Feminine But Not Fussy

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 that suffered from a total lack of charm. We used the homeowner's charcoal-gray bedspread as a jumping-off point to pick paint colors.

Step 1

Get Started

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

Step 2



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.  

Step 3



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.

Step 4

Paint Middle Section and Blend

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.

Step 5



Go Dark at the Bottom

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

Pro Tip

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.

Step 6



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.  

Step 7



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.