How to Paint a Buffalo Check Pattern

A wow-worthy buffalo check pattern is surprisingly simple to paint. The four-step process only requires three coordinating paint shades and a handful of simple tools, making it the perfect weekend project.

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Before You Start: Select Stripes

There's a secret formula for finding the perfect color combination for your buffalo check. Start by choosing the shade of your dark stripe (this room uses "Hale Navy" from Benjamin Moore). For the medium stripe, ask your paint dealer to mix the dark color at 25 percent. For the light stripe, mix one part of the medium paint color with one part white paint. 

Bonus: Tips for Decorating with Plaid

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Materials

  • White paint
  • Metal ruler
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Light stripe paint shade
  • Medium stripe paint shade
  • Dark stripe paint shade
  • 2-inch angled brush
  • Painters tape

Step 1: Measure and Level

Apply white paint as a base coat to walls; let dry. Use a metal ruler, a level, and a pencil to mark vertical and horizontal lines spaced 4 inches apart.

Step 2: Paint Light Lines

Choose light, medium, and dark shades of one color. Use a 2-inch angled brush to freehand paint alternating horizontal lines in the lightest paint color. Let dry. For super crisp lines, use painters tape to outline stripes before painting.

Step 3: Paint Medium Lines

Use a 2-inch angled brush to freehand paint the vertical lines in the medium paint color. Let dry.

Step 4: Fill in the Dark

Use painters tape to mask off the center squares where vertical and horizontal lines intersect. Paint these squares the darkest paint color.

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