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Easiest Way to Paint Stripes

This post for the Easiest Way to Paint Stripes contains affiliate links. I make a small portion when these links are used, at no additional cost to you. 

We've been using this exact same method for painting stripes on about a half a dozen spaces now (not all our spaces...we've painted a church nursery, a friend's home, etc.). It is seriously the easiest way to paint stripes. Plus, this trick can work on all manners of painting-to prevent tape bleed. Give it a try and you'll be a flawless-painting believer, too. 

Easiest Way to Paint Stripes
As I've mentioned before, our new flooring resulted in a lot of other changes, too. It just seemed logical to paint before the new stuff is installed (and there's something quite liberating about painting sans drop cloths). It was the perfect opportunity to spiffy up the dining room and share with you the easiest way to paint stripes. See the complete tutorial below.

Aqua Dining Room Ideas
Pictured above is the completely finished version of this space...this was actually staged for selling this home. We no longer live here, but this is still one of my favorite dining rooms of all time.

Green Dining Room Decor
Pictured above is what the dining room previously looked like. It was fine. We painted it five years ago when we moved in. The drapes were left by a previous owner and were in the master bedroom and I liked them better in here. Not a whole lot of thought went into the space, and it worked. The table & hutches are family heirlooms on my mother's side. The leaded glass doors were hand-crafted by my late uncle over thirty five years ago. It may be a bit dated, but it is a treasure.

With that being said, I still think it felt like "Sunday dinner at your grandmother's house". While that look isn't a bad thing, I was just ready for a bit of a change and refresh in this space. 
Dining Room Before and After
Like I said, the new flooring took on a life of its own...resulting in a few good makeovers. We stayed on a strict budget for this one, but I'm really happy with how it all turned out. The entire space was pretty much one DIY project after another (much to my husband's chagrin).

Dining Room Projects

DIY Dining Room Projects
To keep the space on a shoestring budget, the following projects are the ones we DIY-ed (these coordinate with the numbered photo above):
5. Painting Stripes Easy & Flawlessly (that's today's post)

The Easiest Way to Paint Stripes 

Keep in mind that this is just a guideline and what has always worked for us. Your space will be based on your amount of paint for your walls, etc. We do have very textured walls, so if this worked in our home, chances are it will work in yours, too.

Behr Paint Creme Brulee



Priming before Painting
  • We started by priming and then painting the entire room with the lighter base color. We it dry for at least 24 hours between the primer and the paint. Then, another 24 hours after the base color of paint had been applied. 
  • It's best to use the lighter color for your base...it's easier to cover the lighter with the darker of your stripes rather than the reverse.

Painting Stripes the Easy Way

  • After measuring the height of the two walls we were painting (we didn't paint the window wall...it will be wall-to-wall drapery and *mostly* covered, nor did we paint the wall with the arch/doorway to keep things symmetrical), we determined that we wanted 19 1/2 inch wide stripes (this meant the top or bottom of the wall didn't have a stripe cut in half). We also studied the wall to make sure we didn't have a darker stripe meeting the ceiling...simply because I didn't want to cut in, again.
  • I marked the 19 1/2 inch line at several spaces along the wall...just to act as a guide to my laser.
  • The size of your stripes is your preference, but you may want to take into account your ceiling height and whether or not you want stripes to end in their "middle" or be the same width/depth of your entire wall(s).

Over the last 18+ years of marriage, we've painted our share of stripes in various rooms in previous houses (and even our current one). We even did harlequin diamonds in a nursery once...my absolute favorite painted wall we've ever done. We've used both a chalk line method and the laser level method that we're sharing today. In all honestly, today's method is much easier and less messy than the pop & chalk. Plus, this way can be done with only one person...if you're popping a chalk line, you need two people to hold the line taut. Just my $.02, but this really is the easiest way to paint stripes.

Laser Level Paint Lines
  • Pictured above is how I start the first line....I place the level on the wall on one of my marks and line its line up with the other marks on the wall to make sure it's straight. Since the bottom stripe was to be the darker stripe color, I placed the tape above it.
  • This is kind of an important step to make sure that your lines are evenly spaced and the same size: you'll be alternating placing tape above and below your laser lines. On the stripes remaining the base color, your tape will sit within the stripe (on the inside of the laser lines). On the stripes you're painting with the darker color, the tape will sit on the outside of the lines...so those stripes are the same size as the lighter ones once all of the tape has been removed.
Black and Decker Laser Level
  • Centering the level in the middle of the wall meant I could just flip it and apply tape to either side (I learned this a couple of stripes into this process). This is easier since I was starting on one end with the level, taping half way, then moving the level to the middle of the wall to do it again. 
  • As you move up the wall with your taping, just measure from your taped line and do a few hash marks across your line with a pencil before using the laser (again keep in mind whether the tape should be above or below your line depending if the stripe is base color or darker color).
  • This Black and Decker Laser Level that I use has a small thumb tack to make this trick work, since it is literally attached to the wall. I'm not 100% sure if all laser levels have this function, but it sure comes in handy.
How to Paint Stripes on Walls
All taped up. 
  • We like to mark the stripes we won't be painting darker with little bits of tape. As you can see those lines are smaller...which has to do with the way you tape in order to keep all stripes the same size, as I mentioned above.

Trick to Painting Stripes


I know I've shared this with you on several other projects, but it is an essential step to having flawless lines. You'll need to seal the tape with your base color before using the darker color for your stripes. The base color will seep under any non-stuck down parts of the tape (especially on super textured walls like we have that make tape unruly). Be sure to paint in the direction of the tape on the lines that will get more paint. The angled brush I use helps with the directional painting here...and getting paint sealed all under those tape lines.

How to Get Flawless Paint Lines
Above, you can see how it looks all sealed up with the base coat. 

How to Paint a Striped Wall
  • After the sealed parts are completely dry (we let it dry overnight) you can start rolling on your darker stripe color. I really should have used a larger roller...but I just worked with what I had on hand.

Dining Room Paint Ideas
  • We ended up needing two coats of the darker color for good coverage...but they went on quickly. 
  • Above is how your stripes should look before you remove the tape.

Paint Lines
Pulling off the tape to reveal those flawless lines is the best! This is all thanks to that fun little trick of sealing the lines with the base color. Works every time.

Striped Dining Room

TaDa! The new flooring does help with the new look...a lot. But, I'm loving how the stripes turned out.

Thanksgiving Dining Room Decor
UPDATE: A couple of years after this space was painted, we moved out the hutches for open shelving from Ikea, for a less heavy feel. Above, you can see how it looked for Thanksgiving. 

Christmas Dining Room
And here you can see what the space looks like at Christmas, with those new open shelves. I have a tutorial for the DIY Vintage Christmas Sign here. It is a project that I truly loved and have since used the sign for years.

More Paint Tutorials

Where would you paint stripes in your own home?


  1. Oh yes Kristi!!! Looks fabulous!!! I love the makeover, paint is a wonderful thing!!! Thanks for sharing at SweetTalkin' Sunday!!!

  2. Great makeover! Those stripes look FABULOUS!!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  3. Love the stripes! Awesome makeover!

  4. I love this so much I'm going to ask my husband if he will do it for me. Love the colours too.

  5. Wow, I am impressed! You did a number on this room and boy does it look terrific!
    Thanks for sharing! I am going to pass on your techniques on stripping to my daughter.

  6. Very cool! Can't wait to do this in my boys room. Thanks for the tips!

  7. I love our laser level. It sure makes these kind of projects so much easier. Thanks for the tip on putting the little pieces of tape on the spot you are not painting. I also had never thought of use the base color to seal the tape....Genius!

  8. Looks great - what a transformation! I just painted some stripes in our home too using this same method - it really is flawless!

  9. Great tips! I am planning to paint some stripes in our nursery that is no longer and nursery and soon to be a craft room. I think I need to get one of those handy laser levels before I start though:) Stopping by from TT&J.

  10. Wow, that's a great tip! You're dining room looks fabulous so far!

    ~Steph @ Silver Boxes

  11. Wow - The stripes look fantastic and I love the colors you chose! The dark flooring is also fabulous. Nice work! I've toyed with the idea of painting stripes in our house too, but I always chicken out because it looks like too much work and we have textured walls. But obviously you've proven that it can be done, and done well!

    Found your blog on the Serenity Now link party. :)

  12. Love the colors. It looks like a professional painter did it.

  13. This looks great, Kristi! Thanks for linking this awesome tutorial up to Marvelous Mondays! I hope to see you there again next week! :)


  14. Kristi I love the stripes! It looks sooooo good! I want to find a place in my home that we can do stripes! Please come share in our new link party - Home is Where the Heart is. http://www.homesteadsimple.com/home-is-where-the-heart-is-link-it-up-wednesdays-1/