12 Stunning wall painting techniques you can do

Try these wall painting techniques for your painting business or DIY jobs.

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Some people may think painting walls is a straightforward task with little variety. But there can be more to wall painting than just slathering on paint. In fact, you can explore different wall painting techniques that look amazing but are fairly easy to learn! 

Here are wall painting techniques you can try to expand your painting business or spruce up your own home. 

Painting techniques for walls

You can get by with standard wall painting with a roller, paint brush, or even a sprayer. But your earnings and the demand for painting services can only go so far. You could miss out on more lucrative jobs from clients looking for painters to brighten up a room or space with more creative wall painting techniques. 

So why not upgrade your wall painting skills and make yourself the painter that clients think of first when renovating, redecorating, or building a new room? Here are different wall painting techniques you can learn and add to your service offerings:  

1. Sponging 

Easy, effective, and attractive, sponging is also one of the most cost-effective painting techniques for walls. All you need are at least two contrasting colors and a sponge! 

This simple but enthralling painting style gives walls a 3-dimensional “texture” without actually applying any plaster or stucco. 

Here’s what you need to do when sponging on a wall:

  • Step 1. Apply a base color on the wall and let it dry.

  • Step 2. Dip a large sea sponge in a contrasting paint color mixed with glaze.

  • Step 3. Dab the paint-dipped sponge liberally on the wall. 

  • Step 4. Repeat the process with as many colors as you want.

  • Step 5. Retouch any areas with the appropriate color until you get the desired effect!

2. Color washing

yellow colour washing paint effect on wall

Photo by Mona Eendra on Unsplash 

The color washing technique is an excellent option for clients who want to give a room a rustic, weatherbeaten look. You can do this wall painting technique easily:

  • Step 1. Apply a coat of primer to the wall and wait for it to dry.

  • Step 2. Follow up with a base color and let this dry as well. 

  • Step 3. Apply a mixture of glaze and contrasting paint with a rag or sponge. Apply this with a circular motion as if “washing” the wall. 

  • Step 4. Let each layer of paint dry and repeat the “washing” step until you get the desired result.   

3. Wall stenciling

For a more unique and creative look, you can try wall stenciling. Do these steps to achieve a great finish:

  • Step 1. Make sure that the wall or area to be stenciled is perfectly smooth, level, and free from any dust or debris.

  • Step 2. Carefully attach the stencil with tape or light adhesive.

  • Step 3. Make sure your paint brush or roller only has minimal paint, then paint the area.

  • Step 4. Wait for the paint to dry then carefully peel off the stencils, then admire your work!

4. Rainbow painted wall technique

woman painting a wall with rainbow pastel colours

In this technique, you paint a rainbow accent. This is ideal for painting a kid’s room or space for any kid at heart. Make a rainbow on a wall by doing these steps:

  • Step 1. Trace a rainbow of the appropriate size on your wall with carpenter’s pencils.

  • Step 2. Paint the rainbow with your chosen colors; You can use the seven traditional rainbow colors or use any number of bright colors or shades you like!

  • Step 3. Leave the paint to dry. 

5. Ombre wall painting 

The ombre paint technique can give a space a distinctly modern look by seamlessly blending at least two colors. Pick out a two-color scheme and a third hue that can work as a transition into either color. 

red ombre wall paint in living room

Here’s how to achieve an ombre effect:

  • Step 1. Choose a light color as your base coat and paint the entire wall. 

  • Step 2. After the paint has dried, measure three equally-sized strips across your wall and mark them with a pencil.

  • Step 3. Paint the top part with the lightest color, the bottom with the darkest, and the middle part with the third color.  

  • Step 4. Make a blend of the middle color and the darkest color then dry-brush this blend on the entire length where the darkest and middle colors meet. 

  • Step 5. Do the same with the middle color and the lightest color. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you get the ombre level you want! 

6. Faux marble wall technique 

faux marble wall paint in dining area

Did you know that the right technique with a cleverly applied paint coat can mimic expensive decorative materials? Give your client the option of having a wall that looks like luxurious marble. 

Here’s how:

  • Step 1. Choose the appropriate colors to simulate marble; This is usually three colors. For white marble, for example, you’ll need gray, white, and dark gray.  

  • Step 2. Apply the three colors in uneven diagonal strips side by side, and on the entire wall.

  • Step 3. With a sponge, dab all three colors on the wall and leave it to dry.  

  • Step 4. Dilute the lightest color (usually white) and draw random “veins” to mimic the appearance of a marble slab.

  • Step 5. Dry brush the other colors on some of the veins to make it look natural.  

7. Copper patina

closeup copper patina wall paint technique, white and gold

Yes, you can learn to create a realistic copper-like patina! Replicate this effect by using a darker coat over a lighter base coat. The lighter color should also be metallic, so a bronze or copper base coat works best. On top of this, you’ll have to apply a coat of green, cyan, or turquoise. 

Here’s how to give walls a copper patina: 

  • Step 1. Apply the base coat with a paint roller and let it dry.

  • Step 2. Next, apply a second layer of the base coat but in smaller sections. 

  • Step 3. With the second layer still wet, use a dry brush, sea sponge, or muslin. Then, dab on the paint. Doing this will remove some of the wet paint and uncover part of the base layer.  

  • Step 4. After the paint has dried, apply a specialist paint patina and dab it randomly on the paint. 

  • Step 5. Leave the patina effect to reveal itself over the course of a few days—much like real oxidizing copper! 

8. Drag painting 

Also known as Strie painting, this ingenious technique leaves a stripe pattern that looks very much like real wall-covering fabric. You can make a wall look like it’s covered in denim or linen but at a fraction of the cost! Not even wallpaper can replicate this effect, so clients will call you for this valuable and unique service. 

Here’s how you can do it:   

  • Step 1. Choose a darker base coat and a corresponding glaze mixture at least three shades darker or lighter. 

  • Step 2. Paint the entire wall with the base coat and let it dry.

  • Step 3. With a paint roller, apply the glaze. 

  • Step 4. Before the glaze dries, use a Strie brush and drag it downwards vertically from top to bottom, stopping only just before you reach the floor. Do this on the entire wall.

  • Step 5. For a linen-weave look, let the paint dry after dragging vertically. Apply a new glaze but this time, drag the brush horizontally over the vertical drags. Do this until the entire wall is covered. 

9. Rag rolling technique

The rag rolling technique can be a long and tedious process, but the leather-like textured effect can be very rewarding. As this is quite labor-intensive and unique, you may find clients who are willing to pay a premium for this paint job. 

Here’s how to do this painting technique on a wall: 

  • Step 1. Apply a satin-finish paint as the base and let it dry. 

  • Step 2. Soak a cloth or rag roller with glaze and apply over the base coat.

  • Step 3. Roll the rag or cloth roller in random directions or patterns all over the wall.

  • Step 4. Let the glaze dry, and repeat until you get the desired effect.

10. Lime washing

Limewash paint is made from crushed limestone, water, and natural pigments. Some of its advantages are its quick drying time and low cost. This technique works best for porous surfaces like brick or unfinished wood. 

girl applying blue limewash paint on wall with a roller

This is another painting technique that can give your client’s wall a rough, aged look. Lime washing is easy to apply and gives a nice finish that looks like scrubbed chalk. 

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Step 1. Learn to make a limewash the old-fashioned way by taking up an apprenticeship with experienced painters or replicate it by diluting matt paint with water until it reaches a creamy consistency. 

For the former option, you can post a task on our platform to find local painters who can teach you how to do this technique. 

  • Step 2. Moisten the wall before applying the limewash. 

  • Step 3. Apply the paint to the entire wall with a roller or brush. 

  • Step 4. Apply a protective layer of latex varnish once the paint has dried. 

11. Stripe painting

Simple and timeless, stripes on a wall are a decorative element that’s easy to do and will always be in demand. Thinner stripes on a wall can give a subtle effect, while thick, contrasting stripes can provide a striking focal point in a room. All it takes is deciding on the colors, number of stripes, and layout before painting. Patterns can vary by being asymmetrical, vertical, horizontal, or diagonal. 

12. Pattern painting

Painting patterns on walls can provide a subtle or eye-catching effect. Polka dots, diamonds, stripes, or any single shape painted repeatedly can make for a unique pattern-style wall painting. Have your client choose the right color and shade for the desired effect: light colors for subtlety and dark for visual flair. Then, pencil or stencil the pattern on the wall before painting.  

Also read: 12 Painting techniques to update your old furniture

How do you paint a wall perfectly?

Here are some tips to get a perfect finish:  

  • Compute the total area that needs painting and prepare enough paint. Use the rule of 1 gallon covers 400 square feet. 

  • Strip off all the old paint.

  • Always paint the ceiling first, then the walls, then the trim.

  • Always use slow strokes. Going fast with a brush or roller will create splatter.

For a more detailed guide, check out these tips on painting interior walls

Stand out with these wall painting techniques and earn more money. 

Knowing how to do these unique and stunning wall painting techniques can get you more work as a painter. But finding clients can still be a challenge. That’s why we’re here to help! Just sign up on Airtasker to start finding local painting jobs and sending quotes to customers. 

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FAQs on wall painting techniques

Applying a coat of primer is the all-important first thing you should do before painting—assuming you’re done with all the washing, sanding, and dusting. Any paint on its own can’t adhere to a surface for very long without primer. A primer provides a uniform base that covers up imperfections on your wall like stains or patched-up areas. You’ll also need fewer coats if you use a primer. 

Professional painters paint a wall by doing lots of preparation before painting. If you want to paint professionally, you’ll need to do prepping tasks first, such as: 

  • moving furniture
  • filling holes in walls 
  • stripping off old paint 
  • dusting off and vacuuming walls
  • applying masking tape on light switches, electrical outlets, and trim

Professional painters may do one or more of these tasks before the actual painting, which involves laying down one or two primer coats and then painting with slow strokes.  

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