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Paint effects can transform a room

Paint can do more than change the colour of a room - it can add texture, pattern and visual interest.

 

Today's decorative painting techniques are simple and sophisticated alternatives to wallpaper, and a far cry from the dated sponge painting from years past. Whether you're a painting pro or a DIY beginner, here's how you can transform a room with a few simple strokes.

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Textured techniques
Give any room impact with paint effects that add a textured effect to walls. Easy to do and requiring few supplies, they're an excellent option for new DIYers. One simple technique is simulating the texture of fabric on walls - it makes any space feel warm and homey.

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To add a more masculine feel to a bachelor pad or study, use paint to create the appearance of leather on walls - apply a mix of glaze and brown paint to walls using a scrunched-up plastic bag to give the right texture. Once it is dry, use a roller to add a layer of brown glaze over it.

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You can also use textured techniques to easily create the look of linen for a light and airy feel, or to transform your walls to seem like wood or stone for an outdoorsy atmosphere.

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A technique called combing is also great for those new to decorative painting - it's simple to do and mistakes are easy to fix. To comb walls, paint your base coat of colour and let it dry completely, use a paint roller to apply a thin layer of clear scumble glaze, and comb through the glaze with a paint comb. If you don't like your first attempt, simply apply another coat of glaze with your paint roller and start over.

 

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Sophisticated stripes

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Simple but stylish, stripes are an easy way to update your space. Vertical stripes create the feeling of high ceilings, making rooms feel spacious, while horizontal stripes add a modern, funky touch.

For a subtle look, paint two-toned stripes in neutral hues - such as cream and taupe - or use the same colour in two different sheens (i.e. glossy and matt). For a more dramatic redo, choose two contrasting colours, create multicoloured stripes or paint stripes in a variety of widths to add extra interest.

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When painting stripes, measure carefully and use a laser level (or spirit level) to apply masking tape to ensure the lines are straight. Always remember to paint your base coat with the lightest colour first since it will eventually become one of the stripes, and it is much easier to paint your darker colours over the lighter base. Then add the darker coloured stripes, in order from lightest to darkest.

To create stripes with the sharp, crisp lines you're looking for, apply a layer of clear acrylic sealer along the edge of the masking tape before painting on any colour. This creates a barrier that prevents paint bleed and helps ensure clean lines.

Contemporary chevron

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A chic alternative to traditional stripes, chevron, or zig-zag stripes, is a way to make a big impact on your room with minimal effort. Create a pattern of many chevron stripes, or go for major drama with fewer, wider stripes. Paint the pattern around the entire room, or add chevron to one focal wall.

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To get the look, use pencil or chalk to create a grid on the wall; use a level to make sure the grid lines are straight. Then, apply masking tape to create the chevron pattern, utilizing your grid lines as a guide. After the masking tape is applied firmly to the surface, paint in-between the taped design. Lastly, make sure to remove the tape as soon as you are finished painting.

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Stylish stencils
Make an ordinary space extraordinary with stencils. Nowadays, stencils are available in almost any shape and size. Buy them precut at your local craft store or online at etsy.com, or create your own for a design that is completely unique.

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Add floral or damask stencil designs for a feminine look, or go classic with preppy polka dots. Stencil a chandelier shape for instant sophistication or paint a meaningful quote to add a personal touch to your space.

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Geometric patterns, damasks and paisleys also add spice to boring walls. Some retailers even offer wall size stencils, helping you to cover a large area with ease.

Whether you consider yourself shabby chic, prefer sleek modern looks or adhere to a more traditional style, decorative painting is a simple way to add flair to any space. With just a few supplies and a free weekend, you can transform any room into a space you adore.