Many of my clients and friends have recently moved into a new home and still others are looking at their homes and wondering how they create a fresh look. The most impact you can make on a room come from two changes, flooring and walls. Those two elements create the backdrop for your furniture, your decor and your fabrics. While the work involved in changing these two elements seems overwhelming it can be done with a little planning. Now I have to admit, I have not embarked on changing flooring. I leave that to the professionals to install but I am concerned with the material, color, texture and the overall decorative tone that the flooring creates. So for this blog we are going to focus on the walls.
While there have been some changes to the basic walls that are installed by builders, such as bullnose, round corners, some archways, most have not changed in forty years. There is a desire for open floor plans, interesting feature walls and fireplace surrounds.
Everyone has different preferences in tiles, paint colors, textures or even a lack of any texture. Most of the people I have spoken with lately are wondering how they can bring interest to their walls by doing something other than painting a single color.
One of the lost arts in almost all homes is the art of wall texture. Now before you remind me that textured walls are hard to clean let me tell you that is no longer the case. The industry has come a long way in wall finishes and even the most textured wall can be cleaned easily with the right combination of products.
Today we will focus on texturing a wall. There are several ways to achieve a textured appearance. One is by applying wall texture (of course), you can also use products like venetian wall plaster or you can bring the look of texture to your wall by various faux painting methods.
WALL TEXTURE - For those of us who never outgrew the desire to play in the mud, this is the most fun of all. Yes it is a little messy and it takes practice so that you can achieve a uniform style of texture but that is the fun.....playing, shaping, and trying again. If you have never worked with plaster, wall texture or stucco, I suggest that you buy a small tub of wall texture (premixed) find a flat piece of wood or drywall, a trowel and a putty knife. Take some of the wall texture and put it on the board, moving it around with a trowel or putty knife and create designs. If you don't like it, swipe it flat and start again. Higher moisture content will cause the wall texture to shrink and crack so do not add water. If the product you are working with starts drying out...let it. Start in a different place with more texture. By allowing it to continue drying you can see what the product looks like dry.
Here are some examples of texture styles:
As you can see there are many different texture styles from simple trowel work to intricate and artistic designs. You can use roll on texture if you want to give it a try. I have found it to be the messiest way to apply texture and I always end up troweling the texture in the end to soften the "nipples and bumps" left by the roller. You can also see how texture changes the richness and feel of the room. Here are examples of how texture and paint can transform a room:
(click to enlarge)
As you can see, I did not use one single color to create these walls but three complementary colors layered for effect. The texture on the wall allows the base color to begin creating the dimension by only covering the high flat places. The base color is applied by brushing out the ceiling and edges and filling in the rest of the wall with a roller. Be sure to start with the darkest color in your color selections on the wall as the base color. I add Floetrol (a glazing agent) to all the paint I use and extra Floetral to the accent colors and the final wash of color. The addition of Floetral is what makes the paint colors go on in layers (be sure to let the base dry for at least one hour before adding the accent colors). With a very wet linen rag that is crumpled in my hand I begin hitting the rim of the textures with the second color in my selected palette creating depth. I add another color using the same method except that I focus on large flat places adding a splash of color. The final wash of color that is applied to the entire wall is with the lightest color in your chosen palette, a dripping wet linen cloth and paint that is 2/3 paint and one third Floetral. You can pour out a small amount of paint from your paint gallon into a plastic container and then mix it with the floetral as it does not take much paint to wash a wall. Make sure to keep your rag WET by dipping it or running it under water. it should always be drippy. The final wash does not have to get into all the nooks and crannies but it is used as a wash over all the applied paints to bring them together and soften them into a final finish. This takes practice so I suggest you use your texture boards and sample paints. Play with color, play with applications and play with the thickness of paint. You will find the design you like and then you can start on your wall. Remember to let your sample projects dry before you judge them as paint color changes after it has dried for 24 hours. You will also notice that the floetral glazes the wall which makes the wall easy to clean even if it is textured. Don't forget the drop cloths and if desired you may want gloves as you will have paint all over your hands. Play in the mud, get paint all over your hands - Create!