on a piece of paper towel until almost all the paint has been removed from the head of the brush, then stipple or swirl it over the stencil.

5. Remove the stencil, reposition and repeat process.

Home depot shows you how to stencil

Learn how to paint vertical stripes on a wall. Vertical stripes are one of the most versatile wall finishes. In this video you will learn the steps needed to create vertical lines on your walls.

Trompe l’oeil - My favorite

Trompe lâoeil
Trompe lâoeil

1. Trace a design onto tracing paper using pen or pencil. Draw a grid over it, numbering each square.

2. Draw a grid directly onto wall, with the same number of squares, numbered to correspond with your original grid.

3. Paint wall square by square.

Trompe l'oeil video - you can't do it in one day

How to Paint Wall Murals : Composition Tips for a Wall Mural Painting. How the organization of shapes in your mural will keep the viewer's attention and using a value sketch; learn this and more in this free online painting video about wall murals taught by expert.

You might need these

Your Home A Living Canvas: Create Stunning Faux Finishes & Murals with Paint
Your Home A Living Canvas: Create Stunning Faux Finishes & Murals with Paint

Learn how to use to paint to create stunning paint finishes :)


Thanks for visiting my lens

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    • Bercton1 profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice display of decoration and interior works!

    • ehomedesignidea1 profile image


      5 years ago

      All are fun to do but I love stenciling more.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great page! Great ideas and how to's! I'M READY to paint!!!!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      LOVE this page!! Can you direct me to what stencil was used in the bedroom above???


    • LynetteBell profile image


      5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Nice effects..I like the color washing

    • lindarose92 profile image


      5 years ago

      What a great lens! I have already tried the sponging effect and the stencil one (I'm very proud of this one), the next will be the colourwashing, that red wall is really beautiful...thank you for the ideas! :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hello, can you advise me what is the best paint to paint wooden furniture? The furniture I have has a lot a burned marks.

      home décor

    • GollyGearHope profile image


      6 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      Some great ideas and good instructions. Thank you!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Interior design is a subject of much enjoyment or stress, depending on how you look at it. If you like playing with colors, textures, fabrics, furniture and spaces, interior designing can be plenty of fun.

      Toronto Painters

    • KateHonebrink profile image


      6 years ago

      Fun projects - great information!! I'll be using this lens as a reference for future jobs. Thanks much!!

    • Leilani-m profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      great post very interesting and informative. Mydeco has a lot of interesting wallpaper that look similar to these. Will have to try some of these techniques!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This post is marvelous. I love it. All are remarkable.

      Painter Atlanta

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I like this lens. it is very helpful. I can't wait to try the combing method. Thanks for this lens.

    • njg profile image

      Nancy Graham 

      7 years ago

      Great info and very well presented. Thank you!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      ubb.........super art works.congrats ,go on.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you and great videos...stencil inspiration.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens. I enjoyed it a lot and I am sure that I will benefit from it much.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice explanation of paint effects that can be used to spiff up our homes. Visited by the neighborhood Interior Design Angel and blessed today.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens!

      I guess you now have a new fan!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nice lens! I love faux painting. We're going to redo our bathroom and I would like to use at least one of these techniques. Thanks for sharing!

    • LadyJasmine LM profile image

      LadyJasmine LM 

      7 years ago

      I like the color washing effect, that's cool! :-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting and informative lens-love it!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      really a useful lens. learned some new techniques from your lens. thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My wife has mastered applying the sponging effect.

      Looks great. Looks so rich.

      She has received more compliments for here work.

      It was quite easy to do as I watched her.

      I know what you're thinking, don't go there!

      I tried, but she didn't want my help. LOL BG

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      I love faux painting! Awesome lens!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great techniques I have done several of these with great success. It doesn't take much to do if you are patient and take one step at a time. Great job!

    • odd1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Hi Desilegend

      This type of work can only be explained by video, I've been painting houses for 35 years, in and outside, but paint finishes like this only come along every now and again and should be done by some one who dose it daily it's an art and is hard to do as a one off but your videos go a long way to helping the process. I've put a hub together with some painting tips and tricks that will complement your site. Even after all my years of experience in decorating it's good to see posts like this.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great video on stenciling. Thanks for the detailed information. Nice lens.

    • davis66 profile image


      8 years ago

      Excellent info on colorwashing. Thanks!

    • desilegend profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @renee7: Thanks for dropping by again! I appreciate it!

    • renee7 profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a wonderful lens. Your videos are great, and you cover a fantastic amount of really good information. Nice lens.


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