Guide for Painting Stripes on Your Walls

If you are searching for a unique look for your walls and want to avoid wallpaper (which can be messy and hard to remove or paint over later), you can paint stripe your walls. Not only does striping add personality and character to your room, but it can also create the illusion that the room is larger and make it feel more spacious. With a little imagination, the finished look can be anything from elegant to traditional to downright funky. Your options are limitless, and this do-it-yourself project can be completed in just a few days.


The first step to take is to prep your walls for painting. You will need to scrub them and let them dry if there is existing paint in place, or remove the existing wallpaper and then scrub and allow them to dry. Once this step is complete, get your room ready to paint by clearing out or covering anything that may get paint on it during the process. Use a vinyl drop cloth to prevent paint splatters from seeping onto the floor.

Choose your paint colors

Now it is time to choose your paint colors. Consider tone-on-tone colors for classic elegance or bright colors to make the room appear more fun. The possibilities are endless; you need to know the look you are going for. Choose one of your colors in flat paint and the other in semi-gloss latex. The flat paint will be the lighter color or the base color you will be putting up, and the semi-gloss should be the darker color. You can also choose the same color for each type of paint if the end result is classic and subtle.

Supplies needed

Once your colors are chosen, it is time to pick up your other supplies. You are going to need

  • a drop cloth to protect your room while you paint
  • a tape measure
  • 2″ painter’s tape
  • a pencil
  • chalk, and a chalk line
  • 2 paint rollers, a roller extender if you are painting high
  • 2 small paint brushes for touch-ups

Start painting

Now you are ready to begin your project. Prepare the room by applying tape to the ceiling (if painting high), windows, trims, doors, etc.

Before you begin painting, the most important thing to remember is that wall stripes easily showcase painting errors. Not to panic, though. This means you must be very thorough and careful when applying your painter’s tape.

First things first, however, and with that in mind, you are now ready to begin painting. Apply your base coat of paint in the flat wall paint over the entire area to be striped. The base coat will be the color of one of your stripes, so make sure to take your time and pay attention that your application is even and smooth.

Allow the paint to dry completely. I recommend 48-72 hours prior to going on to the next step in the project.


This next step is very important to the finished project; it is time to measure your stripes.

Choose the size stripes that you want. I recommend even intervals instead of a continuing variation pattern. The recommended stripe is eight inches across, but you can customize them as you see fit for your vision.

Suppose you position a painter’s tape horizontally across the top of the project. In that case, you can measure all at once and mark the spot with a pencil where each new stripe begins and ends. This works well because you will also see which stripe will be uneven (if the room does not measure an exactly even number for the size of stripe you have chosen).

You can put the uneven stripe in the least seen area of the room or re-measure accordingly.

Position your chalk line at the top and bottom of each stripe, ensure the line is tight and snap it quickly to ensure you have a straight and evenly placed line for your painters’ tape. Place the tape on the chalk line, so your semi-gloss paint does not bleed onto the flat paint.

Remember to tape carefully to ensure you achieve the desired outcome of beautifully accurate stripes. Survey the room thoroughly before painting to ensure your stripes are perfectly even.

Once your tape is in place, go over each piece with a small, flat, smooth object to ensure the tape is securely flattened against the wall. While it may seem tedious, this step is very important because it keeps the paint from seeping under the tape.

Apply semi-gloss by beginning your stripe over the painter’s tape where your stripe begins and ends. You have to be very careful, of course, to not go too far over the tape, but make sure you are on the tape, so your stripe is complete and finished looking. Cut-in color around the ceiling, trim, windows, etc., with your touch-up brush.

Once you have applied the paint in alternating sections, remove your tape. Be careful to pull away from the newly applied wet coat.

Please do not wait until the paint is dry before removing your tape, as it will become more and more difficult as the paint dries and may mess up your finished product.

You have now almost finished. Stand back and survey the room for any touch-ups that need to be done (hopefully, there are few to none since you were very careful with your taping). Allow the paint to dry completely, congratulate yourself (and anyone who assisted) for a job well done, and enjoy the new look of your room.

Photo of author
About the author
Ben White has written thousands of articles on everything home improvement. He has had the privilege of writing for such websites as the Huffington Post, DeWalt,, HGTV, and many others.

Leave a Comment