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How to paint fading color on a wall

Updated April 13, 2017

"Fading colour" is one way to describe a gradient effect of paint on a surface. The colours you use rise or descend in intensity by degrees, adding interest and drama to a wall. Here are step by step instructions on how to to paint an accent wall using fading colour that goes from light at the top to darkest at the bottom.

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  1. Tape off your baseboards, using the painter's blue tape, if you do not want them to be part of the design.

  2. Using white or the lightest colour you want to use, paint a horizontal area of an equal width from one side of the wall to another with a roller, starting at the ceiling.

  3. Using the next-darker colour, paint a horizontal band from one side of the wall to another, of equal width.

  4. Wet the paint brush or sea sponge with water. Brush or sponge should be moist but not too wet.

  5. Blur the lines between one band of colour and the next using the wet paint brush or sea sponge. Rinse off the brush or sea sponge until the water runs clear between uses. That way you get only the colours you are blurring at that moment on the wall.

  6. As you move lower on the wall, use progressively darker paint or add more and more of the darker paint to the white paint to achieve the gradient effect.

  7. Continue painting a horizontal band of the next darker colour and blurring the transition with the paint brush until you have completed your wall.

  8. Tip

    Use the extra paint pails to create exact measures every time you create a hue, in the case you need to reproduce the same colour to complete an area.

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Things You'll Need

  • Satin interior paint in colours that vary in intensity (or white paint and a dark colour to mix the various shades)
  • Paint brush or a sea sponge
  • Roller and covers
  • Paint pails
  • Paint tray and liner
  • Painter's blue tape

About the Author

Wanda Brito was born to write. She has written professionally since 1998 - developing surveys, presentations and marketing research reports — and has been writing and proofreading freelance since 2007. Her work has been featured on She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish literature from Colgate University and a Master of Science in administration from Metropolitan College of New York.

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