Use a faux painting technique to instantly transform your entire basement.

How to Paint a Concrete Block Basement Wall to Look Like Stone

by Eric Jonas

If you’re tired of staring at the boring concrete block walls in the basement, you don’t have to take on a giant home renovation project to give them a brand new look. A little patience and creativity and the once ugly, monotone blocks will look like they’ve been replaced by a decorative stone wall, made from neutral colors that blend in with any color scheme. Now you can redecorate over and over again and the blocks will coordinate with the decor every time.

Clean the concrete block walls with a store-bought concrete cleaner or a homemade mixture of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Allow the walls to dry thoroughly.

Prime the block wall with a concrete primer and allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply a coat of ivory or light beige paint over top of the primer and allow it to dry. This coat will resemble the grout lines in between the painted stones when you’re finished.

Pour a little paint into each of the four shallow, disposable containers, one paint color per container. Each of the blocks will be painted with two of the paint colors in the following combinations: gray and cream; tan and cream; gray and brown; and tan and brown.

Label the base color for each of the blocks with a dab of paint from a small artist’s paintbrush. This is your planning stage, allowing you to space out the colors and prevent the same color pair from appearing side by side too often.

Return to the edge of one wall and the first labeled block and begin applying your base color with a 2-inch-wide paintbrush. Wipe off the brush on the side of the box or tray. Dab the paintbrush in the second color right away and apply it over top of the same block in a random -- almost messy -- manner. Use a sponge to blend the edges of the top color. Stay out of the painted grout lines as you work.

Apply paint to the next block that has been labeled for the same color pair and repeat until all of those pairs have been painted. Move on to the next color pair, working one block at a time and continuing until each block has been painted with the designated pair of colors.

Items you will need

  • Concrete cleaner (or vinegar)
  • Concrete primer
  • Interior latex paint (ivory, medium gray, tan, cream and medium brown)
  • 4 shallow, disposable containers
  • Small artist’s paintbrush
  • 2-inch-wide paintbrush
  • Sponge


  • If any paint gets into the grout lines accidentally, wait for the paint to dry and touch it up with the grout color using a small artist’s paintbrush.


  • Simply Creative Faux Finishes with Gary Lord: 30 Cutting Edge Techniques for Walls, Floors and Ceilings; Gary Lord
  • The Paint Effects Bible: 100 Recipes for Faux Finishes; Kerry Skinner

About the Author

Eric Jonas has been writing in small-business advertising and local community newsletters since 1998. Prior to his writing career, he became a licensed level II gas technician and continues to work in the field, also authoring educational newsletters for others in the business. Jonas is currently a graduate student with a Bachelor of Arts in English and rhetoric from McMaster University.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images