Easy Wall Painting Techniques for a Bathroom

by Sharon Penn
Using a dramatic color on the bathroom walls can give it a fresh new look.

Using a dramatic color on the bathroom walls can give it a fresh new look.

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A bathroom can present a totally different look with some simple painting techniques. Just changing the color of the walls can turn the bath into a spa-like atmosphere, a feminine retreat or a masculine oasis. Some faux finishes are surprisingly easy to apply with dramatic results. Stenciled borders and tone-on-tone stripes are other painless way to give the bathroom a fresh new style.

Color for the Bathroom

The easiest way to create a new look for the walls in the bathroom is to choose a fresh color for a mood makeover. Some colors can suggest the feeling of a private spa in the bathroom. Blues, greens and a combination of both in aqua colors can be reminiscent of water, an appropriate choice for a bath. These colors can create a soothing effect and turn the master bath into a comfortable retreat. While color in the master bath is designed to calm and sooth, formal powder rooms can be painted with bolder and darker colors. This is because as a general rule people don't spend as much time in the powder room as they do in the master bath. The guest bathroom can accommodate a more dramatic wall color, like deep red, gray or burnt orange. If you use dark colors in the guest bathroom, make sure to install enough lighting.

Dramatic Faux Finishes

Using a faux finish to paint the walls in a bathroom can be a striking but easy way to remake the bathroom into a space with high visual impact. While some faux finish techniques like Venetian plaster can be a little tricky and might be best left to a professional painter, other faux finish techniques are easier to apply. For a "stipple" effect, use a light-colored base coat and a sponge to paint over it with a darker color. Another easy finish is a porcelain crackle for an antique or rustic look. A crackle finish can be achieved by using a basecoat, a crackling agent and a topcoat.

Painting Stripes

Painting stripes on the bathroom wall is another easy technique that yields dramatic results. Use painter's tape to define the stripes, and paint on the stripes with a roller. Choose the design and paint colors. For a small bathroom wall, stripes of less than six inches are recommended. Vertical striping is popular, but there are other choices. You can use horizontal stripes or even stripes in a chevron pattern. A safe and elegant look is to alternate stripes of the same color in different paint finishes, like eggshell and semi-gloss. Or, you can use two tones of the same color to create a tone-on-tone effect with an eggshell finish for both paints.

Painting Stenciled Borders

To create a painted stencil border on the bathroom wall, use painter's tape to attach the stencil a few inches below the ceiling. Use a pencil to mark a dot where the pattern repeats to help you reposition the stencil. Paint with a stubby stencil paintbrush by lightly dabbing the brush into the paint and paint all sections that use that color. Using a stencil for a border on your bathroom wall can give your bathroom an individual and impressive look. You can ask a professional at the paint store or possibly the stencil supplier for custom color matching so your stenciled border will blend with existing colors on the walls, ceiling and fabric. Borders come in a wide choice of patterns and images, from traditional "egg and dart" and tapestry repetitions to exotic and intricate carving designs and scrollwork.

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