What are the Different Types of Interior Painting Techniques?

Sheri Cyprus

Although the most common method of painting interiors is to use one basic color applied with a brush or roller in a flat finish, there are many other kinds of techniques. Faux finishes are painting methods that produce looks of natural items such as stone or marble. Other types of interior painting techniques include sponging, striping, stenciling, decorative and mural.

Painting interiors is usually done with one solid color.
Painting interiors is usually done with one solid color.

Murals are painted scenes that often take up at least one wall in a room. In the case of mural interior painting techniques in children's rooms especially, the artwork may extend to all four walls. Children's murals often feature simple shapes in bright colors. Mural painting done in other interior spaces of a home is usually more sophisticated and limited to one feature wall. A mural painter may be hired to work in the home to complete the pictorial; nature murals are especially common, as the painters are typically artists who will customize their work for the homeowner.

Children can use alphabet stencils to decorate their rooms.
Children can use alphabet stencils to decorate their rooms.

Decorative painting techniques such as swirls of paints applied on brushes to create flowers, ocean waves and many more motifs may be used on wall murals or in borders. Decorative painting techniques are not only used on walls in interior spaces, but also on framed pictures and kitchen backsplashes. Decorative interior painting techniques are sometimes applied directly to tile on the backsplash area behind a stove rather than just on the wall. Stenciling is a type of decorative interior painting in which dabbing color with brushes or sponges is done within a cutout shape to create a pattern when the stencil is lifted.

Stenciling is commonly used in country-themed homes such as in borders along the top or middle of a wall or on stair risers. Unlike the more artistic style of decorative interior painting techniques in which skill in creating images is needed, stenciling simply requires the ability to dab or spread color within the cutout shape. Striping is a similar interior painting technique in that it also consists of filling in color within the lines of a space. Heavy-duty masking tape is placed in straight lines on interior walls; the farther apart the tape, the wider the stripes will be. After having a background color on the wall, a paintbrush or roller is used to apply the paint between the lines; when the tape is removed, clear stripes should be the result.

Sponging is one of the simplest interior painting techniques, as it consists of dipping a sponge into paint and stamping it onto walls, furniture or other indoor items. To give the mottled result more depth, different shades of the same color, such as light, medium and dark tones, are often used. A natural, or other type of porous sponge should be used for this interior painting technique so a strong texture occurs.

A type of interior painting technique is texture painting, which can hold textured designs such as stippling.
A type of interior painting technique is texture painting, which can hold textured designs such as stippling.

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Discussion Comments


Some of these interior painting tips and techniques mentioned in the article sound really good. We have been painting all of the rooms in our new house, and doing the same old thing on all of the walls gets to be dull after a few rooms. I enjoy trying to make each room stand out in some small way at least.


mobilian33 - I agree that the wall murals are a good way to make a room or part of a room standout. I put them on the walls of my kids' rooms when they were younger. They liked the designs and cartoon images best.

I'm not a very good artist/painter, and I wasn't about to pay a professional to paint pictures on the walls, so I bought the mural wallpaper. The kids thought this was a lot of fun. I think it pays to be somewhat conservative when using murals because you are more likely to tire of the more elaborate designs and pictures because they are so bold.

The murals also are a good alternative to the usual paint on the ceiling. Nothing gets a child's imagination going like a good mural of the sky or the solar system to look at when he or she is lying in bed at night.


I have a friend who has a mural on her bedroom wall. She recently moved into the first house she has owned on her own. Her daughter painted the mural in her mother's bedroom as a present. When you walk into the room, the wall with the mural immediately grabs your attention.

The mural is of trees and it's like you are walking into a forest when you step into the bedroom. It's not like a simple picture on the wall. It has a 3-D effect and you actually feel like you can walk into the wall and hide in the trees. This is the first one I have ever seen in a person's house, and I think it is really cool looking.

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