Decorative paint for walls: types and most common techniques

The concept we have around what decorative painting is dates back to the Renaissance era. A current and cultural movement that emerged in Western Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries, thus marking the beginning of the Modern Age.

However, the true origin of decorative wall painting comes from a long, long time ago. When the first civilizations as a way to communicate and/or record an event, made different marks and drawings in the caves they inhabited.

A decoration method that has evolved alongside the human being, polishing and perfecting itself to what it is today. In this article, we are going to address the most known types and techniques of a paint that has as many styles as there are cultures in the world.

What is decorative painting?

Decorative painting is a type of painting used to transform the appearance of a surface, regardless of its size, or object. The purpose is none other than to beautify the appearance of the existing support and, also in some cases, to reinforce the resistance and durability of the coating on which it is applied.

A material that can be used on surfaces exposed to impacts, such as furniture, tables, chairs, floors, etc, but also on non-walkable surfaces. In this sense, walls are undoubtedly one of the surfaces where decorative paint is most used as a coating. Both in interior spaces of homes and businesses as well as, why not, outdoors. It should be noted that this last area of application is smaller, since not all paints are suitable for outdoor applications because they are not resistant to sunlight, water and other weather conditions.

gray microcement dining room wall
Small but cozy dining room with the wall covered in gray microcement.

Where to apply the decorative paint

Decorative painting allows for a wide range of styles, designs, and textures. Therefore, it is unlikely to repeat the same finishes, as there will always be a nuance that will make the difference between one surface and another. The chosen technique, the color of the paint, and the way of applying the product, each one has its particular procedure, are factors that will distinguish the final finishes.

Although walls are usually the preferred to use this technique, the benefits of using this paint extend to ceilings, floors and furniture. In all of them, the use of this product is not limited to giving color to the surface, but it gives it personality and style through the created texture.

A decoration technique, with special incidence in interiors, that has become a protagonist in the renovation of rooms, living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and large commercial premises. Going from being a paint for merely professional use to gaining popularity among individuals who wish to give a second life to their homes.

Advantages of decorative painting for walls

Each decorative painting has specific benefits. Some can be used outdoors as well as indoors, others are capable of creating metallic or rusted finishes, there are also those with waterproof properties, etc. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate in advance what the needs of each coating are. Since obviously it is not the same a wall of a bathroom, exposed day after day to humidity, than a wall of a room. Factors that we will develop later.

For now, and in a generic way, we are going to detail the main advantages that these types of paint share.

Wide variety of effects and colors

Painting allows creating a multitude of combinations by being able to play with colors, effects, and textures. From more conventional proposals to more daring ones to highlight a specific element of the room and draw attention to it. Contrasts that are increasingly in fashion.

Application versatility

Just as creations are virtually infinite, it can be applied on numerous surfaces and rooms. Walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, etc. Indoors and outdoors.

Quick and easy to apply

Unlike other coatings that require removing the existing ones, decorative paint is placed on top completely hiding what is underneath. There are no works, nor debris. A speed to highlight as well as the ease of application. Why complicate things when everything is advantageous?

They protect the new coating

Many paints do not fulfill a merely decorative function, but also help to reinforce the wall or floor. They protect the new coating from wear, friction, impacts, etc.

Possibility of waterproof and non-slip finishes

As if the advantages seen so far were not enough, it is necessary to highlight the waterproof and non-slip finishes that some paints offer. Two increasingly determining factors to bet on this technique.

They are very durable

If applied correctly and used appropriately, they can be very durable and not require the surface to be reviewed with another coat of paint in a short time.

wall with gray wallpaper
Industrial style kitchen with gray wallpaper on the wall.

Factors to choose a decorative paint

Which decorative paint to choose? The answer is very simple. The most suitable for the surface where it is going to be applied. That is the most valuable advice. Focusing only on the finish or the color is a mistake, because each support needs particular properties.

Let's look at the most important factors to consider when choosing one paint over another are as follows:

1. Material to be coated with decorative paint

We just said it. Not all paints fit for the same supports. Because it simply is not the same to coat wood as a plasterboard wall, for example. So you have to be well informed before buying one or the other.

2. Differentiate walkable surfaces from non-walkable ones

Coating the floors entails more complexity in the long term than the walls, since the former require a paint that is much more resistant to wear by abrasion, impacts, etc. The same also happens with furniture.

Likewise, it is also necessary to evaluate the room that is going to be painted. Bathrooms and kitchens need paints with waterproof properties, for example. Washable products, anti-humidity, etc.

3. Outdoor resistance

Just as the material and surface model are substantial factors, resistance in outdoor spaces is also. There are decorative paints that are unalterable to sunlight, rain, and wind. But not all.

4. Quality of decorative paint

Parece una obviedad, y lo es. Pero muchas veces por intentar ahorrar, el resultado final acabará siendo más caro de lo que pensábamos. La calidad no es un factor que tomarse a la ligera.

5. Decorative finish

¿Qué es lo que estás buscando exactamente? ¿Una pintura decorativa con acabado brillante? ¿Más satinado? ¿O efectos metálicos y oxidados tal vez? Cada pintura tiene la capacidad de garantizar un acabado decorativo u otro.

wall decorated with sponging technique
Living room in which the sponging technique has been used as decorative paint to decorate the wall.

Types of decorative paints for walls

There is a wide range of paints for decorating walls depending on the use and features you are looking for. In the list we have made, we have taken into account the most frequent ones to renovate the rooms of the home.

1. Plastic or latex paint

Plastic or latex paint is the most common for interior walls. Although it is true that depending on its composition, it can sometimes also be used outdoors.

It is characterized by being a water-based paint, which avoids the often unpleasant smells of solvent-based ones. In this sense, it guarantees water resistance. In addition, it is very easy to apply, can be washed and dries very quickly. On the other hand, it is not recommended on untreated wood surfaces.

A plastic or latex paint that in turn divides into acrylic and vinyl and offers three types of finishes: matte, satin, and gloss.

Matte plastic paint: more opaque finish and without shine. It's a bit harder to wash but it's perfect for walls with very noticeable defects or that are many years old.

Satin plastic paint: halfway between matte finish and glossy finish. Highly recommended for painting polished walls or with intense colors, as it enhances the tone of them.

Plastic paint with shine: more reflective finish. It cleans very easily with water, so it is an ideal decorative paint for rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens. It will be necessary, however, to sand the wall beforehand.

1.1 Acrylic paint

Paint with superior resistances, both indoors and outdoors. It ensures greater waterproofing power on walls and, in addition, perfectly resists mold and sunlight. It has excellent adhesion on many materials, except for untreated wood surfaces.

1.2 Vinyl paint

The versatility of vinyl plastic paint is greater, as well as its flexibility. Likewise, its smell is practically imperceptible and its application is simple.

2. Synthetic enamel paint

Paint composed of synthetic resins to the solvent. Therefore, unlike plastic paint, it is much more durable and resistant. It also preserves the shine of the surface very well, even in outdoor spaces because it resists water and humidity better. The finishes it offers are smoother. It is used mainly on wooden or metal walls, although its field of application is much more extensive.

However, it requires a longer drying period and special care must be taken with the intrinsic gases of this decorative paint for walls. Gases that can be harmful and even cause dizziness if the space is not adequately ventilated.

3. Acrylic enamel paint

Its name leaves no room for mystery. Paint formulated with acrylic resins, catalysts, and pigments. Completely soluble in water and odorless, so it is not necessary to be as rigorous with the ventilation of the room as with synthetic enamel paints. They are frequently used in artistic decoration.

4. Primer Paints

Previous coating that serves as a base for decorative paint. The purpose of the primer is to consolidate the support and facilitate the subsequent absorption of the paint used to decorate and finish the wall. Adhesion improves exponentially, minimizes imperfections and at the same time reduces the cost of finish paint.

5. Varnishes

Varnishes are used to protect any type of paint in addition to giving them shine or color. Normally, they are made based on polyurethane. They stand out for their waterproof properties, durability and resistance to abrasion.

5. Mineral or silicate paint

Thanks to its high coverage power and its permeability to water vapor, mineral or silicate paint is mostly indicated for walls that have moisture problems.

Decorative paint based on inorganic mineral pigments and insoluble silicates. In appearance, they resemble lime paint but are of higher quality and more resistant. As they are made with renewable raw materials, they can be classified as ecological paints.

wall with lime stucco
Bedroom wall where lime stucco has been used as decorative paint.

Decorative painting techniques for walls

Paintings are one of the most used resources to decorate walls, thanks to the plurality of effects that can be achieved. There are numerous decorative painting techniques for walls to choose from that best suit the demands and needs. Next, we are going to expose the main ones.

Florentine lands

The peculiarity of the decorative technique of the Florentine lands lies in the special resins of its composition. Resins in various colors that are responsible for that characteristic finish when they expand on the walls. Beyond the fact that there is a wide range of colors, Florentine lands stand out for their good hardness and resistance, in addition to being easily washable.

The Florentine lands are, in the end, a stucco with shaded and aged effects that imitates Renaissance-style walls. A very specialized decorative painting technique for walls, with soft textures and small reliefs. Although its application is diverse, white is generally used on colored backgrounds or natural dyes previously mixed.

Florentine lands on wall
Wall painted with the Florentine earth technique in a rosy hue.

Venetian stucco

The Venetian stuccoit is another of the most primary and important decorative painting techniques for walls. Originating from Venice, it is an aesthetic effect resulting from the use of a paste made with marble powder, lime, pigments, and plaster whose finish closely resembles marble due to its unique shine.

Among its most interesting benefits, is its resistance to moisture and its breathability. A paint of great durability that enhances the space and that, in addition, has the added value of being composed of natural elements.

wall painted with Venetian stucco
Bedroom with wall painted with Venetian stucco in blue color.

Sponging technique

Another of the most used decorative painting techniques for walls is sponging. It consists of gently and repeatedly dabbing with a sponge on the surface until the desired finish is achieved. The effect will be better the wider the pore is.

A finish that adds depth and volume to the room and is very easy and economical. Ideal for large surfaces where the contrast is more striking. We recommend using a natural sponge for a more elaborate effect.

kitchen wall with mopped effect
Kitchen with front wall painted using the mottled or sponged effect technique.

Rust effect paint

The rusted finish is a aesthetic resource that prevails in interior decoration, especially on walls. A rustic look that despite symbolizing the passage of time, the natural aging of things, is very much liked. Using a paint is the most comfortable, quick and economical way to achieve this finish. A decorative technique for walls that is not limited to the home, but is also the star of fashion showcases, top-level restaurants, luxury hotels and even vehicles.

At Topciment we have developed arust effect paintthat does not limit creativity. A product of many nuances that can be used on interior walls as well as on building facades, thanks to its weather resistance. A paint that includes metallic particles of copper, bronze, iron, and brass and that can also be used as metallic paint. Its versatility knows no boundaries. It is compatible with a multitude of supports: microcement, concrete, brick, ceramic, metal, plaster, drywall, paper, etc. What are you waiting for to know it?

attic wall with rust effect paint
Bright attic with decorative rust effect paint on the wall.

Decorative rollers

Decorative rollers are not a new decorative painting technique for walls, however it has come back into fashion in recent years. Thanks to these rubber rollers with relief and the most varied designs, all kinds of decorative effects are created on the wall with great ease. The result is similar to that of wallpaper, with the obvious differences.

You just have to stain the roller with the chosen paint and gradually mark the roller's design on the wall. This creates a repetitive pattern that covers the entire surface of the wall.

decorative roller on wall
Wall with texture thanks to the use of a decorative roller as a decorative painting technique.


Glazes are very thin layers of paint, transparent or semi-transparent in color, that allow the underlying layer to be seen. A decorative painting technique for walls that has been used for centuries with the aim of highlighting or reducing their temperature and making them more opaque or shiny.

At Topciment, we have glazeswith metal effect and glitter that are not only applicable on walls, but also on floors and even furniture. Very resistant patinas that allow countless combinations to beautify all types of surfaces.

golden glaze on hotel wall
Luxurious hotel where a golden glaze has been applied on the wall as decorative paint.

Styles of decorative paintings that are trending

With decorative paints you can emulate the appearance of some materials whose price is much more expensive. Depending on each person's creativity, you can create one atmosphere or another to renew the space and make it stand out from the rest of the rooms. Opt for a more traditional decoration or one that breaks with everything established and that impacts at first sight.

It's all a matter of fashion, or not. What is clear is that with this decorative technique, great changes can be achieved quickly. Next, we are going to analyze the styles that are most popular in interior decoration. From the most classic to the most current.

Classic or Nordic style

The classic does not have to be at odds with the avant-garde. In fact, minimalist decoration or with influence from Scandinavian countries is one of the most popular trends. Betting on light colors like white or beige for the walls and combining it with wooden furniture or parquet floors, is always elegant.

The classic style and the Nordic style are defined by smooth and uniform finishes, avoiding extravagances at all costs. An elegant, timeless and comfortable atmosphere that is very easy to achieve with a decorative paint for the walls.

Gradient style for an accent wall

The gradient style is a peculiar way of painting walls because visually it seems that they have been left half done. A technique in which different shades of the same color are usually used and whose effect is spectacular. It is one of the favorite styles to achieve what is called an accent wall, which will stand out from the rest.

The wall to be painted must be divided into three parts. First, the entire surface is painted with the lightest color. Then, the intermediate color is used up to the line that has been drawn. With the help of a brush, when the paint is still wet, blur the line or edge. Next, paint the strip or bottom part with the darkest shade and, as done before, blur the edges with a brush until the strips are not visible.

Vintage style

The vintage style is one of the most used resources, and also the most striking, to give character to the space. And one of the most accessible options to achieve it is to renew the wall with a decorative paint that offers such a finish. Browns are the most common colors of this type of paints that quickly achieve a natural aging on the walls. As natural as life itself.

Topciment, manufacturer of quality decorative paints

For over 15 years, we have been developing all types of coatings. Among them, we manufacture different quality decorative paints for floors and walls depending on the finish you are looking for. Visit our websiteand discover the advantages of each of the options we offer to professionals.

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