Inexpensive DIY Painting that doesn't Look Cheap

Choosing to handle the painting in your home yourself rather than hiring a professional will already save you a ton of money. If you're a beginner, though, you might be worried about your paint job looking cheap. Faux painting doesn't have to be done by a professional to look really beautiful. Let's go over some easy and inexpensive painting techniques that look really high-class.

Taped Patterns

If you're really inexperienced with painting, taping off a striped pattern is one of the easiest and most elegant wants to paint your walls, and you can't get much more inexpensive! Start by picking up some painter's tape (you'll need more than normal), as well as at least two colors of paint.

What colors should you use? As a rule of thumb, the most elegant look is when you choose two colors from the same family. This does not mean that you have to be subtle. Pick a paint chip that you like and choose a lighter or darker color from the same chip as your accent. If you're really feeling adventurous, branch out to other paint chips, but remember that really contrasting colors can look overwhelming in a room.

Next, determine whether you want horizontal or vertical strips and how you want them to look. Vertical strips that are all the same size sometimes can put you at risk for a circus-tent look, depending on the colors you are using. Instead, create a pattern with the size of the strips. As for horizontal, you can always choose just a single strip in the room, or you can do multiple stripes, varying the size if you want.

Prime the entire room and then tape off the sections to paint, keeping in mind that you'll probably want to use two coats right away. Stripes aren't your only option. You can also create colored blocks or otherwise be creative with the tape. Not feeling that adventurous? Think in terms of walls, varying the colors there instead of stripes, or go for bold color that contrast with your trim.


Colorwashing is just as easy as creating finishes with tape, but the result is very soft and pretty, giving you a worn stucco-like finish. The down side here is that you'll need to purchase a finishing glaze, but on the plus side, you probably only have to do one coat of paint, so you'll save money that way.

To create a colorwashed look, start by priming and painting the wall as you normally would. Unless you're using or painting over a very dark or bold color, you should only need one coat. If it isn't perfect, that's ok! Let that coat dry completely.

Then, use a new brush to stroke on the glaze in a crisscrossing motion. There's no need to be perfect here. Work with a dry brush, only dipping the very tips in the paint, and move quickly. As soon as you are done with the wall, go back to the start and pat over the glaze with a damp rag. This will soften the brush strokes a bit.


A really fast way to make your walls look cheap is to use a quick sponging technique without the right products or colors. When sponging first became popular with homeowners, it seemed like everyone was cutting up their kitchen sponges and redoing their walls. The result is typically a really amateur look.

So how can you sponge like a professional? First, think about your paint choices. Instead of choosing two paint colors, pick one color and one glaze, like you did with the colorwashing technique. Stay in the same color family, avoiding really deep contrasts like orange and blue. If you do want contrast, think about what color you'd get if you mixed the two together, because that's how your wall will look from afar. For example, a golden wall with red sponging will give you an orange look, which could be pretty, but if you use purple instead of red, you'll get a mottle brown-gray look, which is not as nice.

Make sure you're using the right type of sponge as well. You don't want a kitchen sponge. Instead, purchase a sea sponge from a craft store. This will give you a more natural look.

You have two sponging choices with the actual technique. With sponging on, you paint a base coat and then dip the sponge into the glaze to apply it to the wall. Often, however, you'll get better results with a sponging off technique. Lightly roll on the glaze and use a damp sponge to remove some of it. If you remove too much, you can always roll on more, but with the sponge on technique, it is harder to fix the problem if you apply too much.

Other Types of Paint Finishes

If you're willing to spend a little more money, you can also purchase paint specifically made for certain finishes on your wall. For example, there are metallic paints, textured paints, and even paints that look like suede or leather if you apply them correctly. You don't have to spend a ton of extra money to have great results. Taping, colorwashing, and sponging are techniques that look great even though they are inexpensive.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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