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How to Use Sponge Painting to Transform Your Room in 11 Quick Steps

How to Use Sponge Painting to Transform Your Room in 11 Quick Steps

Adding a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for revitalising your space. But if there’s one painting technique that we love for adding that extra something, it’s sponge painting!

Adding a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for revitalising your space. But if there’s one painting technique that we love for adding that extra something, it’s sponge painting!

Sponge painting is a quick, easy and beginner-friendly method of decorating that can add fantastic dimension and gradients to your interior by applying layers of colour to your painted surfaces. Learn how to achieve this creative and personalised look, with this step-by-step guide to sponge painting.

Step #1: Whose room is it anyway?

Just like all painting, picking a room for this technique will help to inform your colour choices, making it a useful first step when planning your project. Sponge painting is suitable for any room, though we love it for a sunlit room that needs a touch of pizazz. It’s also perfect for adding some fun and playfulness to nurseries and kids’ bedrooms.

Step #2: Preparation station

Step #2: Preparation station

The tools you’ll need for this project are:

  • Canvas drop cloths or newspaper (to protect the floor from paint)
  • Fairy liquid or your cleaning liquid of choice
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint roller and tray
  • Masking tape (also known as “painter’s tape”)
  • One large and one small natural sea sponge
  • Base paint (to cover the walls first)
  • Top coat paints (for sponge accents)
  • Glaze
Step #3: Smooth operator

Step #3: Smooth operator

The first step to preparing your walls for a base coat of paint is cleaning. It’s best to move any portable things out of the room and cover static furnishings with drop cloths before you start. Simply wipe down your walls with some Fairy liquid or other cleaning liquid. Once your surface is dry, you can move on to giving your walls a sand to improve the surface for painting. Don’t forget to wear a dust mask! Be sure to clear off any dust or debris before taping out the areas you don’t want painted.

Step #4: Pick a base paint

Flat or eggshell finish paint in a colour of your choice is best suited for base coats. Remember that your base coat should be the darkest colour of your scheme, the paint used for sponging should be the lightest. If your walls are expected to need cleaning after daily use, choose a satin or semi-gloss finish for easy clean-up. If your wall needs extra coverage, wait for the first coat to dry before adding another layer. Add the paint to your paint tray and apply evenly with a paint roller.


Step #5: Pick a top coat

Step #5: Pick a top coat

Picking your colour blends is a creative and fun process that allows you to create a wide range of shades. The easiest types blends to use to use for sponge painting are gradient tones of a single colour, such as different shades of blue. Using different shades of the same colour helps to create a richness of depth. But vastly different shades can also add a fun dynamic to your space. This top colour will often become a shade lighter when it’s mixed with the glaze, so it’s worth keeping this in mind when choosing.

Step #6: Add glaze

Once you’ve selected the colours of your top coat paint, mix it with glaze to give your mixture a more translucent effect for a soft result. The glaze also extends the drying time of the paint, giving you more flexibility to correct any application mistakes. Simply follow the guidelines on the tin to get the right mix of glaze to paint. For sponge painting, it’s generally around 4:1 glaze to paint ratio. You can test the texture on a piece of scrap cardboard to be sure.

Step #7: Start with the sponge

Apply a layer of your paint mixture to your damp sea sponge. If you apply too much paint, give the sponge a few imprints on some scrap cardboard before applying to your walls. Starting from the corners of your wall, use a gentle bouncing or tapping motion. Having a light touch will help preserve the delicate imprint of the unique texture of your sponge. Remember to slightly change the angle of your sponge with each bounce, as this will help to make your application look more random and seamless.

Top tip: You can use a towel or scrap cardboard to blot your sponge as you work, but eventually your sponge will need to be rinsed out under a tap to clean the pores and keep your patterns crisp. Remember to wring it out thoroughly before resuming!

Step #8: Think small areas

Work in small areas before moving on to the next section. The goal is to build sheer layers of texture. Leaving the boundaries of these small areas looking jagged will help you to achieve a seamless appearance when you come back to blend them together.  

Step #9: Step back

As with any work of art, it’s useful to view your work from a distance to help you to assess and plan your next steps. Our decorating experts suggest that you give yourself plenty of time to walk around your space and take note of how your design works from every angle, also checking for any gaps or inconsistencies that can be corrected during your process. This will greatly improve your results as multiple perspectives can help you to perfectly balance your pattern and optimise it to suit every vantage point of your room.

Step #11: Dos and don’ts

Step #11: Dos and don’ts

  • Do take your time when painting. When it comes to sponging, the best method is to go slow and steady with light, sheer layers of texture.
  • Don’t use too much paint on your sponge, as this will lead to thick patches of paint with no detail.
  • Do randomise the angle of your sponge with each bouncing motion. This will help to make your texture patterns look balanced and natural.
  • Don’t forget to step back and observe your work as you go.

Alright! You now have all the information you need to become a master sponge painter. Don’t forget to keep this guide saved to help you while you prep for your masterpiece!

Want to continue your inspiration journey? Visit our list of micro makeovers that are perfect for social media sharing.

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