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Pictures of Sponge Painting Walls in My Mother-in-Law's Bathroom

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Portion of sponge painted wall with mirrored reflection in bathroom

Portion of sponge painted wall with mirrored reflection in bathroom

Faux Painting

Sponge painting my mother-in-law's bathroom transformed a very dated look into something more contemporary.

My husband and I were in a retail store one day when a portion of the store was painted and then ragged. The woman doing the ragging (a faux finishing technique) explained how she was accomplishing the project as to the thinning of the paint and how she handled the actual ragging process. We were watching her while she was doing the work.

After seeing the result, I decided to try doing it. We had painted many rooms, including the outside of our house, while living in Wisconsin, so we were very familiar with painting. Faux finishing was just a new way of applying paint to get a different type of look.

Faux finishing of walls was reasonably new when my husband and I offered to do some repainting of walls at my mother-in-law's home in San Antonio. Unlike us, she did not spend her time looking at newly constructed homes.

Often there are newer subdivisions that have a Tour of Homes. Completely decorated with furniture and accessories and open for viewing for a specific time frame, the ticket prices to go through the homes are given to a particular charity. Thus one can have a good time while also helping a charitable cause.

The homes are for sale, as is the furniture, and the designers are usually on hand to talk to the people if they have any questions. The builders are also there to discuss their custom homes with potential customers who may wish to learn more details about that specific home they are viewing or learn about having that builder construct a different one.

It is an excellent opportunity for builders and designers to pick up new customers for their services, possibly. As just a form of entertainment for the vast majority of people attending a home tour, it is also an easy way to stay abreast of new trends.

Faux finishing of walls with various techniques has been popular now for many years. We saw numerous examples of different treatments and unique effects brought about by using nothing more than paint while we were attending those home tours.

Painting and Ragging Gift

As a gift to my mother-in-law, my husband and I offered to repaint her living room many years ago. She was delighted! She would have hired someone to do it for her, but she also knew that we knew how to do that task as she had seen the results in the houses in which we had lived. Thus she felt confident in the eventual outcome of the new look.

However, she had never heard of ragging. On one short wall in her living room, I offered to rag the wall to provide a contrast to the rest of the room. This ragging was the first time I would be practicing this new technique since viewing it in that store with my husband! She was dubious but trusted my sense of style and artistry. We also assured her that if she did not like it, we would repaint the wall to match the others, so she had little to lose.

Moving the upright piano away from the wall, I began the ragging process after the first background coat of paint had dried. My husband helped with the regular painting, but I would be the one to do the faux finishing. Now I will admit...for someone who had never seen the result of such an endeavor, it does look a bit crazy, especially at the beginning of the ragging process. My mother-in-law took one look at it, and to say that she was dubious was an understatement!

The color was only a few shades lighter than the background wall color, so it would be a muted look that only hinted a difference when dried. When I saw my mother-in-law trying to evaluate whether she liked the wall's look in progress, I reminded her that when it was dry, if she did not like it, we could repaint it. That gave her some confidence to let me continue that first of what would become many ragging and faux finishing projects ahead in not only her home but my mother's home and ours as well.

Mission accomplished! My mother-in-law truly liked her newly painted and decorated living room, and it drew many compliments from her friends and relatives. She even invited her next-door neighbors to see the ragged wall because they also had never heard of that type of painting.

Sponge Painting Her Bathroom

When that living room became such a success, we offered to transform her very outdated bathroom into a more modern look by sponge painting it. By now, she had more confidence, and with the assurance that we could repaint if she did not like the outcome, we proceeded to take that old wallpaper off the walls.

Once again, she liked the new fresher look and was inspired to purchase a new blind and curtain for the window treatment. A new shower curtain completed the look. Before and after pictures included in this post tell the story better than mere words.

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If you can paint a wall, you can faux finish a wall. Google the many sites which offer information or "how-to" videos. Visit paint stores where you can pick up literature and supplies, making the projects more accessible and understandable.

When we watched that lady ragging the wall in the retail establishment many years ago, she thinned the paint she would be utilizing to rag the wall with about nine parts of water. Using a broad paintbrush, she stroked the color onto the already painted and dried wall, and it immediately began dripping. Using her crumpled rag, she started dabbing it in different directions and random patterns.

Most videos suggest using glazes instead of water. Water works just fine, depending upon the look one desires. If one desires a bit of a shine as the undercoat, use a gloss or semi-gloss paint. Want that look on top? Use flat paint as the first coat and use a semi-gloss to rag or sponge paint.

A quart of paint goes a long way when sponging or ragging because of thinning it out with water or glazes to various consistencies. Don't be afraid to try these techniques for yourself. The cost is minimal, and the impact can be as subtle or as strong as one desires. Do try it out first in a small area to make sure you like it.

Experiment with the paints. You are in total control! Try a darker look over a lighter base coat or vice versa. Try multiple colors. The dried look is always different than when it is still wet. Keep that in mind and allow for drying time when testing the colors you think you wish to utilize.

Important note: DO faux-finish painting one entire room, or if doing one wall, the whole wall at one time. It is sometimes hard to blend an area once wholly dried with a new wet one. I learned that the hard way and had to re-do an entire room one time, starting from scratch!

Cloud Sponging Technique (Something a little different for making cards, etc.)


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 24, 2018:

Hi Paula,

I was laughing when I read your comment. I guess it does take a bit of bravery as well as talent to tackle some projects like faux painting. I applaud you for your sewing talents as well as other things.

Suzie from Carson City on August 24, 2018:

Peggy.... I absolutely love sponge painting! The look is so unique and rooms look bright & beautiful. The photos here are just fabulous. This requires TALENT, a good eye and steady hand.

My DIL does sponge painting and I admired it so much in their house, I insisted upon trying it in my bathroom. aHEM!! Get ready to laugh! it takes guts for me to admit this, but what the heck.........

Let me put it this way~~When I was done desecrating my bathroom, it looked very much like I allowed 3 young, hyper 12 year olds, to have a paintball war in my bathroom. Or, if you prefer, one did not need to be sick, to barf upon entering my bathroom. That talent I mentioned? Yeah, I don't have it. I could not paint over it fast enough before anyone saw it.

You can imagine how impressed I am with this article!! I need to stick with sewing, adult coloring books and of course, writing. I may never use a sponge again for any reason............Peace, Paula (Au fait!! I know you're laughing!)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 24, 2018:

Hi C E Clark,

I have hung some wallpaper in the past and have also done a lot of painting. I did not know that you are an interior designer. That would be a fun job to be able to help people pull rooms together. Thanks for the shares.

C E Clark from North Texas on August 24, 2018:

The different painting techniques are really interesting, I think, and though they can be a lot of work, I think they're easier than hanging wallpaper. Of course people who are good at hanging paper would likely disagree. I've known a few, and they can hang paper in a snap.

I especially liked the photo of the bathroom with the floral paint job. Bright and cheery. I don't know if I mentioned it in my profile, but I have a diploma in interior design.

This is a great article and very informative. Posted to FB and Amazing HubPages.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 31, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

It is amazing what can be done with faux finishing techniques. I once marbilized some gourds and have also done some ragging and other painting techniques. The effects can be quite beautiful.

C E Clark from North Texas on October 18, 2014:

A faux finish can be amazing in its effect and there are so many different ones. They can be used on so many different surfaces and materials. I've done a lot of painting over the years but never tried this. I was going to put a faux marble top on a table, but I never got to it. Had everything to do it with . . .

Voted up, BUI, posted to FB, pinned to my 'Art & Interior Design' board, and will share on HP.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 04, 2012:

Hi RTalloni,

For people who have never seen the final effects of faux finishing, when one just begins to transform a wall, it is hard to imagine the end result. At least that was my mother-in-law's reaction. She ended up loving her new sponge painted bathroom and the ragged living room wall. Thanks for your comment. :)

RTalloni on October 04, 2012:

It is amazing what a sponge and a little paint can do! The story of your mom-in-law's initial dubiousness makes me smile because I've seen narrowed eyes many times. :) The effects can be endless as shown in the videos you've included. Neat stuff!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 05, 2012:

Hi Charlu,

That was now many years ago when I did that sponge painting of my mother-in-law's bathroom. I have ragged quite a few walls in several people's homes and faux finished one at my mother's home actually using dried stalks of a firecracker bush. It ended up looking like wallpaper! Really pretty! Thanks for your comment on this hub as well as your votes. :)

Charlu from Florida on April 04, 2012:

I love sponging because it's never the same. I love the BR and have an accent wall in my bedroom that is almost the same. I've never heard of cloud sponging and am definitely going to have to try it. Voted ups across the board on this one.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2011:

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

My mother-in-law loved the transformation of her bathroom after I had sponge painted it. I kept it in color tones that she liked. Glad that you enjoyed these pictures and thanks for the comment.

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on March 26, 2011:

Peggy, you did a beautiful job. Sponge painting can brighten a room and make it seem larger. I like the colors you used.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 16, 2011:

Hi Tony,

Sponge painting or ragging or a myriad of other faux finishing techniques certainly can transform a room for very little money. Thanks for the comment.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on January 16, 2011:

Fascinating - and what a wonderful way to paint a wall! Must do wonders for dull and uninteresting rooms.

Thanks for sharing.

Love and peace


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 03, 2010:

Hi Micky,

I don't know about the wonderful part. I was merely happy to transform my mother-in-law's bathroom with some sponge painting. Ragged her living room and also did some faux finishing at my mother's house, our house, and helped a friend in her kitchen do the ragging. That was a few years ago. The nice thing about it is that it is only paint which does not cost a fortune. So if the effect is not what is desired...more paint can solve it. Thanks for the comment.

Micky Dee on December 03, 2010:

You are so wonderful! I love your work and all your kindness. God bless you Peggy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 28, 2010:

Hello TurtleDog,

I agree with you. After sponge painting or ragging or using some other faux finishing technique, a few other cosmetic changes can really update a room. Thanks for the comments and votes.

TurtleDog on November 28, 2010:

Great painting technique. I've done both. Your pictures tell a better story than I can though. Hang the right decor after using these techniques and it really creates a great room. Thanks! Voted UP! Very useful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 26, 2010:

Hello DavidLivingston,

Glad that you found this hub about the Pictures of Sponge Painting walls in my mother-in-law's bathroom of interest. It certainly transformed that room! Thanks for the comment.

DavidLivingston on November 25, 2010:

That seems pretty neat! I like it, very good and interesting. Thanks.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 23, 2010:

Hi billyaustindillon,

Faux finishing techniques like ragging, sponge painting and more can really create great looking walls and objects. I once met a woman that did almost everything she had including the garage floor to toilet seats and lamp shades. Although that might seem to be a bit much, it was well done. I haven't been inspired enough to tackle the garage floor. Ha!

billyaustindillon on July 23, 2010:

Very impressive - my wife has used the technique on a desk she did - looks fantastic looking like an antique. You did a super job in your mother in law's bathroom. I need to revisit some of these techniques.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2010:

Hi Journey,

Glad to hear that the video was helpful. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this sponge painting hub.

Nyesha Pagnou MPH from USA on May 09, 2010:

Hi Peggy W., this seems like a great technique. The ragging a wall video was helpful. I love the pics. Thanks for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 09, 2010:

Hi Ethel,

My mother-in-law really liked the change after being sponge painted also. That wallpaper may have been popular at one time but it looked very dated when we decided to re-do the room. Thanks for the visit.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on May 09, 2010:

You did a great job Peggy. It looks classy and calming. It was pretty before but a bit "busy"

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 05, 2010:

Hi reddog1027,

Good luck with your move and good luck with your sponge painting or other faux finishing of your walls when you are ready. When you just might want to take before and after pictures and write your own hub! :-)

reddog1027 from Atlanta, GA on May 05, 2010:


I have bookmarked this hub. I will be relocating and most homes that are up for sale have such boring walls.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2010:

Greetings borge_009,

Happy to have introduced you to new ideas about painting...things like sponge painting and ragging. There are many other techniques as well which can transform the look of a room for the cost of paint. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2010:

Hi agusfanani,

Knowing how you like to redo things so creatively, you will enjoy the effects of sponge painting and/or ragging. You can even use them on projects other than walls! Let me know how you do with it...I'll be interested. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2010:

Greetings suny51,

Happy to hear that you liked this sponge painting hub. Thanks for the comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2010:

Hi jill of alltrades,

My mother-in-law truly loved that sponge painting and ragged walls when she still lived in that home in San Antonio. She moved over here to Houston for the last years of her life. Thanks for the visit and comment.

borge_009 from Philippines on April 26, 2010:

I have never realized this technique will work. I love the designs. great job on this hub.

agusfanani from Indonesia on April 25, 2010:

I really have to admit that it's something new for me. I have some walls at home which need repainting and I think I can try this on them. Thanks for sharing, Peggy W.

suny51 on April 25, 2010:

i love to watch paintings with unique ideas.

jill of alltrades from Philippines on April 25, 2010:

Wow! This looks real nice! I'm sure your mother in law loves her bathroom!

Thank you for sharing this technique Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2010:

Hi habee,

It is amazing what sponging or ragging or using one of the many other faux finishing techniques can do to transform or decorate a room when painting. Thanks for the comment.

Holle Abee from Georgia on April 25, 2010:

My oldest daughter did this in her bedroom. It looks great!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2010:

Hi katyzzz,

Yes, my mother-in-law's bathroom before and after pictures really show the change. A little sponge painting made a huge difference in the look. Thanks for stopping by.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 24, 2010:

Hello nikki1,

My mother-in-law really liked the end result of the sponge painting in her bathroom as well as the ragged wall in her living room. Have a picture of the rest of her living room, but not the ragged wall. That is why it is not shown in this hub. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

katyzzz from Sydney, Australia on April 24, 2010:

Wonderful hub, the changes are amazing, they look great.

nikki1 on April 23, 2010:

Great job. I love the design.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 23, 2010:

Greetings Hello, hello,

Let me know if you try sponging or ragging techniques in your home. It is an inexpensive way to transform the look of a room. If you don't like problem! Paint over it! That is the beauty of this. You can really get creative once you see how easy it is to accomplish.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 23, 2010:

Hello kowality,

That would be fun to see the different effects those painters can accomplish for the filming industry. There are so many techniques that can be utilized besides sponging and ragging which was shown in this hub. I used a dead branch from a firecracker bush to create an amazing look at my mother's house. Actually looked like wallpaper. Maybe I should show that in another hub? Thanks for your interesting comment.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on April 23, 2010:

That is amazing. I am glad you wrote this hub and showed all the techniques. Great idea. Thank you.

kowality from Everywhere on April 22, 2010:

Nice Hub Peggy. I work with scenic painters in the film industry and they are amazing at fooling everyone. For the most part, we can get away with some pretty good looking finishes like you've outlined here.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 22, 2010:

Hi dahoglund,

Ha! I agree that painting is no longer the easy job it was when I was younger, alas! Think with a few aches and pains to follow, I could still yield a roller and brush and tackle some faux finishing projects like I used to do. In fact I have been considering ragging a guest bathroom for some time now. Thanks for the first comment.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on April 22, 2010:

I'll admit I have never even heard of these techniques. Although I enjoyed painting when I was young, I find it more of a challenge now. I'll have to think about these new things and how they would work for me.Good to know about.

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