Fourteen years ago I decided to tackle painting stripes in my daughters nursery. It was a nightmare! It took me over two days to complete and wasn’t even a large room. Since then in my career I have painted over 100 striped room. Not only has my painting time been cut down considerable I have figured out that there is a science to the art of striping. They address blank walls and eliminate the need to fill up the space with art. Vertical wider stripes tend to be more juvenile and whimsical while a narrow stripe lean more toward a formal look. If you are looking for a modern look try paint horizontal stripes. This past Thursday I painted two rooms in a house with stripes: one horizontal striped wall as an accent in a teens room and vertical stripes in a vaulted dining room. Combined the two rooms took me just under 6 hours. Now I can’t guarantee you that you can get your job done in that amount of time but I can save you hours with the tips and tricks that have taken me years to figure out.
Before I started I met with my client Val and discussed what look she was trying to achieve. For her dining room she wanted to accentuate the height of the vaulted ceiling but not be too busy. A subtle difference in the colors can create a softer look. Even changing the sheen can add another layer to the look. Try using a Satin finish on a flat finish. I would advise against using the same color in different sheens. In a flat light it looks all the same. To avoid that I “fudge’ the color slightly darker or lighter so that in a flat light you can still see the paint treatment. Val had already had the walls painted in Benjamin Moore Guilford Green Eggshell. We chose Sherwin Williams Koi Pond SW7727 and the stripes at 12 inches wide. Remember in taller height rooms what sounds thick looks thinner. Most rooms that I paint are on the average of 11-12 inches wide. Here’s how my day went…
- 4 rolls of painters tape. My tape of choice is Scotch Blue Delicate surfaces. (The one with the orange core). They come in three sizes. I like the 1 1/2′ width.
- Paint brush
- roller tray and rollers. I prefer the 6 ” smaller rollers. They are much easier to maneuver in the tight corners.
- drop cloths
Paint the room one of the colors that you choose. Paint tends to go on lighter and dry darker so if you are choose two similar colors I’d advise painting the room the darker color so that when you apply the lighter color you can see any spots you have missed.
Where to Start?
Always start in the corner behind where you enter the room. I do that so that if when I get around to matching up the first and the last stripe if I need to alter the widths it is not as noticeable. More than 95% of the time you will need to do this.
Take your ruler and make a light pencil mark every 12 ” around the entire room. As I do this I put a small piece of tape in between every other pencil mark. I literally speak out loud “Paint, No paint, Paint, No paint, etc….” I stop just shy of my beginning point and make sure that I don’t have two painted stripes that meet up. If I do, I back track and erase my pencil marks adjusting the width so that I have a odd number of stripes. The last few stripes may need to be 11″ or slightly larger but once painted it is difficult to tell the difference.
Double Check your lines
Then I retrace my tape marks making sure that I have skipped every other space before I go back and start drawing the vertical lines with the level. Use a proper size ladder. Never stand on the top step.
Use your level and draw light pencil lines on every hash mark until the whole room has been drawn out. Try not to make your pencil lines heavy. When using the lighter colors you may see your pencil lines thru the paint. On a dark wall a graphite pencil line may be difficult to see so try using a white colored pencil.
The first taped space will be the stripe to paint. It is very important to tape the outside of the stripe meaning the left line of the stripe you will place the tap to the left of the line and the right side of the stripe you will be taping to the right of the line. Do not tape on the line but just outside it so that you paint over your pencil mark so that you don’t ever have to erase. Be careful with the pencil lines because the granite can smudge. Tape ceiling and all around any trim. Once done it will look like the lines are NOT the same width but they are. If it looks like a wider and skinnier stripe alternating then you have done it RIGHT. Visually it will look like you have made a mistake but actually the tape is covering up the existing wall color. Remove any switch plate covers that are intersect or are in the painted stripe.
Getting The Brushes Out
Now you’re ready to paint. Place drop cloths on all the areas so that you don’t get paint on the floor or furniture. Remove drapes and all picture hangers. Double check each tape line making sure you have tapes on the proper side of the pencil line. If you are painting on an older wall or a wall that is not completely smooth you may want to run a light coat of the base color over the areas where the tape is not smooth avoiding any bleed under the tape.
Using your roller paint every other stripe. I remove my little tape piece reminder before painting. For the though to reach areas use a paint brush. More than likely once you get all the way around the room your first stripe will be dry. Give each stripe at least two coats. Once dry go back over and double check if you’ve forgotten any spots. Always keep a wet rag on hand in case you go over the paint line. It is also helpful to have the base paint on hand if touch ups are needed.
Removing Tape Correctly
Remove your tape slowly at a 45 to 90 degree angle away from the painted stripe. If you remove too fast you can pull the base paint off and expose the drywall. Never use the tape twice. This tape is so pliable that it stretches. Multiple uses will not guarantee a straight line.
Touch up any areas that the paint has bleed through, put back on all switch plate covers, curtains and art once dried at least 3 hours.
Apply the same directions to paint horizontal stripes. If you think that this more modern look is more your taste I have included a step by step tutorial or maybe you’d like to amp it up and paint chevron stripes! I like to measure the height of the room and divide it by the number of stripes I want so that all the stripes are the same width. In Val’s daughter’s room we matched the Target bedding and had the walls painted in Sherwin Williams Amazing Gray SW 7044. I painted the stripe In a bright salmon pink colored called SW 6619 Sockeye.
Now It’s Your Turn
Thanks so much and good luck friends!
More painted striped rooms
Stripes add pattern and are the perfect trick to bring your eyes up in a room.