Sponging is one of the quickest and easiest decorative paint techniques.

It involves simply dipping a sponge in paint, then lightly dabbing it onto the desired surface.According to Decorating magazine, sponging works well on furniture and walls, and offers a variety of effects. By sponging light colors over a dark base, for example, a very different look will be achieved than if sponging a dark color over a light base coat.

Likewise, the results will be very different when sponging on one color than if sponging on several shades. By using two or more colors, more subtle results can be achieved than if choosing only one shade, especially if the single shade markedly contrasts with the base coat.

Depending on the size of the pores in the sponge selected and spacing used, either a dense or an airy surface can be created. The best bet for a soft, dappled effect is to use a natural sea sponge, not a synthetic, and to choose one with medium-sized holes.

Begin by soaking the sponge in clean water to make it soft and pliable.

As a general rule, the paint is sponged onto a wall that already has been painted the desired base color. A semi-gloss latex can be used both as a base coat and for the sponging, but a solvent-based paint or tint glaze will give a more cloudy effect. For one-color sponging, simply dip a sponge lightly into the paint and press it to the wall. Space the patches of color as evenly as possible, but alter the sponge's position frequently to achieve an irregular, mottled effect.

For a multicolor application, dab the first color over the entire surface, keeping the prints well spaced. When the surface is dry, apply the second, third or fourth colors using separate sponges for each shade. Concentrate on blank spots, but overlap the first prints as well. Remember, too, that the final color added will be the most dominant.