Decorative Techniques


Color Blocking

Color blocking provides dazzling results that can transform any room. This technique involves painting several colors (usually at least three) in various-sized “blocks” on the wall. Because of its visual interest, this technique is usually done on one wall in a room, and often takes the place of artwork -- behind a sofa, for example.

What you need:

  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint roller and brush
  • Selected paints

How to do it:

Step 1:
Make several copies of the final design on paper for practice. Use these to play with the arrangement of colors in the design and then pick your favorite. The key is to draw the blocks in different dimensions -- varied sizes of squares and rectangles -- and map them out in a geometric, visually balanced arrangement on the wall. These blocks should be sketched on paper, then transferred to the wall and outlined lightly in pencil, then filled in with paint.

Step 2:
Selecting the Right Colors: Choosing colors for this technique can be fun, but there are some things to keep in mind to help achieve the look you’re after:

  • Colors from the same color card, but in varying intensities, will give your room a sophisticated, monochromatic appeal. If you’re looking for subtlety, choose colors that are next to each other on the card.
  • Two or three harmonious colors and a third accent hue of either black or white creates a dramatic look.
  • For a fun, playful look, choose complementary colors (those that are opposite one another on the color wheel) such as yellow and violet.
  • It is helpful to use colors of the same value, or intensity, by choosing ones that are in the same position on several color cards --- the second up from the bottom, for example. This helps achieve a feeling of balance in the finished job.
  • If you decide to use colors of varying intensities, you may want to experiment with several practice designs. Using more of the brighter hue will give you a bold look, while using more of the lighter one will be more soothing. Remember that the practice design is much smaller than the final product, and any color you use will intensify once it’s on a wall.

Step 3:
Once the final pattern and color scheme is set, trace the blocks onto the wall, outlining lightly with a pencil and level.

Step 4:
Tape off lines using Painter’s tape (not masking tape), then paint with your choice of colors.

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