How to Texture Paint: Give Walls an Artfully Rough Look

If the goal of most interior paint jobs is an even, uninterrupted backdrop devoid of bumps and brushstrokes, the idea here is something else again. Like an Abstract Expressionist painting, this wall has movement and visual texture. “The idea was inspired by old chateau walls with layers of paint and plaster, and by lime-washed walls and Venetian plaster,” says Annie Sloan, the British decorative painter and entrepreneur who details this project in her most recent book, Annie Sloan Paints Everything (CICO Books).

Her No. 1 trick involves a humble tool: Call it cardboard meets canvas. “Cardboard is soft and doesn’t make scratchy marks, yet is still firm to hold,” Sloan says. It does absorb paint, however, which means you need to swap in a fresh piece every 5 to 10 minutes—one way to repurpose that pile of boxes from Amazon.

All told, it’s a satisfying, clever endeavor, whether the end result covers a jewel-box powder room or a dramatic accent wall. This step-by-step shows how.

The paints used to achieve this look: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in cream-colored Old Ochre (base coat) and Old White (final coat), with blends made from Duck Egg Blue, Louis Blue, Old White, and taupey Coco.

Abstract Texture Painting

1. Pour roughly equal amounts

Photo by Christopher Drake

2. Work the two blues together

Photo by Christopher Drake

3. Move to the wall

Photo by Christopher Drake

4. Add a few accents

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5. Create a blue-gray

Photo by Christopher Drake

6. Smooth the layers

Photo by Christopher Drake
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