DIY Room Painting Ideas: ( Subtle Stripes That Wow!)

DIY Room Painting Ideas:

(Subtle Stripes that Wow!)


I know why you’re here.

You’re sick and tired of looking at those dreary old walls.

Your walls need a makeover, but you’re not sure what color or style you should choose.

Should you go dark or light? What colors are trending now?

I will teach you a DIY Room Painting Idea I’ve used over the years. Subtle Stripes that WOW!

Subtle stripes are easy to do, and when you’ve added them to your walls, you’ll have created a space that will surely impress.

What Are Subtle Stripes?

In a nutshell, Subtle Striping (Shadow Stripes) is the process of painting vertical or horizontal stripes of the same color but in different sheens of paint.

You’d be surprised at how much the sheen of the paint affects the color. The higher the sheen of the paint, the more different it looks when painted next to an area of the same color in a lower sheen.

You can paint Subtle Stripes as an accent wall or an entire room. The result is a timeless, tasteful, classic look because it never goes out of style.

Where can I add Stripes?

I’ve used subtle stripes in many different rooms.

In the early 2000’s I painted “Barbie” stripes in countless homes. The “Barbie” stripes are still a thing. When one parent with a young daughter sees it, their friends want it too.

You can add subtle stripes in any room, but you need to figure out the reason you want to add them. What are you trying to achieve with striping?

Play and Art rooms would not be a good suggestion for striping because the rooms are designated “free-range” areas where kids can write on the walls, and parents don’t mind if they make a mess.

A kitchen may not be suitable for striping, especially if there’s insufficient wall space.

Dining, living, and bedrooms are typical areas where subtle stripes are painted. The most common form of striping in bedrooms is accent walls. In dining rooms, chair rails and wainscoting are common, so the striping is on the upper portion of the wall.

How Big Should the Stripes Be?

The rule of thumb for determining stripe sizes are:

  • The thinner the stripe, the more informal it is
  • The wider the stripe, the more formal it is
  • The color of the stripes could have several interpretations. Some view lighter colors as open and airy, providing an informal vibe, whereas darker colors give a more formal vibe.

Canva Image

Remember it’s your home, and unless you’re getting ready to sell, paint with colors you love and create your vibe!

How do you paint subtle stripes?

You’re going to need a few things before you start:

  1. Pencil
  2. Painters tape ( delicate surface )
  3. Step stool or small ladder
  4. 6-foot level
  5. Tape measure
  6. Latex Paint (1 can of a flat finish, one can of satin finish)
  7. Paint tray, 9” roller frame & sleeve, 2.5” paint brush

Then figure out the size of your stripes.

Start by measuring the wall from corner to corner (end to end). Then determine what size stripe you envisioned.

Use the tape measure to mark three spots on the wall by measuring out from the corner. Use the 6-foot level to draw a line through the dots. If you think you may want a 12-inch stripe, then measure out 12-inches from the corner and make a pencil mark at the top, middle, and bottom of the wall.

Canva Image

Then measure out 12-inches from the line you just made and mark three

spots (top, middle, bottom).

Make sure you line up the marks as close as possible and draw a straight, level line using the level edge, from top to bottom. Repeat for the other side of the stripe.

Canva Image

Don’t worry if the pencil marks don’t line up perfectly with the level. If they are slightly off, it’s not a problem. The corner may be off a bit, but as long as the first line is plum (vertically level), all the lines will be plum.

Congrats! You just made your first stripe!

Now, stand back and look at the stripe you marked with a pencil.

Do you like the size of the stripe? Is it too broad? Is the stripe so narrow that it will make the wall too busy?

Once you have determined the size of the subtle stripe, figure out where the last stripe will finish at the end of the wall.

If the stripes are 12-inches, does the last one end up being 8-inches or 6?

If so, split the difference and measure out from the initial corner where you started. That difference will be your starting point for the first line of the stripe.

When you finish at the end of the wall, the first and last stripes should be the same size.

Pro Tip: It’s not necessary to initially pencil in all the stripes on the wall. If you have determined the size of the stripes you want, you only need to “map” out the design, which you can do on a piece of paper. The marking of the stripes comes after the initial coating of the walls.

Step 1: Paint the base coat

Now that you’ve got your layout paint the wall(s) with two coats of the flat finish paint and allow it to dry.

Here’s a post on DIY painting: Home Improvements in 2022 (Should You DIY or Hire a Pro?)

Step 2: Penicil in Your Subtle Stripes

Make sure the base coat is completely dry before you mark the wall(s).

Start your measurements and pencil in your stripes as in the previous instructions.

After you mark the wall, use the painter’s tape to make straight “tape lines” that align with the pencil marks.

Make sure you use long, manageable pieces of tape. Too long and the tape will be hard to control; too short, you will end up with uneven lines.


Press down hard on the edges of the tape. No wrinkles.

Here, the lines are horizontal, and the spaces that don’t get painted are marked with small pieces of tape.

Post: The Pros and Cons of Painters Tape

Step 3: Paint every other space

Apply the satin finish paint to every other taped-off area, and you will end up with subtle stripes.

Pro Tip: Paint manufacturers have their version of paint sheens. Big box stores and paint stores will have samples of the different available sheens to choose from.

Wait for the paint to dry before slowly removing the tape. If some lines get messed up, don’t worry. You can touch up the damaged area with the base coat and fix the line.

The WOW Factor

You did it!

When you started, you weren’t sure what to do with your same old walls. Dull, tired old walls that didn’t impress anyone.

But, look at your walls now. Stunning yet subtle walls you brought back from the dead.

You now have DIY Room Painting Ideas that you can use in any room. You’ve learned how to create Subtle Stripes That Wow and will impress even the most critical eyes.

With the knowledge that you’ve gained, you can transform any room using designs just like the Pros!

Take a bow!

Canva Image


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *