December 11. 2021

Decorative painting techniques for walls or ceilings

Do you want walls or ceilings with rich texture and vibrancy? A decorative finish can achieve a stunning effect—and can be calming, cooling, energizing, or invigorating. Our signature finishes combine color and texture, and guarantee a one-of-a-kind look.

Decorative painting techniques
Decorative painting has long been used to add pizzazz to bare spaces, although the techniques have come quite a long way from the Paleolithic cave paintings inLascaux, France, or the murals that embellished the villas of ancient Rome. Today, a wide range of styles and processes can enhance a room. Decorative finishes can recreate the look of stone or marble. Stenciled or hand-painted motifs bring pattern and color without the hassle of wallpaper.

If the thought of marbleizing your entire bedroom makes you nervous, consider applying a decorative finish or paint treatment to a single accent wall. Don’t limit your decorative painting ambitions to the walls. Faux finishes can also be applied to floors, furniture, and even ceilings. Some techniques will require a professional, but there are a few options for the do-it-yourself decorator.

Apply stripes or create an entire garden on your walls. The options are endless, and designers are showcasing new styles and ideas all the time. Whether you want to test out a subtle design or go big and bold, there’s an idea for you here.

Graphic Shapes

The modern, minimalist, white-walled home is a gorgeous trend, and it will stick around for a while, but I also think the bold wall patterns and graphic installations we saw in the ’80s are going to make a comeback in an updated way. I love simple wall graphics, like the giant circle I painted on the dining room wall of my old apartment.


This technique dates back centuries, but the current trend toward slab marble furniture and accessories has made it fresh again. French interior designer Stéphane Boudin of Maison Jansen famously used faux marble on the moldings of a well-known Long Island estate, Templeton. The pattern mimics Breche d’Alep marble, a complex stone used for the sink counter, covering the wainscoting and door casing.


I use a strié finish—the French word for streaking—to add texture and depth to a space. Instead of having one solid paint color, you have two different ones to give highlights and lowlights. The base coat is applied with glossy paint. Then a wallpaper brush is applied to create directional strokes and wipe away the glaze. It’s a great technique to use in an area with heavy traffic because it’s easy to clean.

Painted Floors

I love painting floors because I can develop something exciting in a relatively small amount of time. Customers sit in front of a computer for twenty minutes reviewing options, and they frequently "fight" over what looks best.