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<p><em>Pictured:</em> Uneven brushstrokes add to the faux frames' vintage look.</p>

Pictured: Uneven brushstrokes add to the faux frames' vintage look.

Photo by Natalie Kadafer

When a room feels a bit chilly, period-style paneling can warm it up. So thought Christine Schmidt, a graphic designer and the owner of Yellow Owl Workshop in San Francisco, who considered installing panel molding in her bedroom—"a tall, bland box," as she describes it—but as a renter, wanted something less permanent and costly.

Her solution: mock wall frames made possible with paint and tape.

She painted the walls creamy white, then, using a 4-inch brush, added a coat of purer white; intentionally uneven brushwork allows some of the base coat to show through, suggesting old plaster.

Next, she mapped out the panels on graph paper, working around windows, doors, and the mantel mirror, and transferred the scheme to the walls using a 4-foot level, pencil, and tape.

"The tape pulls double duty by allowing you to make sure the dimensions are just right," says Christine, who filled in the lines with a silvery gray and a 1-inch brush. More light, uneven brushstrokes let the base colors peek through, for an aged patina. "A damp sponge wipes away mistakes," she says. "Overall, it's a very forgiving technique."

Pictured: Paint: Benjamin Moore's Swiss Coffee (base coat), Pure White (top coat), and Silver Half Dollar (faux frames).