Paint an Ombre Wall

One day, one change: Brighten up your bedroom by painting a pink-and-gray focal wall with these step-by-step instructions.
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Laurie-March-pink-ombre-bedroom-wall_s4x3

Photography by Daniel Collopy

Photography by Daniel Collopy

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Paint is one of the easiest and most striking changes you can make in your home. In one day and on a budget of $100, my friend Igael (Iggy) Gurin-Malous and I created a simple ombre wall treatment in this West Hollywood apartment. We used the homeowner's charcoal-gray bedspread as a jumping-off point to pick paint colors.

Ombre Wall Treatment 03:24

Laurie creates a luscious ombre, or shaded, wall treatment in a bedroom.

What You'll Need

Paint Colors

  • One gallon of gray
  • One gallon of salmon pink
  • One gallon of light gray

Supplies
  • Tape measure
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray and liners
  • Wide paintbrush

How to Paint an Ombre Wall

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Boring Beginnings

This apartment in West Hollywood suffered from a total lack of charm. We used the client's charcoal-gray bedspread as a jumping-off point to craft a plan.  

After: Feminine But Not Fussy

In one day and on a budget of $100, my good friend Igael Gurin-Malous and I created a simple but striking ombre wall treatment with three paint colors: gray, salmon pink and light gray.  

To Get Started

Clean your surface. Wipe down and remove anything on the wall you'll be painting.  

Spill-Proof Your Space

Whenever possible, remove all furniture in the room to give yourself room to work. Cover anything you cannot move and all floors with thick plastic to prevent spills and slips.  

Start With the Lightest Paint

Begin by painting the entire wall the lightest shade of paint and let it dry. Instead of using a primer first, buy paints that have primer mixed in. This ensures good coverage on the wall, which will make a fresh surface for your paint treatment to blend. Don't skimp on the paint.  

Divide Your Wall

Measure three equal sections on your wall and mark lightly in pencil.  

Use a Medium Shade in the Middle

Paint the middle section with the second-lightest color, leaving about 6" of room above and below.  

Brush at an Angle

In a timely manner, hold a dry brush at a 45-degree angle to blend.  

Go Dark at the Bottom

For a more subtle ombre that's in the same color family, consider choosing three colors that are on the same paint chip. Stay away from the darkest color if you can, for a more soothing palette. If drama is what you're looking for, then consider a bold hue for your darkest color, but select your color with care. Paint the darkest hue at the bottom of the wall  

Mix Shades

The real trick to an ombre paint treatment is in creating two additional color blends by mixing the lightest color with the middle color, and the middle color with the darkest color. These two additional colors allow you to "blend" the three main colors on the wall.  

Blend, Blend, Blend

Use the first new color to paint the 6" gap between the lightest and middle color. Then, taking a dry brush and holding it at an angle, quickly blend up until you meet the next color section. Use the second new color to paint the 6" gap between the middle and dark color and repeat the blending technique. Continue to brush the three sections together until you achieve the level ombre you desire.  

Get Started: Paint and Blend

Paint a Base Coat

For best results, wipe down or dust the wall you are going to paint. Choose the lightest shade of paint and begin by painting the entire wall this color. Don't skip this step: This will give your other colors a fresh base of paint to go over, making a smooth, even surface for blending. Let it dry.

Divide the Wall Into Sections

To achieve an ombre look, measure three equal sections on your wall and mark lightly in pencil. The top section will be the lightest color. The darkest color goes at the bottom, leaving the third color for the center.

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Original-ODOC-Laurie-March-pink-ombre-wall_s4x3

Paint

Paint

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Original-ODOC-Laurie-March-painting-ombre-wall_s4x3

Blend

Blend

Start With Medium in the Middle

Paint the middle section with the second-lightest color, leaving 6" of room between the edges of each section. In a timely manner, hold a dry brush at a 45 degree angle to blend.

Apply the Darkest Hue at the Bottom

Paint the darkest hue at the bottom of the wall, leaving a foot between color sections.

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Laurie-March-ODOC-gray-ombre-wall-blend-no-resize_s4x3

Mix the First New Color

In a fresh paint liner, mix your lightest color and your middle shade at a ratio of half and half. Use this first new color blend to paint the 6" gap between the lightest and middle color. Taking a dry brush and holding it at an angle, quickly blend up until you meet the next color section.

Mix the Second New Color

In a fresh paint liner, mix your darkest color and your middle shade at a ratio of half and half. Use this second new color blend to paint the 6" gap between the darkest and middle color. Taking a dry brush and holding it at an angle, quickly blend up until you meet the next color section. Continue to brush the three sections together until you achieve the level ombre you desire.

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