Strong graphics and geometry are very popular nowadays, which means that painting circles, swirls and stripes is a sure way to be trendy. Some people divide the wall into geometric shapes, such as squares or triangles, and paint the shapes in different colors.
Large, stylized flowers and other stencils are popular too. Another category of trendy painting tricks are free patterns achieved with techniques like sponging, ragging, etc.
Stripes may be, arguably, the most widely used painting technique. Horizontal stripes make a room appear more spacious; vertical stripes make the ceiling appear higher. Alternating flat and glossy stripes, can add perceived dimension to a room. You can create constant or varied width stripes. And depending on your design, execution will be different.
Let’s look at how it is done in a general case.
1. Select and purchase the color or colors and decide on location of each.
2. Prepare the surface to be painted (fill in holes, sand, clean, and dry).
3. Now, you have a choice to either paint the entire wall one color and paint only stripes of different color later. Or paint stripes of one color first and of the other color(s) later. Note: with the last method you are saving on paint but will invest more time and effort and it will be more difficult to get clean lines.
4. Using a level, mark boundaries of each stripe. Be very thorough here. Take your time and draw VERY STRAIGHT AND LEVEL (unles you do diagonal stripes) lines. We recommend making stripes between 4” and 12” wide, so that they are not too busy or too heavy.
5. Put painter’s tape along the lines of stripes that are going to be painted (on that side of the line that is NOT going to be painted now). Press the tape firmly.
6. Paint the stripes going over the edge of the tape to seal it. Remove the tape pulling away from the freshly painted area.
7. If you chose not to cover the entire wall with a base color, you need to wait until the stripes dry completely and then retape and paint.
Another trendy painting technique, related to striping, is ombre painting. Ombre wall painting technique is a special way to gradually transition color on a wall. This gradient style of wall painting results in unique room and is great to express your individuality. See the picture below showing ombre technique used to paint the exterior of a home.
So, this is how to create ombre effect:
1. Don’t rush into painting.
a. Proper planning and preparation are essential. Decide on what you want to achieve: gradual fading or abrupt lines, variations of the same color or different colors, direction of fading, etc. Plan how you are going to achieve the effect, including marking the wall at the transition points. If you are creating ombre stripes (hard transition lines), see the instructions on painting stripes. Don’t forget to prepare the surface to be painted. We cannot stress it enough that proper preparation is a must.
b. Select colors. For variations of the same color, purchase the main shade and enough white paint for mixing to cover the target area. If using different colors, try to choose fairly similar hues. Do not use contrasting colors as it will not produce the desired result.
c. Fade from top to bottom, from bottom to top, from side to side, etc. Just do not transition towards the center (meaning at the same time from top and bottom to the center) because it will make the room seem smaller and can be visually unpleasant.
2. Paint the starting section with your main color up to the transition line.
3. Mix the main color with some white paint until it is noticeably lighter. Paint the second section.
4. Take a dry brush and smooth the transition line blending the two colors.
5. Add more white paint (about the same amount) and pain the next section. Blend the transition with a clean brush.
6. Keep working in this manner until the target area is painted.
Here is another example of ombre technique. Notice, how smooth the fading is and its diagonal direction.
To achieve the same gradual transition, dilute paint as suggested in step 3 and keep the fading rate constant.
In the next article, we will continue reviewing painting techniques and will discuss more complex methods for creating interesting, trendy surfaces.