Ombré painted walls

Would you care to "Tangerine Tango"? Flame 210B-7 from Behr Paints at The Home Depot.

Would you care to dance the "Tangerine Tango"? Flame 210B-7 from Behr Paints, from The Home Depot DreamBook.

The luminous orange of “Tangerine Tango” 2012’s “Colour of the Year,” according to the colour experts at Pantone – is many things, but “shy” isn’t one of them. A paint colour that’s as dramatic as this calls for an application that’s equally daring, which why I’m dusting off a term that I haven’t uttered since the mid-1990s. That’s right folks, it’s time to revisit the “painting technique.”

Now, before your nightmarish sponge painting experiences from the past start bubbling to the surface, let me assure you this particular painting technique is a different beast from its frumpy forebears. It’s a fashion-forward treatment that borrows from one of the latest runway looks, seamlessly translating a couture trend to decor with a minimum of fuss, as no specialized tools are required. Ladies and gents, I give you… The ombré wall.


This hallway in The Home Depot's DreamBook has been treated to an ombré-inspired paint treatment.

This high-impact hallway from has been treated to a stunning ombré-inspired paint treatment. The paint colours from top to bottom are Behr's Friendship 220A-2, Orange Grove 220B-4, Tangerine Dream 210B-5 and Flame 210B-7, from The Home Depot DreamBook.

The key element of ombré is this gradation of colour: a subtle shift from super-saturated to softer shades of the same hue. To take this ambitious-looking (but deceptively easy) effect to your walls, simply measure out the horizontal stripes so that they’re evenly spaced from floor to ceiling, and then mark the borders of those stripes with painters’ tape.

And when it comes to choosing the actual paints, the blueprint is right in front of your face…

Let paint chips themselves inform you colour selection for an ombré paint treatment.

Let paint chips themselves inform your colour selection for an ombré paint treatment. From The Home Depot DreamBook.

Behr’s paint chips from The Home Depot are the only tool you need to guide your colour picks for this project, as they group four related tints that are guaranteed to play well together. The Home Depot DreamBook suggests ramping up the drama by choosing shades that are at least two steps away from each other to achieve a more pronounced ombré effect.

Still skeptical about my predictions for a renaissance of specialized paint techniques? Get inspired with eight more painting projects in The Home Depot DreamBook, available online now!