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 had carpet in the bathroom and the cabinets were construction-grade oak cabinets from the ’90s.
- Removed carpet and laid neutral tile (this was ten years ago so that is why we went with beige)
- Painted the walls a neutral, 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!
Always buy your paint on sale. You can take an older gallon of untinted paint that was purchased at 40% off sales and get it tinted at a later date in time. If you know that you are going to have an upcoming project but are unsure of the color this may be a solution for you.
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).
Check out the brands you can get here. See our review and hopefully get the answers to those frequently asked Samplize questions.
How To Paint A DIY Herringbone Wall
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.
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 on your bathroom wall. 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
Here we made these industrial bathroom shelves with a bit of help by buying these industrial pipe flanges from Amazon. I love how they look against our DIY herringbone accent wall.
Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!
- 40+ DIY Shelving Ideas For Any Home Decor Style
- 11 Painted Bathroom Vanity Ideas
- 20+ Budget DIY Accent Walls You Have To See
We love the painted accent wall in our small bathroom (as well as all the other bathroom DIY projects)!
If you like this tutorial, make sure to give it 5-stars below 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩. It truly helps us to continue to bring your more free, budget-friendly DIYs.
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.
Monday 13th of September 2021
But that's not Herringbone. That's Chevron. Herringbone has off-set line and intersections.
Monday 13th of September 2021
Thanks for the design terminology and for clarifying the difference between the two types of designs.
Thursday 9th of September 2021
like what you did on the wall, however this is a chevron pattern not herringbone.
Saturday 11th of September 2021
Hi Monique. Thank you for that information. I guess I should say "faux" herringbone design or chevron wall.
Monday 28th of June 2021
Erin, Love your DIY bathroom wall and I think I may try to do this in our small bathroom that is set up just like yours. To get behind the toilet....did you take the tank off? I have a hard time just painting behind any toilet.
Tuesday 29th of June 2021
Hi Gail. I am so happy you love our bathroom makeover. I actually was able to get the small foam roller behind the toilet. As for taping the lines, it was awkward and I am sure that they are not perfect, but I was able to do it well enough. You will want to take the lid off on the toilet in order to be able to reach as much as you can. Good luck with your bathroom makeover!
Wednesday 3rd of June 2020
I just came across this, looking for ideas on Pinterest. Your bathroom looks just like mine..well, mine is ugly right now. The other wall, is it just plain?
Wednesday 3rd of June 2020
Hi Shirley. I am so happy you found our blog on Pinterest. Yes, I debated about painting the whole bathroom a lighter gray or even more white, however, I just kept it the cream color. Only the wall that you are seeing has the gray design on it. At first, my husband wasn't sure my accent wall idea would work, but when it was done he really liked it. I hope that helps! Good luck in your small bathroom makeover.
Thursday 27th of June 2019
This is gorgeous and you make it look so easy! I feel like something like this would take me forever but I am inspired by your patience and attention to detail :) Great job!!!
Friday 28th of June 2019
Hi Annie! Thanks for the kind words about this DIY painted accent wall! I really love how it changed our boring bathroom on a budget!