Exterior wall painting techniques for a mid-century modern look

If you are looking to add some personality and charm to your home’s exterior, or perhaps you are just bored of the plain painted walls, then achieving a sleek and retro-inspired look on your exterior walls might just be the right thing for you. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to break the bank to achieve this look. In this article, we will be guiding you through the fundamentals of retro-inspired walls and how to achieve them on your exterior walls.

What is a Sleek and Retro-Inspired Look?

Retro-inspired walls are walls that take their cues from past eras, usually from the 60s and 70s. This look is characterized by bold patterns and geometric shapes with a mix of pop art. The colors used are often bright and bold, with a preference for oranges, yellows, and blues. This style is popular and can be achieved on any wall, whether your wall is brick, stucco, or wood.

Preparing Your Wall

To achieve the sleek and retro-inspired look, you must start by preparing your wall. The following steps will guide you on how to prepare your wall:

  1. Clean the wall using water and a scrub brush to remove any dirt and debris.
  2. Repair any cracks or chips in the wall using textured paintable caulk or spackle. Allow the repair to dry.
  3. If your wall has been previously painted, sand it slightly using a sandpaper with 120 grit or a wire brush to create texture that will help the paint adhere better to the wall.

Painting Techniques for a Sleek and Retro-Inspired Look

Once the wall is prepared, you can start painting. There are a variety of painting techniques that you can use to achieve a sleek and retro-inspired look. Here are three popular and effective techniques:


Sponging is an easy technique that can add texture and depth to your wall. This technique requires a sea sponge and two colors of paint. Follow these steps to achieve a sponged look:

  1. Paint your wall with your base color and allow it to dry.
  2. Dip your sponge lightly in your contrasting color paint, then dab it onto a piece of cardboard to remove excess paint.
  3. Dab the sponge onto your wall creating a pattern by overlapping the sponge marks. Ensure the sponge is randomly applied.


Stenciling is a technique that can be used to create a retro-inspired border or design on your wall. The following are the steps you should follow:

  1. Select your stencil design and tape it securely to your wall.
  2. Choose your contrasting paint color and apply it through the stencil using a stencil brush.
  3. Remove the stencil carefully and let the paint dry.


Stripes are a classic retro-inspired design that can add some flair to your exterior walls. Follow these steps to achieve stripes:

  1. Generally, two to three colors are used when creating stripes on walls.
  2. Starting from top to bottom mark every 4 to 6 inches. This measurement will depend on the width you want the stripes to be.
  3. Using a painter’s tape, create horizontal lines on the marked points.
  4. Apply the second color paint to the parts where tape is not covering. Ensure the paint has dried before removing the tape.
  5. Repeat step 4 for the third color if necessary.

Tips for Achieving the Sleek and Retro-Inspired Look

If you want to achieve the perfect sleek and retro-inspired look, there are some tips you can follow. These tips are:

  1. Pick bright, bold colors that will make your wall pop. The 60s and 70s were all about bright colors and bold patterns.
  2. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns. Stripes, dots, and zig-zags can all be used together to create a fun and visually interesting wall.
  3. Mix up the textures to add visual interest. Sponging, stenciling, and stripes all add texture to the walls.
  4. Add accents to your design to make it complete. For instance, you can add some retro light fixtures or outdoor furniture, like molded plastic chairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long does it take to achieve the sleek and retro-inspired look on my exterior wall?

Generally, the painting process can be completed in two to three days.

  1. Can I achieve the sleek and retro-inspired look on any wall type?

Yes, you can achieve this look on any wall type, including brick, stucco, and wood.

  1. What is the cost of achieving the sleek and retro-inspired look?

The cost of achieving this look will depend on the painting technique and the size of the wall. However, all the techniques mentioned above are budget-friendly and easy to do.


Achieving a sleek and retro-inspired look on your exterior walls is an excellent way to add some personality and color to your home. The techniques outlined in this article – sponging, stenciling, and stripes – are all simple and budget-friendly, making them accessible to everyone. With these tips and techniques, you’ll be well on your way to creating a fun and visually interesting exterior wall.

Fix It Painting

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Need help?
Hi there,
Can I offer you a FREE no obligation quote?