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By Mary Heyl

If you’re planning to spruce up one or two rooms in your home this spring, unleash your creative side as you choose your paint colors and tools! Of course, you could use a smooth roller and apply a couple coats of flat paint to the walls for a fresh look. But to really achieve a look that reflects your personality and the desired energy for the space, you may want to incorporate one of these fun painting techniques into your next project.

It’s natural to feel hesitant to try a new technique in a large room that family and guests enjoy, such as the living room, dining room or kitchen. Why not start in a smaller, private room where the stakes aren’t quite so high if you’re not happy with the result? Bedrooms, especially children’s bedrooms, offices and even bathrooms are great places to try one of these techniques. If you’re looking to incorporate multiple colors in a space together by incorporating striping patterns or stencils, choose paints that are similar colors (the less contrast, the better) so that the effect is subtle and easy to paint over if you’re not happy with it. Once you’ve selected your space, think about your color schemes and get started.

Sponge-painting is a classic painting technique that decorators have embraced for years because of its versatility and forgiving nature. Start by rolling your base coat of paint on the walls and let dry for at least 24 hours. Then, using a color that is one or two shades darker than your base color, use a natural sponge roller to apply it to the walls, overlapping slightly to create a uniform look.  Use a small natural sponge to apply the paint near the corners, small spaces, and near the edges of baseboards. This is a great way to hide the uneven texture of old or lumpy drywall. For a modern, glamorous take on this technique, sponge a metallic paint over the base color instead.

If you hate the thought of hanging expensive wallpaper and the hassle of matching seams and smoothing out air bubbles, but love the look of a patterned wall, have no fear. Stencils are here! However, these aren’t the stencils of decades’ past. There is a stencil out there (at craft stores and online) for just about every pattern imaginable, from a Moroccan trellis look to chevron stripes to the fleur de lis! Consider using stencils for just one accent wall or the whole room. Paint the wall(s) in your base color and allow plenty of time to dry. Then, apply the stencils to the wall according to the instructions and paint over them with your chosen contrasting color. Enjoy the look of wallpaper without the expense and effort!

A similar patterned look can be achieved using painter’s tape in a variety of ways. Create a classic Harlequin diamond pattern in just about any room—it looks great in a home office or even a nursery. According to design blog The Spruce, the trick to creating a sophisticated look is to use colors with only slight contrast. Starting with your first wall, use a measuring tape to determine how large you would like the diamonds to be. Use a pencil and a yardstick as a guide, if you need to. Then, measure and apply painter’s tape in diagonal strips across the wall, after the base coat is dry. Paint over the entire wall using your contrasting color and remove the tape once the paint is dry.

If you’d like to add a touch of whimsy to a space, particularly a child’s bedroom, you can apply a similar technique using removable vinyl stickers. Simply paint the walls using the base color and allow to dry. Then, apply the vinyl stickers to the wall where you’d like to add a touch of fun. Polka dots, stars, butterflies or leaves are great designs to liven up a space! Using the contrast color, paint the entire wall, rolling paint evenly over the stickers. Remove them when the paint is dry to reveal a fun design.