Some homeowners paint their walls a neutral color in a flat finish. On these backdrops, art and decorative items hang to serve as décor. Other homeowners prefer the paint itself to be a decorative element. They opt for textured products and faux-finish techniques.
To join the latter group, learn how to add texture to your next paint job. You can even use what you learn and apply it to horizontal surfaces, too.
Faux Finishes That Create Texture
There are two ways to add texture to your paint job: by using a textured paint or a faux-finish technique. Textured paints come in a variety of grades, from fine to a coarse, and as a premixed paint or a powder you add before application. Using a powder and mixing the paint yourself allows you to find the exact texture you want with text batches and applications. Oil-based and latex paints both accept added texture.
Faux-finishing involves applying a base coat as you normally would, then adding one or more accent colors with an object other than the traditional paintbrush. Sponges, combs and rags are among the tools used to create different textures.
Sponging-Soak a sponge in paint, wring and then randomly dab to create the desired visual and textural effect. Professionals recommend sea sponges for natural patterns and synthetic for a more uniform look. To learn how to imitate the look of marble using this technique, read our How to Paint with a Sponge to Create a Decorative Faux Marble Finish post.
Combing-Simply put: Comb freshly painted walls. Just as different sponges create different effects, so do combs, with fine-tooth to wide-tooth tools among your options.
Ragging-Soak a rag in paint, wring and then randomly roll the balled-up rag just as you would a sponge. Cotton rags work well, as do fabrics with a pattern of their own, such as lace and burlap. To learn how to create the look and feel of well-worn leather, read our Ragging Paint Technique post.
Another popular faux finish is Venetian plastering, which creates an old-world appearance with its imperfections. Because the process involves applying three layers of tinted plaster to create the distressed detail, you may want to assign application of this particular technique to a professional.
No matter which textured paint or faux finish you choose, be sure to practice your application and finishing techniques before getting started. You can purchase a small piece of drywall to test different methods on, or pick an area of the room you know will never see the light of day, such as behind a bed headboard or in the closet.
Finally, one way to add texture or a faux finish does not involve paint at all. Wallpapers come in a seemingly endless amount of options, with textured styles proving more popular in recent years. The texture can be as subtle as slightly raised swirl to velvet-like stripes and other designs. Wallpaper also works well for those who prefer less upkeep than interior paint provides, especially walls with texture that can be chipped or dinged.
Paint for Traction on Steps and Other Surfaces
While adding texture to wall and ceiling paint jobs can add beauty and interest, doing the same to steps and floors can increase safety as well. This technique typically applies to outdoor surfaces, with anti-slip additives going into floor paints and sealers used on patios and decks. The additives do not change the appearance of the paint or other product. Homeowners with in-ground pools also use anti-slip additives to lessen the chance of family members and guests slipping on the wet surfaces.