Understanding Specialty Painting Techniques

Photo credit: Miki Duisterhof, Country Living

So you’ve got a gorgeous color…but still something is nagging that you could be doing more with your room. Specialty painting techniques are a painter’s best friend—they add dimension of color, texture and depth to your room, all by just how you apply the paint. Understanding specialty painting techniques will make it easier for you to communicate what you want to a painter in the right lingo—or narrow down your DIY search.

There are the tried-and-true classics and also some exciting newcomers, popular with DIY bloggers and decorators. The trend now is to use these specialty painting techniques instead of wallpaper—typically more cost effective for you—and altogether more show-stopping for your guests.


With stenciling, your options for creativity are endless! Stenciling when you place a cutout design against the wall and paint over it—once the paint dries and you peel back your cutout, you’re left with a gorgeous design (see in the image above here). And with the advent of Etsy, so are the places to shop for them. In this striking image from Country Living, the editors chose the Rockin’ Roses Damask Stencil, $69.95 from Royal Design Studio. The key to using a stencil is not overloading your paint roller and lightly applying the paint, the last thing you want is a splatter. Move slowly and do not skimp on good painter’s tape, it makes all the difference.


Understanding Specialty Paint Techniques

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore


According to Benjamin Moore, sponging is perhaps the easiest technique to master. You don’t have to be exacting and let’s face it, it’s just fun! Sponging is great for shabby-chic looks as it gives the walls a delicate appearance. The technique relies on careful prep work (the painter need to make sure everything is totally clean), applying a glaze and lightly dabbing with a sponge in a random pattern.


Understanding Specialty Paint Techniques

Photo credit: Bliss at Home


Paint stripes are classic and a great style to enhance the look of a small space in your home, such as a bathroom, entryway or mudroom. Horizontal stripes make a room seem bigger, vertical make your ceiling look higher. Pair like colors like blush and creme for a sweet, subtle look. Or, go bold by pairing opposites like navy and starched white. Try different widths and heights for a modern look.

Understanding Specialty Paint Techniques

Photo credit: Maison Decor


Created by moving a dampened, wrinkled cloth into paint glaze then pressing randomly across a wall surface. Your painter will rinse the rag regularly so that there isn’t a buildup of paint. Ragging gives a vintage look, perfect for traditional decor.

Understanding Specialty Paint Techniques

Photo credit: New York Interior Designer Mendelson Group via The Creativity Exchange


Strie (stree-AY) is a gorgeous paint technique that imitates fabric, wall coverings and tiles. It’s the double whammy—you get texture and depth because it involves using two different shades. Strie is accomplished with a base color, then a top glaze color and the effect is created with a long brush with bristles. This is definitely not something you want to try yourself as it needs a professional painter’s touch.

Which do you want to try in your own home? Tell us below!

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