How to Paint an Ombre Wall

A red and pink ombre wall in a dining room.
What You'll Need
3 shades of paint
3 paint trays
3 paint rollers
3 paintbrushes
2 mixing containers
2 mixing sticks
Painter's tape
Measuring tape
Drop cloths

Painting a wall using the ombré technique can turn a plain surface into a work of art. Although painting a gradient may seem complicated at first glance, using the ombré technique is easier than you might think. Follow these simple steps to create the ombré wall of your dreams in no time flat.

Step 1 - Choose the Paint for Your Ombré Look

Choosing the right colors for an ombré wall can be tricky. You can use a blend of colors that work together, or three different shades of the same hue. Colors that are close to each other on the color wheel are usually safe for the ombré technique. You can also skip a shade if you want a more dramatic look, though this may be harder to blend smoothly.

Step 2 - Paint Prep

Start by taping off adjacent walls and spreading out drop cloths to protect floors and carpet. Then lay out each paint with its own roller and paint tray. Laying things out will help ensure the project is finished before each layer dries. Before you start painting, make sure the room has plenty of ventilation and everything is well covered to avoid paint damage.

Step 3 - Take Measurements

A blue and white ombre wall in a bedroom behind a bed.

You should determine where you want the colors to fade before you start painting. If you want an equal gradient, then you will need to measure the height of the wall and divide that number by three. If you want a more natural looking fade, mark where you think the mix should start. Just as long as the fade is noticeable, you can start the gradient wherever you like. For this project, you will need to mark three areas of transition.

Step 4 - First Ombré Coat

With the walls prepped, it's time to paint the first coat. Start by pouring the lightest shade or color into a paint tray. Using a paint roller, cover the entire wall with the color. This will serve as a base for the gradient. Use a ladder or an extension on the paint roller for the hard-to-reach areas.

Step 5 - Second Ombré Coat

If you are going for a dark to light fade, then the second coat should be the darkest color or shade. Reverse this if you want the fade to start with the lightest color on top. Begin by pouring the dark paint into its own paint tray. Then apply the paint starting from the top of the wall to wherever you marked the gradient to start.

Step 6 - Third Ombré Coat

Wood painted in a pink ombre style.

Pour the medium shade of paint into its own tray. Starting a little over an inch from the dark stripe, apply the medium color to the wall. Stop wherever you marked the gradient to transition next. This should leave a light stripe above the medium color (and below the darker shade) and a larger area of light color below.

Step 7 - Mix Colors for Transition

You need to paint the transition strips before the paint dries. Start by mixing together the medium and darker shades of color in a mixing container. Stir the mixture until it's well combined. Using a wet brush, add the color between dark and medium colors. When painting the transition strips, blur the colors as best you can to create a smooth gradient. Keep applying paint until the transition is smooth.

Step 8 - Paint Final Transition

Pour the lightest and medium color paints in a container and mix well. Apply the new color with a fresh paint brush just like you did the previous transition ombré strip. This mixture should be applied between the medium and light sections of the wall. Blur the paint line until you are satisfied with the transition. After you are happy with how things look, let the paint dry before use.