Try something new for a different look

Painting a room usually means pouring paint into a tray and rolling it on for a flat, one-dimensional look. Break free from the ordinary and try one of the top five painting techniques that will transform the drab into the fab with little investment in time and money. With these easy techniques, your room will look like a pro did the job. No one has to know it was you, a few bucks and a weekend.

Overlapping squares. Simply tape off random squares in various sizes on the wall you’re about to paint—as large as 48 inches. Thin the paint or glaze with a clear glaze extender. You’ll need four layers in four different but compatible paint colors. Once squares are taped off, you will use the glazes to apply a thin coat to the squares. Let the first layer dry before taping a second layer of squares. Repeat the process until you have at least four layers of random, overlapping squares. Try using a sponge or rag to pounce the color onto the wall for a mottled and interesting appearance. The Family Handyman offers additional details on this technique.

Watercolor stripes. Using a similar thinned-out glaze, tape off vertical stripes. The stripes can be straight or wavy for a natural and organic look. Instead of layering squares, this time you will be layering stripes. Four layers will look the most interesting, particularly with contrasting colors like grays, taupes and beiges, or whatever combination you prefer. Be sure to allow the coats to dry in between layers to avoid paint smearing. Try a metallic paint for an unusual and exciting finish.

Wainscoting diamonds. Wainscoting is inexpensive and easy to create with painting techniques. Simply tape off the lower third of your wall. The height is truly up to you, but chair rail or plate rail heights are most common. Within the taped-off wall section, tape off additional sections in a diagonal diamond pattern. Apply a glaze-thinned paint in each diamond shaped section. Randomly change the paint colors to show off the pattern best.

Sea-sponged walls. One of the easiest and most exciting ways of adding color to your wall is to sponge paint the wall with a natural sea sponge. Start by painting the wall a base color. Once your base color is dry, use a dampened sea sponge to add another color paint or glaze to the wall by gently patting the sponge in random places until you achieve the desired look.

Faux grass cloth. Unlike the additive methods above, this method is about subtraction. Paint a base color on the wall. Select a second color and add the clear glaze extender. When the first coat is dry, apply the second. A paint roller is the best technique for quick coverage. Before the second coat is dry, drag a broom with natural bristles gently and evenly down the wall in vertical strokes. Wipe the broom off and repeat until the wall is covered. The broom subtracts the top layer of paint to reveal the base color underneath. The effect is much like a grass cloth.
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