Painting an ombre wall

Our main bedroom is fairly small and I had grown tired of the busyish pattern we had on a wall paper. I also became convinced it was making the room look smaller. I considered a different wall paper, painting the whole bedroom just white or another colour, but nothing seemed right..

Then I stumbled across in Pinterest to a picture of an ombre wall and BAM! That was it. My next few weeks were occupied thinking which colours to choose, researching the technique and convincing Mr Harlow on this important obsession mission of course. I mean we had to remove the wall paper first and he naturally needed to help me with the painting process..

We decided to go for a “pink sky” effect – you know when the sun is about to set and the sky is just pink and wonderful? Yes, that! I had also painted our adjacent ensuite bathroom blush pink mere months ago and we had plenty of that paint leftover. We also thought it would be nice for it to link to the bathroom as well.

After a lot of debating (in my head) our darkest colour was to be dark purple. We also planned the wall to be very subtle gradient from the top for majority of the wall and then get more intense rapidly towards the bottom meaning the wall would be mainly pink and variation of pink as we didn’t want the dark purple to dominate the wall as the room is small as it is.

We have been using Valspar paints ever since B&Q has been selling them. They have been really good quality, nice to work with and they have a about billion colour options. You can even get a custom colour made. The best thing is that all colours can be mixed as bathroom/kitchen colours so there really is no limit when choosing paint for these rooms unlike with other paint brands. For choosing colours for the ombre wall my only advice here is to put the swatches next to each other and make sure they are complementary colours to each other.

We went with ‘Dusky Pink’ and ‘Cloak of Midnight’. We felt that they complimented our other three walls in the bedroom, which are painted as ‘Aged Parchment’

Removing the wall paper was actually pretty easy after hiring a wall paper stripper. We got ‘er done real quick and took it back to rental place where they refunded some of the money as we had only needed it for half day. Nice.

Washing the sticky wall was definitely the dullest part of this process! It felt like we couldn’t get rid of that stickiness for forever. We then covered up the floor, used masking tape to protect the adjoining walls, ceiling and around the sockets. As a base we painted the wall with the lightest colour ‘Dusky Pink’.


We divided the wall to seven parts with the help of a spirit level and slapped some masking tape along the line horizontally to keep us straight and narrow. The top band was largest and then we made the bands gradually smaller. No real science here, we just did it by the eye.. Remember to step back so you can take in the entire room before signing off that phase. We had to go back and forth to tweak a few things.

I then bought some cheap food containers and mega multipack of paint brushes. These items were super helpful for this project to mix the paints and not having to wash a brush every five minutes for it to be sopping wet was so good. I also got cheap spoons to mix the paints too.


We had blush pink ‘Dusky Sand’ for the top band and a tester pot (which was plenty btw) of dark purple ‘Cloak of Midnight’ that was going to be our bottom band. This left us five colours to mix. We started with the lightest. Well it turns out that only a few small drops of the dark purple made a huge difference with such a pale colour like ‘Dusky Sand’. Our first “lightest” colour wave actually ended up on the wall on a band 3 or 4! We did a little dummy run on a piece of paper to see how the colours looked next to each other and picked the best mixes. We also ended up with a few extra ones too that we discarded.

Making 4

Once the base coat was entirely dry finally it was time to start painting! We started off with the unmixed blush pink at the top – Mr Harlow from the left and me from the right. We purposefully used quite a lot of paint towards the bottom of the first band, but didn’t go all the way to the border of it. It was time to pick up our first mixed paint container! We took a generous amount of paint on to the paintbrush and then started off with painting at the top of the second band. On the border we mixed the two colours by doing X-shaped movement between the two paints all the way along the wall. As it was a sunny and windy day and we had the window open our paint was drying super fast so we had to work really quickly! Again we finished at the bottom of the second border and picked up the next colour using this technique all the way to the bottom. Voila!


I read somewhere that you could use sponges instead of paintbrushes to make the gradience more subtle. Also you could do other “shapes” than horizontal lines like we did, the possibilities are endless with this technique! As I kept saying to Mr Harlow who was looking doubtful at best in most stages of this project – It’s only paint and it’s easy to re-paint or re-do the ombre wall if we don’t like it. No big deal.

The photos don’t really do it justice, I took these with my phone as opposed to my ‘proper’ camera. But as it is – not only do we like it, we love it! It makes the north facing small bedroom that little bit sunnier. 🙂