decor, DIY, inspiration, Living Space, Renovations

master strokes: 6 paint ideas that will transform any room

Mike Baker/

Applied with imagination and a little know-how, paint can quickly take a room from zero to hero. Here are six very special looks that deliver maximum impact.

Dream Time

To create this dreamy result, use a wide, soft brush and make your strokes rounded, organic and cloud-like, deliberately overlapping in places to create this cloud-like texture. It’s most easily achieved using natural paints, washes or suede effects.

Fine Line

For a graphic effect, use timber mouldings to create a simple pattern on your wall.Keep measurements related – for example, we used 900mm and 450mm spaces. Cut moulding to size, then paint in a contrasting colour to your main wall. Once painted apply to wall with nail gun or glue.

Blue Heaven

Cut a rectangular piece of plywood in half and stain it a very soft blue using tinted liming white by brushing on and wiping off with a soft cloth until the desired colour is achieved. Applied the two ply pieces off-set from one another to create a geometric feature. (For an extra touch, mimic this shape on a plywood magazine holder by masking the outline and carefully painting inside the masked area.)

Ultra Violet

This glamorous colour combination contrasts a shade very close to Pantone’s new Colour of the Year for 2018, Ultra Violet, with a gold accent panel. To create the panel shape, measure the size you want as a rectangle on the wall using a set square (use a level to ensure the shape is symmetrical). The diameter of your half-circle will be half the width of the rectangle. With a piece of string, attach a soft grey lead pencil to a thumbtack that is placed the distance of the diameter inside the rectangle and centred. Then, holding the pencil at a right angle to the wall, with the string held tight so it’s the same length as the diameter, lightly draw the half circle so that it meets each side of the rectangle. Repeat at the other end. Mask all the straight edges and fill in the shape with the desired highlight paint colour, carefully following the curved ends with a brush.

Industrial Chic

To create this boldly dramatic effect, roll on paint thickly and then use a trowel to achieve the desired ‘feathered’ texture. Using both a lighter and a darker shade of grey will really amplify the look.

Optical Illusion

First select two colours in the same hue as the main wall, a darker hue and a mid-toned hue. (The tonal colour will help create the illusion of shadow.) To draw the arch, start by creating a rectangle. We made ours 600mm wide by 1200mm high. Draw the rectangle on the wall using the set square and level to ensure that the corners are square. To create the curve, work out the diameter of the circle: it will be half the width of your rectangle, so for our version it’s 300mm. Make a mark for a thumbtack half way across the width of your rectangle, 300mm from the top. Gently push in the thumbtack so it’s firm. Attach some string to the end of a pencil, tape it in place and, while holding the pencil at a right angle to the wall – roughly in the middle of the top of the rectangle – wind the string around the thumbtack until it is tight. The string should allow the pencil to reach the top of the rectangle and each side. Gently draw the curve, moving the pencil from one edge around to the other to join them. To create the inner arch, draw a vertical line approximately 100mm inside the left of the rectangle. Move your thumbtack point across to the right 100mm and repeat the curve to create the inner arch, joining it with the vertical line you have just drawn. Mask (using painters tape) all straight edges and fill in your shapes with desired paint colours, carefully following the curved ends with your brush and using the darkest colour as the inside arch. For the slight patina effect inside the arch, apply paint with random brush strokes in small sections, following with muslin and ‘pouncing’ to break up the brush strokes.