Update boring walls with a classic stripe design. Whether you want horizontal stripes or vertical stripes, follow our step-by-step instructions plus expert tips for painting striped walls.
Read step by step instructions after the video.

Whether a sophisticated tone-on-tone color scheme or a delightful blend of bright hues, striped walls add bold interest to plain spaces. Plus, the pattern is easy to recreate with just a few affordable materials and your favorite paint colors.

While a steady hand and the proper brush can yield a charming hand-painted look, we recommend using painters tape to create crisp lines. Before you begin, grab some of your favorite paint samples, and test them out prior to painting stripes.

Plan to keep stripe colors similar in value. For a high-end look, use closely related hues of the same color—two shades of tan or three shades of blue, for example. A high-contrast striped wall can be used successfully in small areas, such as below a chair rail or on an accent wall.

In addition to color, consider the design of your stripes. Vertical stripes can make a wall look taller, a desirable effect for most rooms. Similarly, horizontal stripes can make a short wall appear wider, causing the entire room to seem larger. The width of the stripe is key, too. Wide stripes in a small room might be overpowering but stylishly suit larger settings.

Now that you have your paint colors and pattern picked out, follow our simple steps to learn how to paint stripes. Coupled with expert advice, you’ll have crisp, clean wall stripes in no time.

  • Working time 6 hrs
  • Start to finish 2 days
  • Difficulty Kind of Easy
  • Involves Painting, Measuring

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

Step 1

Paint Base Coat

Using a paint roller, apply a base coat of paint on a clean, dry wall; let dry. Apply a second coat if needed and allow it to dry. Use painters tape to mask around doors, windows, the ceiling, and the floor or baseboards, as needed.

How To Paint Stripes horizontal
Step 2

Measure and Divide Wall

Measure the desired width of the stripes. Divide the wall into even increments.  Adjust the width to fit your wall or for the look you want. Using a colored pencil that matches the stripe color, make a light hash mark at each increment—regular graphite pencil lines are harder to cover and could smudge.

Editor's Tip: Start in the least noticeable corner of the room so uneven stripes will be less obvious. You might need to adjust the last few stripes so you don't end up with a narrow stripe at the end. When you reach a corner, you can adjust the stripe width or wrap the color around the corner.

How To Paint Stripes vertical
Step 3

Trace Lines and Apply Painters Tape

Draw vertical or horizontal lines at each of your marks. For this tutorial, we created vertical stripes. Use a carpenters level to lightly extend the hash marks vertically from ceiling to baseboard. Periodically measure the stripes to make sure they remain parallel and even.

For a crisp line, tape before painting. Place a line of painters tape just outside each pencil line so the stripe will cover the pencil line. Using the back of a plastic tool handle or an old credit card, press the edge of the tape down to seal it to the wall. To prevent the stripe color from bleeding underneath the tape, first paint over the tape edge with the base coat and let dry. If any paint bleeds under the tape, it will be the base color and not noticeable.

painting vertical stripe
Step 4

Cut-In Left Side of Stripe

Cut in the left edge of each stripe. Cut in along the ceiling with a trim brush. Paint the left edge of the stripe design, covering the pencil line. Reload the paintbrush as needed so the color is opaque and even.

filling in vertical stripe
Step 5

Fill-In Stripe Center

Fill in the center of each stripe. Paint the center of the stripe using long, vertical strokes. If your stripe pattern is wide enough, you can use a roller brush for this step. 

vertical stripes painting
Step 6

Cut-In Right Side of Stripe

Cut in the right edge of each stripe. Edge the right side of the stripe, covering the pencil line. Cut in along the baseboard. Repeat for each remaining stripe. Touch up any uneven spots with a small artists brush. Remove the tape as soon as possible, and always within 60 minutes.


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