What About Wall Texture?

We’ve been discussing how to choose paint colors and primer and how much it helps to have a plan when you are about to start a project like creating an accent wall, or when you are tossing small living room decorating ideas around in your head.  We even touched on whether we want to use an accent wall. Along those lines I have information here about the different types of wall texture, where to buy it, what price to expect and some ideas on how to apply it.

Wall texture is not expensive, you can find a big box of wall texture dry mix priced at $12-$20 for 15 lb that will cover about 600 sq ft, nor is it rocket science as some websites I’ve visited would have you believe. It can be a bit tedious sometimes, depending on the style you choose, which is why I suggest starting with just one wall, like an accent wall, to see how it goes first.  Usually I find that it goes along fairly quickly.

Using a different texture on an accent wall is effective because the variety draws the eye and creates interest. You can use texture and then paint, or you can try a combination and use tinted texture and a faux painting technique, or just use faux painting techniques if you (or a landlord) would prefer that you don’t add texture. It’s not quite the same effect, but you can get very close if you use 3 shades, light, middle, and dark values of the same color. These value changes will trick the eye and look a little more like texture from across the room.

How to Apply Texture

Generally it’s a best practice to get a preparation plan together and a list of supplies started.  If you are painting an unfinished wall you will need to start with a primer, but you don’t have to if the wall is already painted and clean. You can check my post ‘A Primer on Primer‘ if you have questions about whether you should use it. There are way too many methods to texture a wall to list them all here, but I’ve found a couple of ideas that are subtly different from the norm. Hopefully you’ll find one that expresses your style.

Let’s start with a general video about texture. Leah at SeeJaneDrill on YouTube gives a great explanation and demonstration.

It really is that simple and easy, and fun too. It might be kind of messy your first time, but that’s what drop cloth is for, right? My favorite texture is the Brocade Knockdown. It isn’t everywhere so it just looks a little more unique to me. I like that. Here’s Leah’s demonstration of the Brocade. She’s a great teacher, don’t you think?

Clever and CraftyDark Wall with Tissue Paper Texture

I’ve also seen people use wrinkled tissue paper with the edges  torn off and pressed lightly into joint compound that has been applied to the wall.  It is pressed just enough to let any air bubbles out and stick, but not enough to remove the wrinkles.  Then when it’s dry you paint right over the paper.  It looks great with a dark color and a metallic glaze.  This close-up photo to the right shows the subtle texture of the tissue paper.  Just like with the techniques that Leah showed, you will want to work in sections so everything doesn’t dry out faster than you can get the technique applied.

Get Creative and Mix It Up!

You can use a combination of texture and a painting technique for more definition of all of the highs and lows of the texture. This really makes the wall stand out. When I did mine I did a slight variation of the Brocade Knockdown. Mine was not quite as pronounced as the Brocade because I chose to use a bit more water to make a fairly loose (or wet) ‘pancake batter’.  It was just thick enough to hold on the wall and barely start to drip down.  I just used a ‘slop it on’ sort of application by hand with a 10″ trowel. I know.. very professional, right?   Trust me though, it came out great!  I used similar motions to the skip trowel technique but very random, and I was careful to have an even application.  Then I barely knocked the high spots down.

Honestly, while I was doing it I thought I was going to end up having to sand it all. I was o.k. with experimenting though because it was old sagging paneling that I had just tightened with a few screws. I was covering it and just trying to have it look a little nicer for a while until I moved. It was a quick fix to save a couple bucks and not have to replace the whole wall. While it was drying I noticed that the texture looked pretty cool as the light from the window showed the details of the texture.  So I decided not to sand it but that I would paint it.

While I was searching for the right paint color I found a faux paint technique called Bellagio Faux (I think).  You use a darker base color and then use 2 or 3 shades lighter mixed with a glaze for the second part. I had this painters brush (like the cartoon guys carry around) that had stiff bristles and they should be dry.  Then you just barely touch the tips of the bristles in the glaze. It’s a dry brush technique so there shouldn’t be enough glaze on the brush to drip at all. Then with a feather touch and large wide arching x type of strokes you very lightly apply the glaze to the wall.  It should just frost the raised parts of the texture and barely skim the medium height parts while missing the deeper recessed areas.  Again, you want to be careful to apply it kind of random, but fairly even. When you finish you will end up with light, medium and darker areas but from across the room it looks kind of like you painted with a feather. I had people tell me that it looked like a museum wall.  It really was beautiful.  It wasn’t nearly as hard as it probably sounds in my description.

Play it Safe- Subtle Change

I did find a couple of videos demonstrating faux painting techniques that I think are really helpful.   Just use your imagination with the colors or check out my page about Choosing the Best Paint Colors for Your Room. The Woolie Company makes these painting techniques look very easy and she also shows how to mix the glaze properly.


Let’s Give It a Try Now!

These are only a few of several ideas to make your walls express your personal style.  I hope you have found the ideas and tips here to be helpful and inspirational.  I’d love to hear about your personal creations or tips that you use that you find helpful.  You can leave me a comment below.

Happy Decorating!


4 Replies to “What About Wall Texture?

  1. There is so much valuable information in this site about painting and decorating. My home desperately needs a lift, perhaps you could act as a consultant for me, or better still come and do it. No seriously I really appreciate your site and it has inspired me to get started. like the woolie effect and it appears quick and easy.
    So I a ready to give it a try, just have to go buy myself some paint.
    Thank you for the inspiration.

    1. Thank you for the comment! I am so happy that you are ready to start a new project.
      Come back and share with us how it turns out. If you have further questions, I am happy to help.

  2. This is a very helpful post which is inspiring me to want to try something different. Think I will start in the bathroom, where space is so much smaller!

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