What is Textured Paint?

J. MacArthur

If you’re looking to update the walls in your home, textured paint is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to add a fresh new look. Often used as an alternative to wallpaper, it is also a great solution to cover up uneven or imperfect walls. Textured painting has become one of the most popular trends in home décor, and with the recent surge of do-it-yourselfers, many different styles have been created with a myriad of colors to choose from. Often the most difficult part of the project is deciding which ones to use.

Textured paint can be used to create a wood-grain appearance.
Textured paint can be used to create a wood-grain appearance.

Textured paint comes with a few different options. The premixed form contains small, gravel like particles and is grainy in appearance. It is often applied to ceilings where close scrutiny is less likely.

Tools such as a trowel are sometimes required for achieving the desired visual effect of textured paint.
Tools such as a trowel are sometimes required for achieving the desired visual effect of textured paint.

Another variety comes in a bucket and is very thick and smooth which requires special application tools like trowels or putty knives. Once applied, this type of textured pain has the appearance of stucco. Most paint stores sell an agent that can be purchased separately. You can apply this material to control the smoothness or roughness.

Textured paint with a grainy, stucco-like look.
Textured paint with a grainy, stucco-like look.

High-quality paint is recommended when going for a textured look. You can choose between flat-finish latex and formulas with alkyd, or a durable synthetic resin. Latex versions are often used on ceilings and don’t require a primer. Typically, they are even durable enough to cover up the seams between drywall.

Special rollers can be purchased to apply textured paint.
Special rollers can be purchased to apply textured paint.

The most popular trends in paint colors when creating a textured finish includes metallic finishes in gold, silver and copper. This option will allow you to create a glossy, shiny presence.

Textured paint can also be used to create a faux finish. Common faux finishes include marble, stone or wood, which can add depth and texture. Often this technique requires additional application tools, such as special rollers, sponges, rags, trowels and putty knives.

A visit to a paint store can become overwhelming, as there are many different styles to choose from. Plan on making a few visits as you are making the final decision on your desired look since removing the texture isn't as simple as painting over a flat paint that you didn't end up liking. A good way to find out your particular taste in finishes would be to tour model homes or look through magazines. Some home improvement stores may have sample cards showing the different finishes.

Before you apply any textured paint, make sure the walls you are working with are clean and free from major holes or damage. While this wall application can hide some blemishes, large holes or damage can't be disguised. Don't forget to cover surrounding furniture and flooring with protective materials, and prepare all your tools in advance so you don't go running around for them during the application process.

A myriad of colors are available for people who want to use textured paint.
A myriad of colors are available for people who want to use textured paint.

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Discussion Comments


I didn't know that you could actually buy textured paint. I know how to texture paint using a sponge, but I had never heard of paint that already had stuff in it to provide texture.

When I painted my room, I did one solid layer of burnt orange. Then, I used a huge sponge to apply gold paint on top. This made it look like the wall had actual texture, when in reality, it was just a sponge pattern.


@lighth0se33 – I used sand texture paint on my mailbox to make it look like sandstone. It looked really cool, but the main reason I did this was to deter vandals.

Certain teenagers in the neighborhood think it's funny to drive around late at night and hit people's mailboxes with a baseball bat. I wanted them to think that my mailbox was made of stone, because they would probably hesitate to hit it.

I did have one mailbox destroyed in this way, but after I applied the textured paint, the kids never bothered it again. I suppose they had no clue that it was actually just paint and not stone.


My friend used textured spray paint on the door of her room. It looked like a stone door when she was finished!

She had an old wooden door that had been painted white, but the paint had chipped off, and the wood was starting to show through in spots. She wanted to do something interesting to it that wouldn't require scraping off all the old paint.

The textured spray paint was cream-colored, and it gunked up in a pattern that looked like rough stone. I decided to use some of it on my mailbox to make it stand out.


I took the easy way out and did not get any of the textured kits. I used textured paint rollers instead. I was very pleased with the different looks I got just switching rollers. It is amazing what a little more pile on the roller will result it. I really recommend these rollers to anyone who wants the easiest way to try out a textured look.


I knew a couple that had just bought a home. The people who had lived there before had hung hundreds of pictures and had left holes all over the house. My friend used several different fun texture painting techniques to cover all the holes.

In the bathrooms, she used the rag paint technique. For the kitchen, she bought a kit that you added provided grit to so it would be rough and cover imperfections.

The results were great and you cannot even tell that there are a ton of holes in the walls. She said all the techniques were very easy to do and came with instructions.

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