Paint techniques are often forgotten when it comes to decorating homes. We usually take a long time over selecting the paint color, when we finally get it we want to start decorating straight away!

But before you go any further, have a look at all the different ways you can use paint. With all of the methods shown here, you'll probably need to experiment a bit to get the finish you want.

These techniques are often referred to as 'Faux painting', because they often simulate surfaces such as wood or marble.


A glaze is a transparent finish which is added on top of the main wall color. The effect is to make the finish look richer, and with more depth.

  • If you tint the glaze with a hue from the same color family as the base color, the result will be to deepen the tone.
  • If the glaze and base color are different, the result will be a completely different color with a degree of translucence.

The liquids used for glazing are sometimes called scrumple glazes. In the past they were oil based, but most are now made from water based acrylics.



This is possibly the most popular of all paint techniques.

It involves applying a colored transparent glaze over a semi-gloss base coat, and then dragging a dry brush through it before it dries. Using a semi-gloss paint as a base coat stops the glaze from sinking into the surface. It's easier to use a broad brush than a narrow one as this enables you to get the dragging done quicker.


paint technique marble

You can get some amazing effects by using different paint techniques.

The marble look to this wall is probably not something a beginner would want to attempt, but with a bit of experience and practice anyone could do it.

Likewise, the wood furniture in the foreground may look aged, but it has been skillfully painted to achieve this finish.



Stippling is one of the paint techniques which is often used with dragging. For example, you can use dragging for wood surrounds and stippling for the main panels on walls.

As with dragging, you apply the tinted glaze to the base color, and then remove the glaze with a special professional stippling brush. (You can buy these at specialist paint stores, or online stores.) If you want a more muted look, then use a large sponge.


If you're a beginner, then both dragging and stippling are best done by two people, one to apply the glaze and the other to use the brush or sponge. (These are known as subtractive techniques - the glaze is put on, then some is removed or subtracted.)

Ragging is an additive process, and so is easier to do on your own. You use a rag, piece of fabric or hessian, cheesecloth or tissue paper, and apply the glaze with the rag bunched up in your hand. The texture of the cloth determines the result.

You can also go back over the surface if you want to emphasize the effect.

There's an easy way to find colors which work for your room. It's something which many professional decorators know about.

The Shortcut to Perfect Paint Colors - Paint Color Cheat Sheets



Lacquering is very ancient process which originated in the Far East. It's most often used on furniture, but you can also use it on walls. To do this the walls have to be absolutely smooth.

This is the most time consuming of all the paint techniques.

Why? Because to get the best results you have to apply up to 40 coats of lacquer, and each coat has to be buffed and burnished with a wire wool pad before you can apply the next coat.

But the good news is there are ways of using lacquering on walls which don't take up so much time. Phew!

One way is to put on two or three coats of an oil based flat or semi-gloss paint. Then apply a couple of coats of thinned down eggshell or high-gloss varnish. Or, you can apply a number of coats of tinted glaze over a base coat. Then varnish the surface to protect it and give it added depth.


fresco paint finish

Certain paint techniques work particularly well if you want to achieve a rustic or old world look.

Styles such as Tuscan lend themselves to paint finishes, or if you want to simulate the effect of frescos.


Click here to find out more about interior wall colors.


Crackle glaze and craquelure

On old painted furniture you'll often see cracks where the paint has aged.

Crackle glaze imitates this effect. You can buy crackle glaze ready to apply to your walls. Crackle glaze paint techniques tend to look better when used on smaller areas.



This was a favorite of the early American settlers. Stenciling originated in China 5000 years ago.

Just as with other paint technique, stenciling gives you a great deal of scope for creativity. You can match shapes and motifs to details in curtains, throws and other patterned items. Or make up your own from combinations of stencil designs.

Stencils often look good when used in a regular way, such as in horizontal arrangements to imitate a border. Or a group of stencils in opposite corners.

Stencils look best when you use soft and slightly uneven colors. If your stenciling looks too new or plain, rough it up by rubbing with wire wool, or apply a thin wash of off-white emulsion, or glaze.


Using different techniques for faux painting isn't difficult. The best way to start is to use a wall in a room where it doesn't really matter what happens. Then just have a go.

Practice the technique you've chosen until you feel reasonably confident, then you can use your new skill in the room of your choice.



Return to Interior Wall Decoration

Return to Home Page