When it comes to small tools with great impact, few painting accessories can compete with a template. To make one, simply draw a shape on heavy coated paper or flexible cardboard, cut it out, place it on the wall, and outline it in chalk, as if drawing around a cookie cutter. Repeat. Once you've outlined your whole design, put the template away and paint freehand right over the chalk. Here, a tailored bedroom in minimalist shades of brown, bronze, and ivory got a welcome infusion of color and pattern with the help of two templates, three cans of paint, and a small brush. Atlanta-based decorative painter Brian Carter loosely based the design for this accent wall on a Moroccan tile, then added a twist. "Blowing up the pattern keeps it from being fussy," Carter says, while the wavy, diamond-shaped stars it creates and the way it's interrupted by the ceiling and corners keep it from appearing too rigid. Bronze dots, dabbed on with the same brush, add a graphic touch to the pale blue-and-cream scheme. For the how-to, read on.
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    Tools List

    • chisel-tip paintbrush
      Paint brush and roller for the base color
    • chalk line
      Chalk line
    • wooden yardstick
      Yardstick for the grid
    • Pencil
    • scissors
      Scissors to cut out the templates
    • artist paintbrush
      ½-inch artist's brush to paint the pattern
    • grout sponge
      Damp sponge to erase any errant chalk or paint marks

    Shopping List

    1. Flexible posterboard

    2. White school chalk

    3. 1 gallon of latex paint
    or enough for a base coat, in a pale color (We used Benjamin Moore's Palladian Blue.)

    4. 1 quart of latex paint
    or enough for the star patterns, in a neutral color (We used Benjamin Moore's Standish White.) 5. 1 small container of acrylic latex craft paint
    or enough for the dots, in a contrasting shade (We used FolkArt's Metallic Solid Bronze.)