There’s so much more to paint than just colour.
Texture plays an equally important role and can inject an air of movement and dimension into a room. Paint companies continue to add to their repertoire, keeping paint effects fresh, lively and relevant to our surroundings. Thanks to the science of paint technology, just about any finish you can think of has its paint equivalent. Think of craggy cliffs and there’s a stone paint to re-create the look. If relaxing in a French-style villa is more your style, limewash will do the trick. Hankering for the aged patinas of weather-worn copper and rusted iron? There’s a product to suit …
The warm, flat finish of suede paint adds a subtle, elegant mood to interiors. It works well when used in an entire room, and can cosy up spaces such as bedrooms and lounge areas. The creamy texture creates a look similar to suede leather, and the restrained glamour of this paint is enhanced by soft lighting. As it is porous, it needs to be sealed if used in a kitchen or bathroom.
Limewash adds a French provincial feel when applied to raw wooden furniture or pieces that have been stripped of wax and paint. It gives a velvety finish yet isn’t as chalky as milk paint. So called because of its lime base, limewash works well on exterior surfaces that are porous as it allows the underlying surface to breathe. It’s a centuries-old finish that brings to mind Italian, Spanish and Mexican houses.
Cement paint gives a rustic, matt finish that is best left for outdoors. Sold in powder form, it is mixed with water before being brushed onto porous surfaces like unglazed brick, concrete, plasterboard, Besser brick and masonry. However, it’s not suitable for timber or metal surfaces. Cement paint is durable – if well applied, it can last around 20 years.
This ancient paint effect results in a chalky, matt finish and is best used on wood. Usually made from milk protein, lime and pigments, and sold as powder, it is mixed with water for application. Milk paint is long-lasting and durable, but as it is flat and coarse, it marks easily. So for pieces that will be handled frequently, the key is to either wax or seal them. Milk paint’s viscosity can be controlled by adjusting the amount of water added.
Paints with a metallic effect are light-reflective, so will help bounce light around a room. Most metallics are a satin paint and many contain real metallic particles. The best way to apply metallic paint is using a roller – brushstrokes will not only be visible, but obvious. If you’re after a luxe look in a bedroom, a metallic feature wall may suit.
Due to the addition of actual sand or fine particles, stone paints can range from the look of worn, smooth stone to the more common rough, grainy finishes. While stone paint can be used for interiors, be wary of using it in areas that your skin may brush up against – it can have the texture of an emery board. Used outside, stone paints add dimension to otherwise flat surfaces like plasterboard.
Pearl finishes offer a soft lustre as they absorb yet reflect light. A little goes a long way when it comes to impact, so use as a highlight, such as a feature wall, rather than on every wall of a room. A bedhead finished in pearl paint would add a subtle shimmer to a room, as would coating photo, mirror or picture frames, a timber chair or cupboard doors.