How to Achieve Beautiful Blended Paint Finishes

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Furniture painting can be anything but boring when you use unique combinations of colors. Blending two or more colors on the same piece can be stunning, and I’m seeing that technique used more and more.

Though we love the results, often the first thought is, what colors do I use? What looks good together? Where do I start? Here are a few tips and ideas to get you inspired.


  • Use a different brush for each color, whether you have two different paints or ten. The colors will naturally mix as you are dipping and blending, but this keeps them from all turning into one muddy mess. 

  • Pour your paint into something besides the original container to work from. You don’t want to mix up what’s left in the can when you have another color on your brush.

  • Having your paint in liquid storage containers like these (available in 8 oz. and 12 oz.) make this task easier, since you can decant the amount of paint you need and your brush never goes inside. These HDPE plastic bottles don’t rust like metal cans and keep your paint fresh longer.

  • Thin your paint if necessary. If the paint is too thick, you won’t achieve that smooth transition of colors. Use General Finishes Extender, Floetrol or distilled water to get a nice consistency.

  • Keep the paint wet as you blend. Have a spray mist bottle of water on hand. I like these from Houseables because they disperse a fine, continuous mist of water with no drips.  

Keep colors separated and don’t work out of the original can. Use a different brush for each color.

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A spray mist bottle like this can help your paint stay wet for ease of blending.


WoodRiver Liquid Storage Containers allow you to dispense just what you need.

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  • Use a soft brush. I personally like round ones like the Black Dog Salvage Round Furniture Brushes. They don’t have the harsh edges, so the blending looks more seamless. Cheap foam brushes or chip brushes don’t work well for this technique.
  • If you do two coats, your first one doesn’t have to be as precise and well-blended. Just get the colors in the basic place. 

  • Work on one section at a time. Again, since the paint needs to stay wet, concentrate on one area (a side, a door, etc.) before moving on.
  • Colors can be blended across, up and down or even diagonal if you want. I like blending darker on the edges coming in light towards the middle or darker towards the bottom. Use long, even strokes.

  • For an easy way of picking colors, select three colors of a similar shade – light, mid-tone and dark.
  • Ombre is popular. Start with the darker shade (with no mixing) on the bottom, do full strength lighter on the top and blend them to meet in the middle. You can add as many colors in between as you like.
  • If you don’t like how your project is looking, put down another coat and try again. It’s just paint!
  • All of this is subjective of course. Use your imagination and paint what you like. Some painters like to leave their color transitions more jaggedy rather than smoothly blended. Others like a “drippy” look with paints bleeding down onto each other, sort of like it’s melting. I’ve also seen a “criss-crossy” technique to feather the borders of different colors together. There is no right or wrong! These are just some ideas to get your creativity on!

General Finishes Milk Paints in China Blue and Westminster Green are blended on this cabinet door, with the middle left open for a third color.

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A purple mix of Blue Ridge and Appalachian Sunset Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint is blended into the middle. (Still blending here.)

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Sometimes the hardest part of using a blending technique is selecting your colors. But the good news is, you can find inspiration practically anywhere.

  • Be inspired by nature:  rainbows, the ocean, a sunset. Bam! There are your colors.
  • Browse decor magazines and websites. Study how decorators combine colors.
  • Think about a painting you love. Would some of those colors work together on a piece of furniture?
  • Give thought to the colors you use in your own home. Study a rug, pillow or comforter for colors that complement each other. You can find inspiration in something as simple as wallpaper or a pretty scarf.
  • Create paint sticks with some of the colors you have in mind. Try different combos together, and see what jumps out at you.
  • Finally, everyone’s favorite: Pinterest. What did we do before Pinterest? Type in “color combinations,” “blended paint on furniture” or “complementary colors,” and fall down the Pinterest rabbit hole for a while.


Here are a few combos to inspire your artistic imagination. Get out those paint brushes!

Deep Blue Sea: Patina Green, Blue Moon and Twilight GF Milk Paint

Earth and Sky: Halcyon Blue, Gulf Stream Blue, Blue Moon and Westminster Green GF Milk Paint

Baby Blues: Snow White, Antique White and Halcyon Blue GF Milk Paint

Ocean Camo: Antique White, Millstone, Basil and Coastal Blue GF Milk Paint

Delicate and Demure: Ballet Pink, Antique White and Basil GF Milk Paint

Denim Blues: GF Millstone, BDS Dirt, GF China Blue and GF Coastal Blue

Beach Blend: Millstone, Patina Green and China Blue GF Milk Paint

Peaceful Pastels: Snow White, Ballet Pink, Harvest Yellow, Persian Blue and Key West Blue GF Milk Paint

Rainbow Bright: BDS I Need a Bandage, GF Persimmon, BDS Star City Sunshine, BDS Go Green, BDS Blue Ridge, GF Klein Blue and BDS That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

Sunset Serenity: BDS Star City Sunshine, BDS Caution Dogs at Work, GF Coral Crush, GF Persimmon and BDS Appalachian Sunset

A Modern Neutral: Snow White, Harvest Yellow and Perfect Gray GF Milk Paint

Grays for Days: Reverent Gray, Empire Gray, Queenstown Gray and Lamp Black GF Milk Paint

Are you ready to give it a try? The blended paint technique can be a lot of fun to create, and the results will have you hooked! Experiment with different color combinations, and try something new by thinking creatively. Let the folks at Woodcraft help you with paints, brushes, topcoats and friendly advice.  We’re here to help!

We hope you’ll be inspired!

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