Imitate Venetian Plaster
Even if you don't know all the ins and outs of every faux finish technique, home improvement stores will often carry the special paint and tools you'll need with the necessary instructions right on the packaging. For a bright, polished look below a chair rail, try a Venetian plaster interior faux finish. You'll use a similar pattern painting technique to the faux suede finish above and apply it to the wall using steel spatulas with plastic handles and metal blades.
Adding decorative finishes or faux textures is a great way to add a dramatic flair to your room. A good decorative finish makes people want to feel your walls for themselves; you may have to remind visitors not to. And when they realize it's just a creative paint job, they'll shower you with compliments.