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How To Paint A Herringbone Bathroom Accent Wall

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.

before dark small bathroom makeover with arrow pointing to freshly painted chevron gray bathroom accent wall and shelves.

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.

dark red walls, glass shower door with new tile being put down in bathroom.

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Read our full privacy policy.

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

plain small bathroom with beige walls, clear shower curtain and light.

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.

Recommended Supplies

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).

Check out the brands you can get here. You can also check out our post, see our review and hopefully get the answers to those frequently asked Samplize questions.

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.

herringbone design with arrows showing 12" and 7" vertical.

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.

herringbone design tape on the bathroom wall with green tape and paint samples.

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.

herringbone design done with tape on small bathroom wall.

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.

gray painted wall over taped design above bathroom sink.

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.

diagonal tape being pulled off the wall in bathroom.

Step 7: Clean-up And Touch up

Once you have removed the tape, you may see that you have some spots to touch up.

Painted herringbone gray accent wall in bathroom.

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.

two stained shelves on bathroom wall with grey herringbone painted pattern.

We love the painted accent wall in our small bathroom (as well as all the other bathroom DIY projects)!

gray herringbone painted bathroom accent wall with gel stained cabinets and industrial bathroom shelves.

Follow us on Pinterest, Youtube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

Painted herringbone gray accent wall in bathroom.

DIY Painted Herringbone Accent Wall

Learn how to paint a herringbone pattern for a cheap small bathroom makeover.
Print Pin Rate
Keyword: herringbone accent wall, herringbone wall paint
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours
Dry Time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 2 hours 15 minutes
Author: Erin
Cost: under $40

Equipment

Recommended Supplies

  • 1″ Painter’s tape this is the best brand to use for these designs.
  • Wall Paint In The Color Of Your Choice

Instructions

  • Decide on your design and dimensions between lines.
    herringbone design with arrows showing 12" and 7" vertical.
  • Tape vertical lines 12" apart. Use a level or measure in 3 spots to make sure you are taping a straight line.
    herringbone design tape on the bathroom wall with green tape and paint samples.
  • 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.
    herringbone design done with tape on small bathroom wall.
  • 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.
    gray painted wall over taped design above bathroom sink.
  • Once paint is dry, pull tape off the wall starting with the diagonal lines.
    diagonal tape being pulled off the wall in bathroom.
  • Continue untill all the tape is off. Touch up the paint as needed.
    Painted herringbone gray accent wall in bathroom.
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Olyvia

Monday 13th of September 2021

But that's not Herringbone. That's Chevron. Herringbone has off-set line and intersections.

Erin

Monday 13th of September 2021

Thanks for the design terminology and for clarifying the difference between the two types of designs.

Monique

Thursday 9th of September 2021

like what you did on the wall, however this is a chevron pattern not herringbone.

Erin

Saturday 11th of September 2021

Hi Monique. Thank you for that information. I guess I should say "faux" herringbone design or chevron wall.

gail

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.

Erin

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!

Shirley

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?

Erin

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.

Annie

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!!!

Erin

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!

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