Color Washing

Another great technique for painting your walls is to color wash them. And it doesn't have to be expensive. As your color will be in the wash you just need a basic interior paint, so buy one that gives you good coverage without being too expensive. Your local DIY or home decorating store will have basic interior flat paint in white or magnolia available in 5 gallon tubs. You can even try Wal-Mart's if price is your determining factor.

Color Wash

For the color wash buy a tube of artists' acrylic paint. A 2oz tube will be enough for most paint jobs. If you choose acrylic you can mix it with water and it will dry fast. Art student paints are cheaper and are quite sufficient for the job; however you may not get the same range of colors to choose from.

If you prefer, or have more experience, you can also color wash with art student oil paints. Oil paint gives a more translucent glow but you need to mix it with turpentine or mineral /white spirits instead of water. Artist oil paints like Windsor & Newton come in a 1.25 fl oz size and as the color is very intense you shouldn't need more.

Mixing The Color Wash

Half fill a bucket with tap water and squeeze in the tube of acrylic paint. If you also add a glaze or pearl medium it will give a shimmery effect. Use a stick or even a stick blender to mix it really well, although you'll need to wash the stick blender properly before you use it again for cooking! If you use oil paint, make sure to mix it well with about one large bottle of the turps or turps substitute instead of the water.

Painting Your Walls

First, paint your walls with your base color and let the paint dry. After putting on your base paint you then literally wash your walls with color. Use a large sponge, slightly squeezed out, and pretend you are washing the wall, except instead of soap you are using paint to color the wall. You can even use a wallpaper brush to spread the color further. It is a very quick technique as you don't need to worry about matching a pattern or whether the color is the same intensity all over the wall. In fact having some places with more color and some places with less color adds to the effect!

Just A Corner

You don't need to do all the walls in a room either. You can just do one or two walls, for example bringing the color around a corner to create a dining nook, or a home office space. If your room tends to be dark, you can lighten it considerably by using for example a sunshine yellow wash, which gives a sun-kissed feeling to your room. A solid bright yellow wall might be too much to live with, but by using the color wash technique you get a softer color which brings the daylight into the room.

When you first start color washing it is much easier to use the acrylic paint as there is no horrible smell from the turps and it is much quicker to dry. However as you get more experienced you may want to experiment using oil paint as the colors are more vivid and you can layer colors on top of each other more easily. Why not experiment with the powder room or the guest room first until you get confidence. You will be amazed at the results.