The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

Paint Effects

Using paint effects - from colourwashing and rag-rolling to stippling and cloud effects. We show you how to do some of the simpler techniques for great results

The days of Changing Rooms are well and truly over and gone with it are the paints effects used to add interest to the walls. These days we are more likely to choose a feature wall to paint a bright colour, or we might put up some interesting patterned wallpaper. But paint effects are not just used on walls and can actually be very effective on furniture. They also work well in children's rooms, where it is nice for them to have something more interesting than plain walls to look at.

Done well, a paint effect can give the impression something is much older than it is, turn chipboard into marble or turn a ceiling into a sky. The options are endless.


This simple technique will add depth to a plain colour wall. Simply apply two coats of your chosen colour to the wall using a mid-sheen water based paint. Apply a top coat of paint thinned with a transparent glaze. Work in small section of the wall applying the glaze randomly, then spread it with a large flat brush to obtain a mottled look. As the brush is moved across the surface the glaze will be removed, revealing the colour underneath. Once complete apply a coat of clear glaze to set the look.


This technique simply adds colour to the wall using a water based paint which has been thinned with one part water. Start as above by painting the wall in the desired flat colour, then begin to rag it. Dab the rag in the paint and remove excess by dabbing on some newspaper, checking to see the effect before moving to the wall. Dab on the wall, stepping back regularly to ensure the pattern is even. This can be done in two or more colours if you wish. Different materials can be used to achieve different results, including plastic bags, scrunched up newspaper or sponges.


Perfect for ceilings in children's rooms or bathrooms, this technique can be tricky, but the results can be amazing. Start by applying two coats of a light coloured paint, then apply a mixed paint and glaze in a blue colour. Using circular strokes and working quickly, take off some of the glaze with a large brush. To create the cloud effect, use swirling strokes. This will take some practice, but the glaze can be wiped off completely before it dries if it doesn't look right.


Once again this process starts in the same way as others. Start with a wall which has been panted in the desired colour and apply a mixed glaze evenly in small sections. With a stiff brush, dab at the surface while holding the brush at a ninety degree angle. The brush tip will remove the glaze. The result will be a more even, mottled appearance than that achieved with rags.

These effects are all achieved in a similar way and it doesn't have to stop there. Once you are comfortable with the techniques you can branch out and be more bold. Try using them on furniture or even rub off glazes on corners to achieve an antique look.

Using different colours can make these techniques much more up to date that the early 90's experiments many of us tried. Just know when to hold back and when to be bold. And if all else fails, simply paint over it!