If paint packs a serious style punch, there's even more potential in decorative finishes that add texture along with a healthy dose of color. Don't think for a minute about sponged or ragged walls — those garish and sloppy techniques that had the design world shuddering in the 80s — these are sophisticated and often subtle treatments that add another layer of personality to a space.
Above, Jersey Ice Cream Co. designed this London flat for Sklye McAlpine, using a pale pink plaster for the walls.
Here, a limewash from Swedish company Kalklitir that comes in powder form and give walls a matte finish that's subtle and textured. It's a natural product and very environmentally friendly. You can read more about the application process here.
Annie Sloan's chalk paint gives walls a matte brushed look that's both soft and saturated. This room from her recent book Room Recipes for Style & Colour (via Lobster & Swan).
The mudroom in this 1865 Long Island farmhouse, from Elle Decor, features hand-painted strié walls (French for striped). Done all over, the paint might look a little over the top, but the vertical bands are just enough to add interest.
This riad in Morocco, seen in Lonny, combines deep color with tadelakt, a plastering technique traditional to the country.
An ombré wall can go off the rails pretty quickly, but this pale pink space from House Beautiful is delicate and beautiful. Click over for their best tips for getting this subtle effect.