10 Decorative Paint Techniques for Your Walls

creative painting techniques illustration

Illustration: The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

If you feel like your design has grown stale or outdated and could use a refresher, look no further than your walls. With the seemingly endless list of creative painting techniques available today, it’s easy to completely transform the look of your room without adding clutter via extra decor or encroaching on your square footage. The following ideas are all you’ll need to give any room in your home a fresh and inviting vibe, no matter your aesthetic leanings or style sensibilities.

  • 01 of 10


    stenciled wall

     Greg Natale

    DIY enthusiasts, this one’s for you. Wall stenciling is a simple and easy way to add sophistication and intrigue to your space without the cost of hiring a professional. All you need to do is order the stencil that strikes your fancy and spend an afternoon giving love to your walls. And if you're stuck for ideas, the internet is overflowing with stencil inspiration, including these designs from Royal Design Studio.

  • 02 of 10


    harlequin wall

    Linda Ahman 

    The classic harlequin wall pattern will instantly add life and movement to your room design, and it can work just as well in the kitchen as it does in the primary bedroom or a nursery. Choose colors with subtle contrasts for a more sophisticated look, or opt for higher contrasts in bold hues, like this look from Linda Ahman, for a more vibrant and contemporary feel.

    About This Term: Primary Bedroom

    Many real estate associations, including the National Association of Home Builders, have classified the term "Master Bedroom" as discriminatory. "Primary Bedroom" is the name now widely used among the real estate community and better reflects the purpose of the room.

    Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to make The Spruce a site where all feel welcome.

  • 03 of 10


    metallic wall

     Casa e Jardim

    For a truly show-stopping update, it doesn’t get much better than metallic paint. The beauty of this idea is that there are a million and one ways to apply it. You can paint your entire room a metallic hue to make a stylish statement, or you can apply metallic accents for a more layered look, like this space by Casa e Jardim.

  • 04 of 10


    striped accent wall

     Style Me Pretty

    Stripes are a timeless decor staple that will always look fresh and never go out of style. Plus, there are limitless ways to incorporate them. Thin, subtle stripes will add quiet texture and visual intrigue while big and bold contrasting stripes, like these from Style Me Pretty, add abundant visual flair.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Polka Dots

    polka dots

     The Homes I Have Made

    If you’re not incredibly DIY-inclined but are committed to updating your room on your own, then try adding some interior pizazz by way of polka dots. They couldn’t be easier to apply and they’ll instantly punch up any space they’re in. The unique dose of happy-making whimsy they add makes them especially well-suited for a child’s room, like this example from The Homes I Have Made.

  • 06 of 10

    Color Wash

    color wash

    Maria Vous 

    Color washing is a beautiful paint technique that adds texture and depth to a space. And it also happens to be fairly easy to apply. You’ll start by coating your walls with a satin base paint, then use a large brush to paint over it with a nice glaze. Whether you opt for a vibrant color-washed wall or a more neutral one, like this from Maria Vous, your room will most definitely be more dynamic.

  • 07 of 10



     New England Home

    Strié, which is the French word for streaking, refers to a paint technique that creates horizontal or vertical lines for a look that resembles linen material. It’s a stunning way to add warmth and texture to your space, as evidenced by this vibrant look from New England Home, and it will blend seamlessly with any style sensibility.

  • 08 of 10

    Rag Rolling

    rag rolling

     How Did I Do It

    Rag rolling is just as it seems—it’s a painting technique that involves rolling a rag up and down wet, painted walls to add texture and depth, like this example from How Did I Do It. What’s particularly nice about this idea is that it’s subtle enough to be applied to any aesthetic without encroaching on the overall design.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10


    sponging a wall

     The Family Handyman

    Sponging is another painting technique that’s just how it seems: It involves using a spongy paint roller or literal sponge to add dynamic texture, like this space from The Family Handyman. It’s quite easy to execute and doesn’t require any specific painting skill or expertise, so it’s a great project for the whole family to participate in.

  • 10 of 10


    checkerboard wall

     Classy Clutter

    Painting your walls with a checkerboard pattern will add plenty of life and style to your space while eliminating the need for added decor. Even better, there are infinite ways to do it. You can paint checkers in similar neutral colors for a subtle, textural effect. Or, you can make a stylish splash by opting for bold contrasts, like this space from Classy Clutter.