Chic Walls on the Cheap!

by Kathleen Wilson

Related Articles

5 Quick, Cheap Updates for Wall Decor

Paint Like a Pro

Chic Wall Décor, on a Budget!

Walls are usually the largest surface area in your room, so it makes sense that to create a fabulous room, you should start with fabulous walls! That is easier said than done when you are on a tight budget. Here are five great treatments for walls that are easy to do, and even easier on the pocketbook!


Sponging is perhaps the easiest faux technique to master. It takes very little paint, just a touch of practice, and looks great in nearly any style home! I prefer to sponge one color over another for a more subtle look, but you can sponge over white if you prefer. You don't have to use those expensive sea sponges, either. Just rip and tear an ordinary kitchen sponge to create an irregular surface. Dip into paint, dab off so that it is almost dry, and pat onto the wall. Vary the direction of the sponge as you go to create a more natural look. You may wish to practice a little on cardboard first to test your technique.


This is a classic favorite. A quick way to add interest to a room without worrying about it competing with pattern or being too busy. Use painter's masking tape to tape off the stripes on the wall. Match the width of the stripe to the size of the room. A larger room should have wider stripes. You can even alternate wide and narrow stripes if you prefer. You can measure this out or do it by eye. Now paint inside the tape. For a casually chic room, don't use masking tape and just roll the stripes right onto the wall!

Stamp or Stencil

Stamps or stencils can be used to accent, border, or provide an overall design similar to wallpaper. They are very inexpensive, or simple ones can be made at home with lightweight cardboard (cereal boxes work great) and a craft knife. Stamps can be made the old fashioned way, with a potato! To stencil, simply tape the stencil in place, then pounce the paint over the stencil with a nearly dry brush, rag, or sponge. To stamp, brush a small amount of paint onto the stamp, dab off , then stamp onto the wall.


Many of us don't want to paint our entire rooms, but want to add some color and flair. Try painting a "frame" behind a group of photos. It can be a block of paint to hang the photos on, or just a border to enclose the group of wall hangings. This also saves on paint, but adds a lot of interest and brings a room together.


Colorwashing is a lot of fun. It is a wonderful finish that creates a lot of depth and texture, and is a popular paint finish in luxury homes. It is simply a method where you add water to a paint or paint base, then rub over the walls with a rag. That simple! I have mixed my own paints for this, but it can be difficult to get the colors and ratios right. If you want to try a product made specifically for colorwashing, give a try. I've used their products, and they go a long way with beautiful colors. A bonus with colorwashing? You can use this technique for all of the ideas above!

Now that you know you don't have to buy out the paint store in order to make a change, give one or two of these ideas a try! Better yet, combine them! In no time, you will have made a creative, low cost improvement to your home.

Kathleen Wilson is the author of Quick Decorating Ideas Under $20: The Budget Decorator's Bible and Editor of the popular ezine, The Budget Decorator. For more free ideas, visit her at

Copyright 2003 K. Wilson

Take the Next Step

  • Looking for great deals on all your home decorating needs? is the answer!
  • Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
  • Looking for simple, practical, hands-on home decorating help? If so, then Love Your Home is the perfect ebook for you!

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book