Between all sorts of fads and trends that are labeled as “hot” or “must-have,” there is an entirely different DIY technique that stands apart from the rest and does not seem to fit into any category. It is close to becoming a timeless one, due to being so nature-inspired, but at the same time, it is versatile and free-flowing, which is not what you often see in classic styles.
Ombre, a term coming from Latin and referring to a historic method of dyeing fabric, has become the name of a popular art technique involving colors or tones that shade, bleed, or drip into each other, resulting in subtle gradations from light to dark or vice versa.
Today, the “ombre effect” can be used to describe all kinds of shading and fading of colors and tones, and created in a variety of projects with different materials. It has been a trend for hair, clothes, interior design and decorative objects, but it has more longevity potential than just a trend.
Ombre is a great way to add color and personality to both modern and traditional decor styles, without the risk of the result being overwhelming. The flowing, airy, or fluid watercolor-like effect is a softer, subtler alternative to accent color pieces, geometric motifs, checks, stripes, prints, or a mix of patterns. It can be applied to many different objects or surfaces, walls, furniture, textiles, and carpets.
Paint is one of the most effective and affordable DIY tools, especially when an old piece of furniture deserves a makeover. The gradient technique is amazingly easy to try on dressers, since this kind of an ‘ombre look’ project does not require any measuring, dividing the surface into zones and blending in between them.
You just start with the most saturated tone on the bottom drawer and work up to the lightest shade on the top drawer, gradually adding more white paint as you proceed from one drawer to another.
The ombre look appears effortlessly, as if all on its own, and although the differences in color may seem very subtle if you compare two drawers that are next to each other, the overall result is very stylish and beautiful.
However, this does not mean you have to start with a strong color or a dark shade. Depending on the effect you want to create, the gradient can be quite dramatic or very subtle, with a soft pastel shade being your darkest one and becoming lighter with each drawer.
An important tip: wash and dry the brush each time you start painting the next drawer.
Creating the effect of colors that gradually fade out can be quite simple, especially if you have a dresser with only three drawers or a small surface to experiment with. It can involve more transitions if you have stairs in the house.
Just like with dressers, the separate parallel elements painted in slightly different shades make it easy to get the ombre look.
An important tip: tape and cover the areas that you are not going to paint, and use different brushes when switching between different shades of color or wash and dry them.
3. The underwater walled
A blue palette is most common with accent walls and entire rooms painted using the ombre technique. This choice is so popular because it resembles the foamy sea colors and evokes the image of a relaxing summer day, adding a calming effect and a watery beach look to any interior.
With wall painting, the method of dividing the wall into horizontal sections and applying paint from the top down or vice versa is most common, just as using a spray bottle and a brush to create the transitions from one shade to another.
However, there are also unconventional and creative techniques, so colors or shades do not necessarily have to blend upwards or downwards and turn into white at the top or bottom of the walls.
You can use a sponge painting technique and let the varying hues drip into each other instead of blending them. This creates a different kind of a watery and mysteriously unique effect.
An important tip: you need to tape the borders and cover the floors to protect them from the paint before you start turning a wall into an ombre masterpiece.
Instead of hiding or covering your radiators, you can incorporate them into the style and décor of the room, or turn them into accent pieces that add a dose of bright color. The ombre technique is a great-looking and easy way to do this because the separate sections just visually combine to create the desired ombre effect without thorough blending.
It is similar to the result you get with drawers and stairs. You can use a brush, a sponge painting technique or even spray paint for this project, but don’t forget to cover the wall and the floor before you start.
The magical power of paint is amazing when you decide to restyle the furniture you have – or your thrift store finds – instead of buying new. If you aim for the ombre look, spray paint is an incredible tool to use as it results in a cloudy effect you need, with minimum effort on your part. Just two colors will be enough to achieve the effect, or you can choose three – a light, medium, and darker shade.
Home decorating fabrics and bedding items, curtains and decorative pillows with all kinds of color gradients are ideal for creating elegant, feminine, and romantic accents that are subtle rather than bold.
Ombre patterns and prints are great for interiors that feature a neutral color palette, making the combinations of dark and light shades more varied and visually attractive. They can also add a splash of color to brighten a neutral room or a surprising element that creates a certain feeling.
Whether you would like to give your planters a lovely makeover, to refresh the look of those that have seen their better days, or to make a nice gift for someone, an ombre or ombre-like technique is a good idea for this.
With planters and other small objects, you do not have to carefully divide the surface into zones or to make smooth transitions between the colors/shades. You can improvise and create unpredictable, asymmetric designs, combine bold and contrasting colors, or use paint in a more linear way, along the top or the bottom of a planter.
8. Old things to new
Again, never underestimate the power of paint when thinking about discarding something with a faded or tattered surface. A brand new look for a weathered item is often just a matter of minutes and tools that are simple to use.
9. Holiday decorations
When you think about holiday decorations and color combinations typically used for them, ombre isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Why not experiment with something a little different, though, including some colors other than traditional?
10. No-paint ombre crafts
Paint is not always necessary for creating the ombre effect – you can do that using yarn or fabric, as well as buttons, stones, shells, sea and beach glass or other small objects.
The best thing about ombre projects and their beauty lies is the versatility and unpredictability of the result that does not have to be perfect and probably even can’t be. Each project turns out to be unique, with a great potential to make a certain space feel more like home.