New Paint Techniques, Products and Tips

Walls account for the largest surface area inside your home.  Make an impact with paint—one of the most fun, forgiving and affordable decorating tools you’ll find! 

Texture-based Design
Subtle is the new chic.  Instead of an accent wall that is covered in a busy wall paper or a bold colour such as red, here is a modern idea that is easy to live with!  Purchase the same colour of paint in two different finishes: flat/eggshell and glossy.  Paint the wall or walls in the eggshell finish.  Let the paint dry completely then use stencils or painter’s tape to plan a design.  It can be as simple as polka dots, squares, lines, or you can purchase laser-cut plastic stencils to create more complex geometric shapes, flourishes, etc.

Apply the glossy paint inside the stencils or edges of your tape.  The glossy finish will reflect the light in contrast with the flat underneath creating a lovely, subtle effect.

If you want to make the design more noticeable, mix a small amount of metallic paint into the glossy paint.  Shimmering silver looks wonderful in cooler colours such as gray.  Gold and copper work well with paint colours containing warm yellow and brown undertones.

Another way to make this design stand out is to choose a slightly different colour for the glossy paint.  Tread carefully as too much variation can create an overpowering look. 

Tip: Tape a small construction level to your stencil as a reference to keep your design straight.  A level is a tool with a bubble of air suspended in fluid.  When the bubble is centred, the level is straight.   

Gradient Design

Do you have a spirit of adventure and a narrow wall needing the wow factor?  Consider painting a gradient.  Imagine a lakeside cottage with a feature wall that starts with medium blue at the bottom then progresses to a very pale blue at the ceiling.  The affect is like looking at the sky before sunset. 

To create a gradient, you will need four cans of paint in varying shades of your chosen colour.  Have all of your paint in trays ready to go and covered with a damp cloth or plastic.  Start at the bottom of the wall with the darkest colour.  Working horizontally, paint the bottom quarter of the wall.  Next, without cleaning your roller, dip into the second darkest colour.  Place your roller just over the line where you finished off the first colour.  You will notice as you go back and forth that the lines begin to mix.  Add fresh paint to the roller and work up until you are half way up the wall.  Continue this process with the remaining two colours.

It is a good idea to have a small paint brush on hand to fix any drips.  This project also benefits from the next tip, which is paint extender.

Secret Weapon of the Pros: Paint Extender

Using a roller or a brush, it can be challenging to create a smooth finish that is free of lines or ridges.  That’s why professionals commonly add extender such as Floetrol to the paint.  It is not a thinner but rather a conditioner that extends the ‘wet edge’ of the paint, giving you time to create the look you want or correct the mistakes you’ve made.  Products like this are also very helpful when using spray guns.  The extender improves the flow of paint and helps the gun last longer.

Before you try a new design or even repaint your walls in their current colour, consider these steps to prepare the wall for a professional-looking outcome:

Prepare the walls

Over the years, dust, finger prints and oil from candles and cooking can coat the surface of your walls.  Cleaning the walls to remove this will help to give you a flawless finish.  Fill a bucket with warm, soapy water and two tablespoons of white vinegar.  Dip a rough sponge into the water.  Scrub a small section of wall then dry with a clean cloth immediately.  Continue along the wall until the whole surface is clean. 

Next, fill any dents or holes.  Use filler that is suited to the wall surface.  Typically, it will be drywall, which is gypsum plaster pressed between two thick sheets of paper.  There are numerous types of inexpensive drywall filler, including tinted options.  If your walls are wood, choose wood filler. 

Press the filler into the hole so there are no air pockets.  Apply extra so that it bulges out slightly; as filler dries, it can shrink.  Once the compound is completely dry (see the manufacturer’s directions) you can use fine sand paper on a sanding block to get a smooth, flat surface.  If you were to paint directly over the filler, the spot could look noticeably dull because the filler absorbs paint.  To avoid this, apply a thin layer of primer before painting.

Tip: To protect window frames, baseboard and other areas you don’t wish to paint, press a good quality painter’s tape tightly down around the edges using a putty knife.  Be sure to remove the tape within a week to ensure that it lifts off cleanly without leaving behind a sticky residue. 

A fresh coat of paint, whether it is dramatic or plain, can do wonders for a room!