How to Paint Horizontal Stripes to the Walls of Any Room

Painting horizontal stripes on the walls in a room is the best budget decorator’s secret to add a lot of impact to a room that lacks architectural features.

Painting horizontal wall stripes on a wall is not a new decorating idea, but it is a great way to add affordable impact to a space either as an accent wall or all four walls in any room.

Since this powder room is being done on a “teeny-tiny” budget – under $200 – painting horizontal stripes adds a lot of style for the price of a quart of paint and a roll of painter’s tape.


I did not have a plan for this small powder room. It took me a few weeks to settle on an idea. I was going back and forth with ideas and colors., but knew that I had to incorporate the existing beige toilet, counter, and sink that have to stay into the new color scheme.


Once I figured out how to make them not stand out against the white I wanted to add, I got to work.


I have been making over this bathroom and recently:

Doing these updates made a huge difference to the space, but the walls needed something more.

Since the decorative accessories are going to be very minimal, the walls had to have something on them, but something that would not make the room look too busy.

The simplicity of the horizontal wide stripes in the color of the existing fixtures adds just the right amount of decorative style.

How to Paint Horizontal Stripes on a Wall

Painting the stripes on one feature wall is really very easy, taking the stripes around all four is not hard, but a little more time consuming since you have to match up the level line all around the room. Having an uneven ceiling line and working in a tight space added a bit of a challenge but is doable.

I started using a laser level to make my guide lines for the horizontal stripes, but realized my ceiling was not level. I ended up doing it the the easy and old-fashioned way of marking down from the ceiling with a yardstick and pencil.

supplies needed:

  • Paint – I used Valspar Bistro White #7006-4 and Glidden Remain Neutral Specify: #39YY 77/091 #A0066 for the stripes and cabinet
  • Angled paint brush
  • Foam paint roller
  • Bubble level
  • Painter’s tape
  • Yardstick
  • Pencil
  • Small tipped paint brush

Time needed: 2 days

How to Paint Horizontal Stripes to the Walls of Any Room

  1. Choose Paint Colors

    Choose the two colors you want the the stripes to be.  Roll on one or two coats of the first color all over the wall. Let dry.

  2. Figure Out Stripe Width & Height

    Figure out how wide and how many stripes you want on the walls.  I went with an uneven number of stripes so that I would have the same color at the top and bottom of the wall.    Measure the height of your wall and divide it by the number of stripes you want.

    My walls are just short of 8 feet high and I wanted my stripes to be around 8 inches wide.  If you want wider stripes use a lower number  ( 5, 7, or 9 ) to divide into your wall height.

    I painted the focal wall above the bead board first to see if I would like the look of the stripes.  I did, so I continued the stripes on the other 3 walls.

    To Figure Out Measurements:

    I divided the WALL HEIGHT : 91″  by the odd number 11.    91″ divided by 11 = 8.27″

    That came out so each stripe would be about 8-1/4 inches wide.

    I was left with a 2-inch wide stripe on the full wall behind and on the door side of the toilet.  The other two walls are only half walls because of the sink cabinet.

    Once you know your measurements, it is time to start marking the wall.

  3. Mark Measurements of Walls

    Starting from the ceiling, place the end of a yardstick against the ceiling.

    Mark your stripe width measurements vertically down the wall with a small pencil mark using the measurements on the yardstick as your guide.

    Continue marking vertically down the yardstick the width of your stripes.

    Check to make sure all the marks are evenly spaced. You may have to make a few adjustments.

    Use a wet rag to remove the previous pencil marks if you make a measuring mistake.

    When you get to the end of the yardstick, place the tip at the bottom-most mark on the wall and then continue marking the wall.

  4. Continue Marking Other 3 Walls

    Once you have the marks evenly spaced, mark the measurements on the yardstick with a pencil or marker so that it can be your guide to mark the rest of the wall.  Move over about 18 inches from the first vertical line of marks you made.  Hold the end of the yardstick to the ceiling again and make your marks down the wall again. Repeat this step all around the room.

  5. Add Painter’s Tape

    Once your pencil marks are on the wall, it is time to mask out the stripes you are painting. Place the tape onto the walls by lining up the tapes edge against the horizontal pencil marks on the wall.  

    The stripes that you will be painting the second color will be outlined in the tape. Place a small piece of tape in the stripes that are not getting painted. This helps so you know which stripes  get paint and which ones don’t.

    *** Before painting, double check to make sure that you have the tape on each stripe correctly. The stripes that don’t get paint will look thinner because the painters tape is inside of them since you are outlining the stripes that will be painted.

    Run the tips of your fingers or a credit card along the painted edge of each piece of tape to seal it.  This will help lessen bleed-through and will keep your stripes sharp.

    how to place painter's tape on wall when painting horizontal stripes on wall.

  6. Paint Stripes

    Dip an angled paint brush into the second color of paint and remove some of the paint against the edge of the can. Brush along the taped edge of the strip by starting the brush on the tape itself and then brush it on the wall.

    This will help lessen bleed-through. Once the taped edge is painted, use a paint roller to add the rest of the paint in the center of each stripe.  Let dry about 10 minutes and then add one more coat.

    How-to-paint-horizontal-stripes on a wall

  7. Remove Tape

    Once the second coat of paint is on, remove all the tape. DO NOT LEAVE THE TAPE ON WHILE THE PAINT DRIES.   If the paint dries with the tape on you risk the chance of the paint coming off with the tape.

    Touch up any areas with a fine tipped paint brush.


See the makeover of this powder room: The dated BEFORE photos and the completed AFTER.

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  1. Hi Diane

    I’m about to stripe a powder room and your post is so helpful. Thank you.

    Question for you. You mentioned that your ceiling was not level. Mine isn’t either. If you used the yardstick starting from the (uneven) ceiling, how did you avoid having uneven/diagonal stripes?


  2. Did you need to erase your pencil marks before or after painting? Or did the paint cover them?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Andrea – If your paint is dark enough, you can cover them, if it is a light color paint, you may have to erase them. I would use a soft white eraser – you can find them in the artist supply aisle at the craft store.

  3. Love the stripes on the bathroom wall! This looks like I want my guest bathroom to look, could you tell me what colors you used for the wall, and under the sink counter? Thanks.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Casandra – I used Valspar Bistro White #7006-4 and Glidden Remain Neutral Specify: #39YY 77/091 #A0066 for the stripes. Remain Neutral for the cabinet.

  4. I am thrilled you did this to your small bathroom. I’ve been considering the same project for my small bath but wasn’t sure if the large vertical stripes would be over powering. You just made up my mind. Large vertical stripes it is. I would like to share a little trick to keep paint from seeping under the tape. Paint clear glaze over the edge of the tape and the line will be crisp and clean. No touch ups! Love your blog.

    1. HI Stacy

      Quick question for you regarding your advise to “paint clear glaze over the edge of the tape and the line will be crisp and clean.” Do you paint the glaze before or after the desired stripe color?


      1. hey Shara,
        You paint the glaze on first over the edge of the tape before you paint your stripe color. What this does is seal the edge of the tape to stop seepage. Have fun striping.


  5. Sheryll & Critters. says:

    I keep missing stuff…….

    I love this wall stripe you have done. I have been wanting to do similar, but besides the no money yet….. I am a coward. I am doing a few things bit by bit though.

    I wish I could be as good as you are about getting updates done or progressing as fast as you have been all along.

  6. Diane it looks gorgeous. The colors you chose make your fixtures look perfect for the room. The pop of blue in the light looks fantastic!!

  7. love how your stripes turned out great job

  8. cindy styer says:

    I love this. I will be trying this myself. I have a room in the basement that is just for me. I watch TV, do my crafts , puzzles, reading and exercising in this room. So I want to make it a fun room. I think an accent wall like this would be fun. Now to pick the colors!!

    thank you for the ideas and the instructions.

  9. Love it! Thank you for sharing all of your during photos and such a great tutorial. The light fixture looks fabulous. I can’t wait to see what you do next!

  10. Karah @ thespacebetweenblog says:

    Your stripes came out great! I love horizontal stripes in a bathroom, looks great with the beadboard, too!

  11. Oh Diane, what a fabulous job you have done in this room. I always admire how you can start out not really knowing how your projects will look but somehow you finish fantastically! Can’t wait to see the whole finished powder room!

  12. Diane, thanks for such a great, easy-to-follow tutorial! I love this and I pinned it for future reference.

  13. Love what you have done! And the colors are beautiful! I just striped a bedroom wall with blues and am so happy how it turned out! I used Frog Tape and highly recommend it! Ü

  14. What a neat, beautiful way to embrace the off white sink, toilet, with the wide white, off white horizontal stripes. Looks like it worked out perfectly. I really like it . . . and the light fixture in your somewhat “signature color favorite” is a really cool choice!

  15. I love it! A great idea, which I hope to steal some day.

  16. Diane ~ I love what you did. How smart to paint the stripes to coordinate with the porcelain fixtures. I have vertical tone on tone stripes above the chair rail in my dinning room it looks great and I get lots of compliments. The weekend weather was great here also. Yesterday I think we hit 70! I jumped on the lawn mower and did a few laps around the yard picking up leaves, etc. It felt wonderful to have the sun on my face. Vikki in VA

  17. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    What a beautiful job! I love these horizontal stripes because the are soft and a fabulous color mix! A+!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Yvonne XO