The Mister and I had to make a few sacrifices when we moved to our current home. We’re not ready to buy, but there was no sense in spending the equivalent of a mortgage payment on rent. We ended up selecting a slightly run-down, characterless place in a great neighborhood with a big yard.
The upside of a characterless home is that it is full of potential. (Some women claim that characterless men are “full of potential”, but those types of men usually prove themselves to be tear-downs or money pits.) The Mister, being the wonderful guy that he is, basically gave me free reign of decorating our new home. I will admit that he did raise an eyebrow when I announced that we would be painting stripes around our dining room.
First, a few inspiration photos:
I have been asked how I landed on this design. This particular room is the “pass through” space of our home. You have to move through it to get anywhere, and it’s visible from almost every angle in the house. That meant that we wanted it to be visually intriguing without being too jarring. It is also adjacent to the living room that has the large graphic rug, so it made sense to keep with the graphic elements. The horizontal stripes encourage your eye to travel around the room and lead you to the next space, which is exactly what we wanted to achieve. Well, what I wanted to achieve and what the Mister agreed to go along with.
I wish I could tell you there was some design theory behind the placement of the stripes, but it was just what looked good to me. As you space out your stripes, consider any permanent fixtures on the wall. In our case, we made sure that the two light switches and A/C controller lined up with the stripes.
I do highly recommend testing out the pattern before you dive in. I first marked out the spacing on graph paper and then did a rough painting on one small section of the wall to see how I felt about it. In the end, we eliminated one stripe near the ceiling, which would have made the room feel shorter. We also realized how tedious the taping process was and we were more than happy to remove one entire stripe from the design.
We set to work one Sunday morning. We had already had the wall painted a fresh white, Benjamin Moore White Dove. Next came came the brutal task of taping off the stripes. My initial plan was to use a laser level but our floors aren’t level. If we had used the level, we would have had stripes that looked like they were crooked on the walls. So we opted to measure up from the baseboard a set distance and make small tick-marks around the room in pencil. We then followed it up with the laser level and tape, ignoring the bubble-thingy in the middle and instead trusting our marks.
Our dining room has six separate wall spaces that we had to mark out separately. If we had worked straight through we probably could have finished the taping in two hours, but the Mister would have lost his mind. Instead, we opted for multiple breaks for baseball watching and naps. Because what is the point of having a beautiful dining room if your significant other hates you by the end?
At this point you may be tempted to dive in and start painting your final color. Resist the urge! The next step is vital to the quality of your stripes and will save you the annoyance of having to touch up all those carefully taped-out lines. Take a credit card and use it to smooth over the edges of the tape to get a tight seal. Then, using the same color as the wall base, paint over the edge of the tape. By doing so, the matching paint will leak through any remaining gaps and will provide a perfect seal.
By this point I had released the Mister from his indentured servitude and I went to town with the fun part– the actual painting! I opted to use the same warm gray that we used in the living room, Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. If possible, remove the tape before the paint is completely dry to get a smoother release from the wall.
From start to finish, the room took about five hours to complete (including dry time). Was it worth it? Absolutely. The room is such a striking space and has made the room much more inviting.
What do you think? Have you tried any painting techniques or stenciling to spice up your home?