Learn how to easily paint wall stripes with straight lines in under a few hours!
Painting stripes on your walls makes a dramatic impact in any room. Ansley’s room has been a work in progress for the last three years. As you can see, her room was definitely missing something even with her fancy chandelier and beautiful furniture. Here’s a sneak peek of her upcoming room reveal:
I presented the idea of stripes to the hubs. Astonishingly enough, Ryan didn’t oppose to paint striped walls! The hardest part about this project was getting him to help me with it – it took about 6 months of coercing.
This painting project was easy – it took one Saturday morning. From start to finish, it was about three hours. And the wall turned out with PERFECT stripes! You can achieve the same look by following these steps.
Figure out the width of your stripes.
If you are one that needs hard fast rules, make it a goal to have an odd number of stripes. Grouping with odd numbers is always good design. A nice wide stripe width you should aim for is around 8 to 14 inches.
In our case, we had a 93 inch wall. I wanted 7 stripes which turned out to be approximately 13.25 inches.
Tip: If you are around an inch from having a clean width size like we were, you can always round so that you can leave any “left over” at the bottom of the wall. This would mean you could have a slightly thinner or thicker base stripe at the bottom of your wall. No would would be any wiser. For example, for Ansley’s room, I could have rounded to 13 inches from 13.25 inches. However, Ryan adamantly opposed this (possibly due to his meticulous nature as an engineer). Instead, these were the numbers we came up with:
Decide whether you want to mess with taping off your trim or crown molding.
If you don’t want to deal with masking off the trim and molding, you have then decided that your top and bottom stripes will be your base color. If you’ve followed my advice in the first step by having an odd number of stripes, this has then allowed you to leave your existing base color at the top and bottom of the wall without having to touch your trim or moulding. Time saver!
In our case, we decided the opposite. Of course right? To make a long story short, I made him recently put an anchor hole for heavy decor that I (at the time) thought I HAD TO HAVE above the headboard, which I then regretted. So I had him putty and sand it. So instead of “spot painting”, he decided that he would just paint the top and bottom with our chosen alternating color.
Use a steel tape measure and hash mark your column widths.
Make sure you start at the ceiling and use a steel tape measure. Starting at the ceiling is key, as it allows you to read the number on the tape measure accurately.
Measure down, and then go 18 inches over and do it again. Repeat this step all the way down the wall until the stripes are hash marked off.
Get out your Frog Tape and connect your hash marks.
You are going to start connecting the hash marks with your Frog Tape. I know some blogs say that you should use a laser level, a level, and even a yard stick. However, we found that connecting the Frog Tape from hash mark to hash mars worked just fine since the marks were only 18 inches a part.
It is SUPER important that you do not skimp on the part of buying GOOD painter’s tape. It won’t stick to the wall if you buy the generic, so do yourself a favor and go with the brand name, good stuff for this.
Before you tape, make sure you are taping on the correct side of the lines so that all your paint is on the correct side of the stripe. Triple check this.
To be sure you did it right, if you went with the design of having the same “width” for each of your stripes, after you finish taping, it will “look” like you have some wider and narrow stripes, but that just means you have done your due diligence and taped correctly!
Again, we just eye balled it with Frog Tape to connect the hash marks, but if you wanted to go all out, you could use a level or yard stick to do this. We did it the easy way by just taping it and skipping that step.
X marks the spot NOT to paint
Mark an X to indicate the area you will NOT be painting (e.g. keeping it the base color). When you are this close to the wall, this simple reminder will help! You do not want to realize later that you have to repaint the trim or crown molding!
BIG ‘OL TIP: Seal the edge before painting
Use the base color to seal the edge of where you will be painting the alternating paint color. For full clarification, you will be painting the alternating color ON TOP of this base color.
By sealing the edge with the base color, it will help create absolutely perfect wall stripes with no bleed! It will ensure you have smooth and crisp lines, as you do not want the stripe color to bleed underneath your tape (another reason for buying that Frog Tape we talked about above).
To seal, use a 2 inch paint brush or small art brush – and don’t overload your brush with paint. Stroke the tape brush inward towards where you will be painting the alternating paint color so you are pulling the paint away from the tape line (it makes it less likely to seep underneath the tape).
Pretty obvious, but paint your alternating color after the base seal has dried. The standard I’ve seen is that two coats of the alternating color should do the trick using a medium size paint roller.
Pull off the tape while its still wet!!
Make sure you pull of the tape after the second coat. This is uber important – as this will be the final tip that ensures you have perfectly painted striped walls!
That’s it…you should have perfect paint striped walls!
In case you love these colors as much as I do, here are the colors I used for Ansley’s room. I was going for a white, lavender, and grey theme:
Base color: Benjamin Moore’s Antique Pearl – The color on the website doesn’t do it justice. It has this light lavender and grey tone to it.
Alternating color: Behr Marquee Classy MQ5-4 – Honestly, I love Benjamin Moore paint but I can never find a store that’s openo on the weekend that carries BM. It seems like the only stores that carry it are stores specifically geared for contractors. My next best bet was to try the Behr Marquee line from Home Depot. After using it in Ansley’s room, we are a huge fan of it. The color was spot on – it has a purple/grey feel to it in a darker tone that our base color.
Related Post: Painted Basement Ceiling
A summary of my big tips are listed here in this image (feel free to pin and share):
Here’s the before and after:
Before you begin your project, some other awesome ideas for painting striped walls include:
- Using the SAME paint color, but alternating with egg shell/flat and semi-gloss. I did this for my powder room, but with stencils and not stripes (oh, and possibly added a little bit of gold glitter flakes).
- Multiple narrower sized rows to provide more of a visual appeal.
- Chevron (way to risky for me to try) – my fear is how much of a trend this is (but isn’t this striped wall thing a trend? who am I to judge).
Check out my post on shared bedroom ideas to check out the final reveal!
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