This DIY tutorial will show you how to create an amazing herringbone wall design with paint. Our DIY small bathroom makeover started with a simple beige bathroom and over the years involved into a more modern space. Here is our bathroom accent wall idea.
The “Before” Small Bathroom
This is a great example of why dark walls don’t really work in small spaces that do not get natural light. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule but our bathroom was not one of them.
Our First Bathroom Makeover
We had done a simple bathroom remodel when we first moved in. The previous owners even had carpet in the bathroom and the cabinets were construction-grade oak cabinets from the ’90s.
Cheap bathroom remodel ideas
- Removed carpet and laid neutral tile (this was ten years ago so that is why we went with beige)
- Painted the walls a natural lighter color
- Used gel stain on the honey oak cabinets to update the vanity
- Added a new light fixture
- Added a newer shower curtain
- Removed glass doors but kept the original tub
Choosing An Accent Wall Idea
After the initial small bathroom makeover, our bathroom still felt pretty blah. It was better than the dark dungeon from the previous owners, but we knew we still needed to add a little something special with paint.
Why did we choose to paint?
Honestly, at the time, a painted accent wall pattern was the cheapest solution for us. I could also do this when our newest baby was napping. Anytime we can take advantage of nap time that is a win!
We love painted geometric accent walls and knew a chevron or herringbone pattern in a nice gray color would work out well.
- 1″ Painter’s tape (this is the brand I ALWAYS use for detailed work)
- Small foam rollers
- Paintbrush for trimming
- Ruler and/or tape measurer
- Paint color of your choice (We used SW Polished Concrete)
- Paint tray or liner (I love these small & cheap liners)
Buying Paint Tips!
Here is a tip about Sherwin Williams or most other places you will buy your paint. I had an old gallon of paint in my basement that I bought during one of their 40% off sales. I never had it tinted.
Once I decided on “Polished Concrete” I was able to take my old gallon to the store and they tinted it for free! It is always great to use what you have and really helped me stay on budget for this project! We discuss more gray paint ideas in this post.
Before You Begin
If you want to have a different color than the current wall for your tape lines, you will need to paint a new base color. After you have your base coat, you are going to tape out your herringbone design.
Do you need help deciding what color of paint to use?
We recently just tried Samplize and it totally beats having to buy individual paint samples. These 9″ x 14.75″ samples will get shipped directly to you and save the hassle of clean-up (we loved that).
How To Paint A DIY Herringbone Wall
Step 1: Measure Your Wall & Sketch A Design
Decide on how far apart you would like your designs. Our lines in my herringbone design come together at the point every 7″ down and 12″ apart.
Step 2: Tape Out Vertical Lines
Measure 12″ across your wall. Mark in 3 places. Line frog tape up in order to get straight lines vertically.
Keep the tape straight and pull it tightly when mapping out your herringbone design. This will help you get clean and crisp lines.
Step 3: Tape Diagonal Lines
For each line, measure 7″ down and tape diagonally from one to the other. So your first diagonal line starts at the ceiling and goes down to the 7″ mark on the next line.
Step 4: Continue Taping All Diagonal Lines
Keep repeating to make the herringbone pattern. Press the tape fully.
Use your fingernail to really make the tape stick.
Other Ways To Get Painter’s Tape To Seal
- Use a foam roller (without paint) and run it over the tape.
- Use an old credit card before pushing the tape on nice and flat.
Step 5: Paint The Wall
Once the herringbone design is completely taped, use a roller to paint the whole surface and a brush to trim out the edges. You may need two or three coats.
Step 6: Peel The Tape
Once rolling and trimming are done, it is time for the fun!
I like to peel the tape when the paint is dry, but not too dry. Some painters will want you to wait a day, but I am just too impatient for that
Pulling straight out with design can help. If there are any bleeds, you can always touch up the design with the base coat. I did have to touch up a few spots, especially along the ceiling.
Step 7: Clean-up And Touch up
Once you have removed the tape, you may see that you have some spots to touch up.
Decorate Your Bathroom
We love the painted accent wall in our small bathroom (as well as all the other bathroom DIY projects)!
DIY Painted Herringbone Accent Wall
- Ruler or Tape Measurer
- 1″ Painter’s tape this is the best brand to use for these designs.
- Wall Paint In The Color Of Your Choice
- Decide on your design and dimensions between lines.
- Tape vertical lines 12" apart. Use a level or measure in 3 spots to make sure you are taping a straight line.
- Measure 7" down from the ceiling on every other line and mark with a pencil.
- Continue to measure 7" down from the mark or ceiling.
- Create a diagonal line from each 7" mark. Repeat until design is complete.
- Press tape on with fingernails, old credit card or clean foam roller.
- Use a color of your choice and small foam roller to paint at least 2 coats of paint. Use a paint brush to trim out the edges of the wall.
- Once paint is dry, pull tape off the wall starting with the diagonal lines.
- Continue untill all the tape is off. Touch up the paint as needed.