Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Paint By Numbers

I have a thing for stripes. That's pretty obvious when you open my dresser drawer. It's part nautical, part Francophile, and partly about staying within the lines. When I first saw this image in Country Living, I took a mental snapshot and tucked it away, just waiting for the right moment to recreate it. Having just moved into my own apartment (All mine! Even the mortgage!), I was ready to break out the painter's tape and earn my stripes. Here are a few tips I took away from a day on the job.
1. Measure twice, paint once. Or in my case, I measured over and over...perfectionism is hard! I got lucky - my walls are approximately 100 inches long, so I went with 10 inch stripes. Five black, five white. That's the kind of math I like. Even-stevens!

2. Not all stripes are created equal. You might notice in the photo above that some stripes look thicker than others. That's because all of the stripes you'll be painting get the painter's tape placed on the outside of your marks, while the stripes that are staying the original color look smaller from the thick tape.
3. Be bold. When I brought the Martha Stewart color chart to the paint desk at Home Depot and requested a quart of "Francesca" (fun fact: the name of Martha's black french bulldog!) the woman behind the desk stopped me. "That's black," she said, while pointing to the black paint chip in my hand. "Yes, I know," I replied. "I'm painting stripes in my foyer." She gave me back a blank stare. It reminded me of that saying, 'Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.' Even if said dream is a perfect little foyer. It's okay if other people don't "get it". Does a design decision make you happy? Then go for it!

4. Use the right tools. In this case I went with a thin, short roller that promised not to shed (totally worth the extra $2) and a small brush for dabbing paint into the corners and touching up edges.

5. Be patient. As I mentioned, I only actually painted 5 thick stripes in a very small space. And yet, it took nearly all day. All the measuring, taping, two coats, etc. Then, I let the stripes dry for a few hours before removing the painter's tape. Voila! I keep finding reasons to walk between the bathroom, living room, and bedroom. I just want to be near the stripes. Sigh.
If you enjoy seeing the world in black and white as much as I do, check out this Pinterest board. Not on Pinterest yet? I'll be posting about that soon. But be warned! It's super addictive.


  1. Merci! Il se sent un peu le francais.

  2. AMAZING! You did a great job! I love stripes! I'm planning to this very same thing in a small hallway in my home. Ha! I guess we're both a little crayzay! ;) I say go bold or go home - wait -I'm already at home :)

  3. Looks amazing. And the bolder the color the better for stripes. Glad you stuck to your plan.

  4. This is GORGEOUS! I've been dying to do this to my hallway ... and now that I see how amazing yours turned out I'm completely motivated to bust out the paint brush.

  5. Love it! Very inspiring, I might actually get around to doing my hallway now...

  6. I think there may be striped hallways in heaven. Perfection!!

  7. this turned out great. I love the wide bands. not a huge fan of stripes but i love what you did to a small space.

  8. Painting stripes is definitely a labor of love. I've done them a few times and halfway through thought "What am I doing?" Once finished it was totally worth it though! Yours look fabulous!