If you’ve ever wondered how to paint a wall? This is the post for you. Here are 7 DIY painting techniques you can use to transform a room in a day.

I’m still not sure when I painted my first wall.

17? 18? 21? Somewhere around the time I discovered stirrup pants weren’t made for someone who is 5 feet tall.

I do remember my first DIY painting technique.

It was in our first house where we were living on love and ramen noodles. My decorating budget was so small you would have missed it if you blinked. I created a brick wall in a hallway with tiny painter’s tape and glaze and two colors of paint. It looked real. It looked like brick. It had depth and movement and motion. And the best part?

For $25 I COMPLETELY transformed the hallway.

I never looked back.

Over the years, I’ve painted hundreds of walls for myself and for clients.

(total aside: I used to co-own a faux finish business here in Texas.)

If you have a small budget and big decorating dreams? Painting a wall with a pattern or design or stripe? It’s the easiest way to transform a room.

And now?

Drumroll, please.

Here are my best tips on how to paint a wall and my favorite DIY painting techniques.


Q: What are the tools and materials that you’ll need?

It truly depends on the project. In my faux finish business we had tons of sponges and brushes and stencils and other painting tools, but if you are just painting a few walls in your home, here are some simple tools that you’ll need:

  • a GOOD basic paint brush (I stress good because you don’t want a brush where the bristles come out in the middle of your painting technique)
  • an angled paint brush (perfect for corners and hard to reach spots)
  • paint roller
  • paint roller extention
  • painter’s tape
  • drop cloths (I like the canvas ones that you can reuse instead of the plastic ones)
  • paint tray
  • wipes (I love to have wipes on hand to fix any mistakes I make when painting)

Q: How much paint do you need when painting a room?

You’ll need paint for the basic foundation color in the space. A really good way to estimate paint is to plan on 1 gallon of paint for every 400 feet. If you are doing a decorative paint treatment, you typically need a quart of each of the colors you’re using. It’s also important to take into account the colors you are using. For example, darker colors will require more coverage and therefore, more paint.

Q: How to prep a room for painting?

I go in-depth about this in this recent post. You will need to push the furniture into a corner of the room, take everything off the walls and dust the walls and corners before you paint. Next, patch any holes (where you’re not going to re-hang something) with spackle before you get started.

Next, tape off the wall you’re going to be working on with painter’s tape and lay down drop cloths.

Have them shake the paint at the store for you before you use it, or make sure it is well-stirred with a wooden stir stick or paint mixer before you start to paint.

Q: How much time do you need to paint a room?

It usually takes us about an hour per coat depending on the size of the room.

When planning out your project, remember that your time depends on how many coats you are painting in the space, the paint color you’ve chosen and the intricacy of the painting technique you are using.

Make sure to allow extra time for prep and clean-up, too.


I put this one first because it’s my favorite.

The only challenge?

It involves math.

And because I decided to add hexagon wood shelves to the middle of the wall, too.

But the room? The design? When you finish it? It’s absolutely amazing.

Here’s how to paint a wall with hexagons and step-by-step instructions.


This is a great place to start when learning how to paint a wall with decorative painting techniques.

It’s an easy way to make a small space like a hallway or entryway get noticed.

One quick tip: you don’t want your stripes to be even. When measuring out your stripes make one stripe slightly larger than the other stripe to make them look a little more custom.

See this and a zillion other stripe painting tips here.


This was one of the hardest walls that we’ve ever painted.

It’s a cube wall.

As in a wall full of cubes. It was a math situation. Good thing I have a math expert that lives at the house.

Here are all the step-by-step instructions and how to paint a wall with cubes.


This is a room I worked on for my mother.

We had a super limited budget and not a lot of time.

We added raised diamonds to the room and painted it this beautiful shade of coral.

Here are the step-by-step instructions for a raised diamond coral accent wall.


This is a simple wall treatment that you can create with just painter’s tape and a quart of paint.

I have the outline for the project on the post.

It’s really easy once you have a few tips.

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to paint a wall with geometric squares.


I never met a herringbone that I didn’t like.

So I created a wall treatment around it.

I planned it with different shades of blue to create an ombre pattern, but I think it would also be so pretty if it were just two colors, too.

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to paint a DIY herringbone wall.


This was my office in the gatehouse.

It was just a blank wall.

And then?

We transformed it with a little paint and some wood. You could also create the same look with frames.

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to paint a raised panel wall.

See what I mean?

A painted wall is such an easy way to transform a space.

Just know I’m here if you have any questions about how to paint a wall or any of these wall treatments.

Or paint colors.

Or general conversation.

I’m just an e-mail away. πŸ™‚

PS Here’s one more for the road.

This is a fun project I did long ago with a shutter wall that we painted different colors.

You can see it here.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.

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  1. Image for Michelle Crowley Michelle Crowley

    Oh my goodness - every one of these feature walls are inspiring! I want to try them all πŸ€— The last one with all the shutters is my absolute favorite! So clever! I think I still have all plantations shutters I tore out of my house stashed in storage somewhere! Now I know why I've hoarded them all these year!!!!

  2. Image for Maria Welke Maria Welke

    I live in a 20 year old split level house. I drool over your gorgeous old home and all the beautiful details, the old doors, wood floors with the patina of decades, even centuries of life lived on them, the interesting craftsmanship that you simply cannot find anymore in anything less that 60 years old. Anywho, my front door opens into an area the size of a postage stamp. You cannot answer the door and invite someone in unless you either close the door almost shut before you let them in, and position yourself behind the door, then open the door again, peek around and say β€œPlease! Come right in!” OR step onto the downstairs steps, swinging the door all the way open so as to present the stairs going up, and gesture for them to head that direction. Unless, of course, you WANT them to go downstairs...you get the picture. The ceilings are cathedral and will require one of our adult kids to perform magical feats to paint these walls for us. The entire house is the same awful -not quite beige, kinda peachy-color the walls were when we bought the place 10 years ago. I did not want this house. β€œOh but it is such a great deal!” said everyone. It is a track home in a nice quiet desirable neighborhood. We are old and live on a tiny fixed income. My question is, could you possibly fly out here to N. Idaho and make my home lovely and go yard sale-ing with me and be my bff? 😊 Barring that, could you tell me if it would be good to paint my entry a soft gentle white or should I try to paint one wall as an accent wall? Thank you for your advice. And your website. And your sweet self.

  3. Image for Jayne Jayne

    Wow! KariAnne! All of these wall painting projects are amazing! Is there anything that you have not done to a wall? I've just created a gallery wall in my dining room and that was easy compared to all of these! You are indeed the Queen of paint and DIY!

  4. Image for Amy Amy

    KariAnne, All of these are stunning! Thank you for sharing. I love how some of these techniques give the look of wallpaper without the cost. Gorgeous paint colors also~

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