Paint on a wall.

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Looking for a simple way to add some oomph to an otherwise boring wall? Here’s a simple idea that you can customize to your style and need. It’s kinda like hand stenciling without the hassle of dealing with a stencil. It’s all freehand. I’m not sure where the idea came from that inspired me to try it.

This is my daughter’s room and she was looking for a nice teal/aqua color. But once painted, even though it was a pretty color, it was kinda blah and flat. I’m not into messing too much with detail stuff nowadays. I’ve painted full wall murals in the past, but those days are done for now.

Or at least until I have grandchildren of my own. If I can still see to paint when they come along.

Anyway, like I said, I didn’t waste time with a stencil I just sketched some doodles on a piece of paper to see what style to go with, grabbed a small artists brush, a slightly lighter shade of the wall paint color and got to work. If you’re not comfortable with doodling, you can find basic patterns at the library, online, or even check out fabric patterns that you like.

It was a fairly quick process. And I can totally see it done with any pattern or design. Maybe leaves? Flowers? Or even a child’s stick drawing. Taupes with a sophisticated vine pattern for a more grown-up room would be nice. The tone-on-tone adds enough interest without getting too busy. These pictures are somewhat off on color and contrast, but it’s a very subtle difference in the paint color.

What you’ll need:

  • Two slightly different shades of wall paint.
  • Paint rollers, brushes, paint tray for painting base coat.
  • A good sturdy artists brush for painting pattern on top of base coat.
    (And of course, you. Or your artist friend that owes you one.)

What to do:

  • Paint base color with one shade of paint, and let dry.
  • Paint pattern with second shade of paint. (I used the darker paint for the base color, with lighter color used for the pattern.)

It’s fun. It’s quick. And it’s inexpensive.

Let me know if you try it out. I’d love to hear what you come up with.

Do you have any wall techniques or paint applications to share?

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  1. 1


    It’s gorgeous! You are my artist friend, but alas, you don’t owe me any favors. Drat!

    Is there ANYTHING you CAN’T do? You have a secret stash of kryptonite, don’t you?


  2. 5

    emily s says

    You are SO incredibly artistic! i don’t know if I could trust myself to do it all by eye! I did do stripes on the walls in my bedroom – which ended up great, but were TONS of work … I will keep this in mind (the daring side of my may have to try it anyway)! Great job Amy!
    p.s here’s a link of photos if you want to see the stripes and all the work it was ! : ))

  3. 7


    Dear artist friend, can you please come to my house and do this in my bedroom? thank you very much. It is GORGEOUS!

  4. 8

    Maggy@ThreeManyCooks says

    What an awesome idea! LOVE IT, Amy. Love it. I will remember this for when I own a property :)

  5. 9


    I love it! I cheated with my kids room for now and bought wall stickers. My girls have bright polka dots everywhere, and my boys have blue and green trucks, cars, planes and helicopters. My room, though, is in desperate need of some paint, and this is a perfect change to just the dull, flat color. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 11

    Angie B says

    I only got to glimpse this at your house and I was very impressed. Now that I’ve seen it again (and could actually stare at it for awhile) I am even MORE impressed. I really love it! Would never have the guts/talent to do it myself though, pity. Maybe I should work on getting you to owe me… 😉

  7. 13


    Amy, will you come decorate my house? I love this. So pretty a nice little feminine touch for a girly room. I definitely do not posses the artists hand though. I’d have to use a stencil or I’d drive myself mad with it not looking right or consistent.

  8. 14

    Wenderly says

    Beeeeautiful! I’m getting ready to makeover BOTH of my girls bedrooms (did I just say that) and this is a great idea! Will keep you posted!

  9. 16


    Seriously beautiful, you make it sound so easy, but if I tried that I’d have to repaint the whole wall. I’ve been wanting to repaint my powder room, maybe it’ll give this a try since it’s a small space and I can paint over it if I screw it up. then I’ll call on a artist friend, or I’ll beg you to come visit Chicago and put you to work while you’re here. :)

  10. 19

    Mom says

    Hope’s room looks wonderful and the circles are very relaxing and inviting and look and feel even more so when you are in the room. I am amazed at how circular everything is and you did it free hand. If I did it, the circles would not look as rounded or as easy flowing as yours. Your talent again shines through. Love ya, Mom

  11. 20

    Amanda says

    Umm….that was not with a stencil? That was free hand? Okay, that is just wrong! You are amazing at cooking, photography, writing, design and now house painting? Why can’t I be you?

  12. 22


    I have already sent the link (Paint on a wall) to TH. We will try painting our new home. Thanks for the idea and inspiration.

  13. 23


    Beautiful! My 7 year old wants her room pink but this would really make a statement. I just have to get over my Type A tendencies and just ‘let loose’ and see what I can come up with. No stencil?? Eeks! Yours looks lovely!

  14. 25

    SMITH BITES says

    loved this the first time i saw it Amy . . . it’s just one of your many, many talents . . . can you just come here and paint my walls? purdy please??? i’ll cook for you . . .

  15. 27


    Wow! this is looking AMAZING! a beauty, i say.. its really elegant and teal colour is just awesome.. I wish i could do this with my walls.. :)

  16. 28

    Sue Ganter says

    Please, please, tell me what color and brand name pain that is!! I love it and want to pain my office a teal color and am having a hard time deciding. The beginning of this shows a can of Valspar paint but the color name was never mentioned.

    Please reply ASAP!

    Sue Ganter

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