By Dorrie Ruplinger
I think decorative and faux painting techniques look great,
fun to do, and add a personal statement to a room. Iíve been
adding my personal look to the walls in my homes ever since my
husband and I purchased our first ďfixer-upper.Ē
When I first starting using faux and decorative painting
techniques on the walls in our home it was a financially
motivated action. We didnít have a lot of extra money. I
couldnít afford new furniture or flooring for a room but I
could afford to buy some paint. But just painting the walls a
solid color seemed boring to me so I started exploring faux
decorative painting. It didnít take me long to get hooked. Why
do I like faux and decorative painting on walls so much?
1) Itís an inexpensive way to change the look of an entire
room. Paint is the most economical way to change the look of a
2) A painting technique on the walls minimizes and hides
cosmetic flaws such as surface cracks and less than perfect
3) Itís easy to change when youíre sick of it. Repainting a
room that has paint on the walls is a whole lot easier and
less time consuming than stripping wallpaper off walls and
preparing those walls for paint.
4) It adds your own personal look and style to a space. Color
and texture are fun and interesting. An entire home painted
same off-white color is dull and boring to me. A faux painting
technique can evoke any mood you want in a room whether itís a
Tuscan look, retro 70ís look, a country look, something
elegant, a cheery bright look for a childís room, or any other
look you want.
5) The choices of techniques and paints are nearly endless.
Some of the more popular technique choices include: sponging,
ragging, dragging, color washing, stenciling, crackling
marbling, gilding, wood-graining, spattering, feather-dusting,
and stippling. You could also use one of the specialty paint
products on the market today such as Venetian plaster to
the look you want or buy a faux painting kit such as a Woolie
painting kit to help make your project as fun and easy as
While I highly recommend faux or decorative painting, there
a few things Iíve learned since Iíve started faux painting
Iíd like to share with you. Some of these items are things to
ďnot doĒ that Iíve learned the hard way. Others are tips and
suggestions that were helpful to me.
1) Go to your local paint store or decorative painting store
and look at the samples they have. For example, Home Depot has
lots of different booklets and paint chips with faux paint
finishes on them for you to look at and even take home to look
at in your lighting. That pretty metallic finish on a paint
chip in the store make look garish when you get it home and
look at it in your homeís natural lighting.
2) Consider taking a class before doing your first project.
Some paint stores and home improvement stores, such as Home
Depot, offer free faux painting clinics and workshops. You can
also find some very good faux painting classes for a
fee by looking in your local paper or doing an Internet
3) Practice your technique on a piece of scrap wallboard
doing it on your wall. This is especially important if you are
blending colors. A few years ago my son wanted his bedroom
painted. He wanted me to use a Woolie (a great faux painting
tool available at most paint supply stores) to blend together
burgundy and a caramel color. Each color looked great by
but when they got blended together too much a dark fuchsia
emerged. And anything resembling pink was not something my son
wanted on his wall!
Because I had been faux painting for years I didnít listen to
my own advice about trying the technique on a piece of scrap
board first nor did I buy sample sizes of paint to try out. I
bought gallons because I wanted to save time. Luckily the
agreed to exchange the paint for me free of charge but we did
have to paint over a wall and wait for it to dry before
starting over with new colors.
4) Remember that the texture of your walls will dictate, to
some extent, what faux painting techniques you can and cannot
use. If your walls are smooth you can do just about any
technique you want. But textured walls are very common,
especially in newer homes. You may see striped walls in a
brochure or on a sample wall and decide thatís what you want
do in your home; but if your walls are textured itís going to
nearly impossible to achieve straight lines for your stripes.
Keep in mind that faux finishes on paint chips from a store
done on a smooth surface. They will look a little different
may still look very nice) if you do that same technique with
same colors on a textured wall.
5) If youíre going to do a faux technique in an entire room
donít start on the wall that people will first look at when
they walk into the room. That means donít start on the wall
directly across from the doorway. Unless youíre a
it takes a little while for you to get your technique
in a room. Put that less than perfect start in the least
noticeable part of the room.
6) If you get tired while painting and need a break, donít
in the middle of a wall. Stop at a corner. If you stop in the
middle of the wall and donít come back to work on the project
again until after the paint is dry, youíre going to have a
noticeable line on the wall. It wonít be pretty.
7) Think twice about mixing your own color with paint you have
at home unless you are absolutely positive youíre going to
enough paint to do the entire job. If you mix your own color
run out of paint before you finish it will be time-consuming
challenging to match that color. You might be able to match it
because many paint stores have specialty machines that can
match a paint chip you take in, but if youíve mixed together
two different sheens of paint (for example letís say you mixed
a flat paint and a satin paint together) youíre going to have
hard time reproducing that same sheen. In some cases it may
be noticeable; but in other cases it will.
If youíre a beginner, start with an easy paint technique.
Sponging is very easy and looks great. Another favorite of
is the Woolie I mentioned earlier. There are a couple of
different types. I like the Woolie roller best. Itís really
easy to use and the results are fantastic. It comes with a
short video. Watch it before you start painting. If youíre not
going to watch the video before you buy your paint, thereís
important thing to remember. Buy paint colors that are at
two places away from each other on a paint strip. For example,
if you pick out a paint strip with 5 yellows on it, donít buy
two colors that are right next to each other because they will
be so close in color that you wonít see much variation when
put those colors on the wall and start to blend them.
About The Author: Dorrie Ruplinger is a featured writer for
www.decorativepaintingzone.com. For more information on
decorative painting and faux painting visit