As we enter the new year, we want to start fresh. From our habits to our homes, this is a time to reinvigorate our routines and embrace the new. Changing up or adding a touch of color to your walls is an easy, cost-effective way to give your space a new personality and bring the spirit of the new year into your everyday life. But you don’t have to stop at slapping a new color on your walls—various painting techniques can help create an environment that is both new and inviting. Try out these techniques to add a new dynamic to your living space this year.

Color Washing

chair and planter near window in a tuscan themed roomGive your walls an aged, rustic feeling by using the color washing technique. Start by applying a base coat of the desired color to your wall, and follow up by using a brush, sponge, or rag to apply a second layer mixed with a paint glaze. Apply the paint in circles—like you’re “washing” the walls. The result is a faux-aged wall that works well for rooms with a Tuscan or rustic theme.

Combing (Strié)

Add texture to your walls with this faux-fabric painting technique. Combing, as the name suggests, is a technique that involves using a comb or a brush to add lines to your wet paint so that it finishes in a pattern that mimics fabric. Brushes add subtle lines, while combs add a bold set of stripes that can imitate linen or wood. Both create a texture that helps give a room a subtle, modern feel.

Dry Brushing

section of a dry brushed wallDry brushing is another technique used to evoke a feeling of texture in a room. To dry brush your wall, apply a small amount of paint to your brush and create a herringbone or chevron pattern. It helps to use similar shades of the same color to enhance the effect.

You can also use dry brushing to give your chosen color a subtler effect. This version requires you to dip a brush into your chosen paint and then strain most of the paint out of the brush. The result is a faint, muted backdrop.


For those looking to imitate the dramatic lines in a cut of marble, the smooshing technique will do nicely. Simply apply your glaze mix to a wall (making sure not to let it dry), and place a plastic sheet on top of the paint. Then, remove the plastic sheet when the paint is dry. The natural lines created by the sheet should mimic the ever-coveted look of veined marble.

If you’re inspired to transform your space, know that there’s more to a new paint job than the color you put on the walls. These painting strategies will help you incorporate even more of your personality into your living space, bringing both you and your walls into the new year with new attitudes.