When I replaced my ancient one piece range with new appliances I was left with a big swath of unfinished drywall. Looking at my options and not liking most of them, I decided to paint a faux stone wall. I'm pretty happy with the result, and even more important, so is my family.
Update: I've been using the stove for a few months now. I've had plenty of splashes and spills and have had no problem keeping the painting clean. It's also been well heated and steamed. Nothing seems to affect it.
Step 1: Before You Paint
A few notes before you start:
Clean the area really well. Stray grit or webs will muck up your paint.
Paint before installing permanent appliances or furniture, if possible.
Use a paint for the base coat that is also a primer.
Mix the colors you already have to make other colors and shades.
Test colors and techniques on spots that won't show.
Always have clean water and a rag handy!
Step 2: What You'll Need
Good house paint. Choose your finish, interior or exterior, and several colors. You'll need at least one background color, one highlight color and one contrasting color for the grout. I got sample sizes of rust, off white, gray and tan.
A regular sponge
A sea sponge
One medium paintbrush for large areas
Smaller brushes for details
Pencil and eraser
Dish of clean water
Step 3: Painting Stone
1) Sketch your design on the wall in pencil. For freeform stones, just draw them in. For bricks or angular designs, you can use a ruler and/or painter's tape. Make the grout about 1/2 inch wide.
2) Paint the base color of all the stones. Don't worry about perfection. You'll make the lines neater when you paint the grout. Let dry.
3) Dab some of the highlight color on your bricks with the sea sponge. Work in small sections.
4) When the highlight paint is nearly dry take a damp regular sponge and wipe gently in small circles. This will spread some of the highlight color and make the stone more realistic.
Step 4: Sketches
These are my original sketches. I just found them on my phone so I thought I should share them. (I originally was going to paint a trellis, but decided against it.)
Step 5: Add the Grout
5) Continue until all the stones are highlighted. Let dry.
6) Paint your grout color in between all the stones. Let dry.
7) If you want them to look more realistic, paint a dark line (shadow) on one side and on the underside of each stone. You can also paint a highlight in a lighter color than the grout opposite the dark lines. Use a small round paintbrush. Let dry.
Step 6: Finishing the Wall
8) Make light and dark glazes (transparent paint) by watering down one light and one dark paint color. Test the glazes on a spot that won't show.
9) Paint the glazes in a random manner with your sponges. This will add dimension. Wipe off what you don't like. Dab up excess paint.
10) Touch up any areas that need work and let dry fully.
11) Optional: Apply 3-4 coats of varnish if your painting will get a lot of wear. (Like a stove backsplash!)