Walls and their (Stylish) Non-Traditional Paint Jobs



We’ve often heard that paint is the number one way to make an impact in a space for not much money. I agree with this completely – paint provides an immediate communication of the feeling you want your space to have. In addition, it’s an inexpensive and relatively easy thing to change out for a fresh new look. This is especially true when you use paint to make your walls more than a solid layer of color…when you use paint to turn your walls into almost an art form.

Here are five ideas for using paint in a non-traditional non-solid way on the walls in your space. And the good news is, you don’t have to be an artist to achieve an artist’s look.


Abstract swirls – These hand painted, tone on tone swirls add movement and elegance to this fairly dark corner. The natural light coming through the window here illuminates the beautiful, large swirls particularly because of their paint colors (done in shades of platinum, somewhere between silver and gold). As a bonus, with large-scale loose forms like this, your accessories can (and should be) very few and very simple to let the walls do the talking. Consider doing full circles of varying sizes for a slightly more structured but still free-moving look.


Stripes – Wall stripes have been around for a while now, and the look is timeless. Not only do the stripes resemble wallpaper, but they are extremely versatile: you can paint them horizontally, vertically, diagonally, wide, narrow, and varied. You can use multiple colors or even the same color but in different sheens. For more subtle stripes, choose similar colors; to achieve a bold and dramatic look, go with significantly contrasted colors. For me, wall stripes are an instant pick-me-up in any space.

Ombre – Taking the idea of painting stripes one step further, consider using a stripe format to introduce ombre gradients of color to your space. In this breakfast nook area, the gradient begins at the ceiling with white and works slowly, in equally spaced stripe widths, down to a warm grey tone. The look is effective in transitioning from an airier feel to a warm-colored floor, and it adds a fresh, unique vibe to the space. (As does that fun pop of red chair!)


Stenciled design – Perhaps you have an oddly shaped wall, or a wall that for some reason is awkward to “dress.” For example, the angle of the stairway on this wall makes it a challenge to add artwork or other wall hangings, but the homeowners wisely chose to use paint via a mid-sized stencil to create artwork directly on the wall. The impact is impressive, and the stencil adds an important and beautiful element of pattern in this space that might have seemed an awkward layout. I find this serene space lovely.


Diamonds – And last but not least (is your creativity piqued yet?) is this example of wall painted diamonds. So fun, so visually interesting, the walls speak for the entire room…allowing other components to benefit from simplicity. This is a more time-consuming paint job, however. First, you’ll need to paint the entire wall with whatever is your lighter color, then after drying you’ll snap chalk lines and tape it off, and finish by painting the darker diamonds. This pattern is more playful, but I think the neutral colors here are tasteful and keep things from being too garish. What a fun space!

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.


Published by in Interiors, on February 14th, 2013

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