DIYdiy projectswindows and walls

diy idea: paint strip wall decoration

by Grace Bonney

lauren and derek are under the weather today so i thought i’d wrap up diy day with this great project from d*s reader scott prendergast of a state of emergency. scott started with a simple idea- to decorate his bedroom wall with something colorful and affordable. so he went to home depot every day for a few weeks and took around 1000 paint swatches. after he arranged his collection in the desired pattern he used mod podge to attach them to the wall and- voila! a new colorful bedroom wall. i know some of you won’t want to lift 1,000 samples so if you’d like to purchase samples instead you can contact your local hardware or paint store to purchase packs (my local tarzian hardware store told me they could order some for a small price). either way, the result is a colorful, and more customized, alternative to wallpaper. thanks to scott for sharing!


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  • I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been in Home Depot, looked at the paint chips and thought, “I need to decorate my walls with those.” I’m serious. Dozens of times. The only thing stopping me was not being able to decide which wall to do.

    Good for you Scott, for doing it! I think I’ll actually choose a wall now!

    [P.S. The Disney swatches (with Mickey’s head on them) would be adorable in a kid’s room.]

  • Scott, your bedroom makeover is truly fantastic, but I’m not convinced the look matches your ’emergency’ style. Did you think of using bandaids? Beige might be making a comeback after this discussion.

    thanks ds & everyone for making me laugh today!!

  • ah. never laughed so hard at comment exchanges in my life.

    obviously take offense that all of us “scandinavians” are tall & blond. am short and have that indeterminable blah thing going on. also, it is more correct to speak of nordic people, as it includes the finns and the icelanders. who happen to be style icons de luxe.
    ALL great design ideas are stolen from us. we’re used to it.

    as for thEifing samples, eh…really? putting them to use is worse than throwing them away? really?

  • I have laughed so hard at this – this has been hysterical! Thanks Scott – this really does look great and I’m thinking of doing the same in my art studio with all my STOLEN paint samples I have collected over the years. Only drawback is my walls aren’t smooth –

  • I don’t think the bedspread is so bad. It’s more about the tacky way the bed is made. The photo should have been “staged” a little better! We don’t need to see your sheets…ever!

  • This is a very very colorful nice idea, i just love it really much. i love alll colors especially they are all together… so good keep the good work :)

  • I am totally planning on doing this in my living room and bedroom in the apartment I am moving into. I plan on using a limited color scheme (greens for the living room and blues for the bedroom) I originally planned on just doing each rows of all the same color plate 500-510-520-530-540-550-540-530….etc but I noticed on yours that the colors are kinda all mixed in? How did you choose how to arrange them?

  • what did you use to stick it to the wall? i have tones of paint swatches and they’re not the cardboard kind. They’re pretty thin and I’m afraid the edges will peel!

  • That looks so cool and such a great idea. If I could convince my wife I would love to do this at home. I love the way it repeats and is also so modern looking.

  • Personally, I love this idea. I think it looks wonderful & would love to one day to it in my room with paint chips that I have collected.

    I was all for defending you about the stolen chips in the begining but after reading all of these comments you have been nothing but rude. People are allowed to express there opinions but you dont have to answer back with a sassy tone if you happen to disagree. On the other hand I do happen to think this is very unique and fun.

    • sh123

      just wanted to step in to defend the diy project owner here- i think if i’d been jumped on by a sea of commenters i might have gotten a little testy, too. people got a little heated via comments and emails so he sort of got it from all directions. if commenters can dish it out, i think the project owners can, too.


  • I love it, but I think I would do just a plain down comforter on the bed so the main focus is the gorgeous wall. Great look!

  • Okay people really, small scale “theft” is not something they would EVER prosecute him for. It said he took one or a few everytime he went to Home Depot. I do the same time I go to ANY place with paint swatch card thingies. So does that mean I’m a thief? NO. If there were a price on them, yes. But the fact of the matter is, there is not! THEY ARE FREE! 1 or 1000. Until Home Depot puts a price on them, they’re fair game.

    That being said, this wall is GORGEOUS! I would absolutely love to do this, but I don’t think I could ever manage to get them organized in such a beautiful manner!

  • I think this man is a genius. PLUS, he’s thrifty. Many kudos…..hope you’ve updated that bedding to match your genius status. GOOD JOB!

  • i love that we can take a perfectly innocent design project and turn it into some sort of political discussion. people spewing political jargon is all around us and this website is intended for fun so go cry to your local congressmen but leave my design sponge blog out of it. =) scott although i am a little offended by your sheets…(sarcasm) i personally like your bedspread and i love the wall! and mod podge for that matter.

  • this is the most hilarious wall on design sponge, hands down! as soon as I got to the comments about theft, I was like.. oh here we go. Then I got into the mom and pop shops and I almost did a face palm, haha. overall scott, I’m not going to comment so much on the idea, since it’s not so new. However, I was inspired by the color scheme you chose. I love the classic colors of red and blue, and I adore the seamless flow from one to the next. What would be really interesting to see, imo, is a green and blue wallscape!

  • Cool idea… in the case of you can’t make up your mind on which color to paint the walls! ;) I too have that problem, too many wonderful colors to choose from!

  • Do you think there is a way to achieve this without the modge podge for someone who isn’t allowed to paint/wallpaper the wall? I was thinking thumb tacks but that would leave a million small holes, and im not sure if tape would look all that posh…..

  • I swiped every.single.swatch that Lowes, Home Depot, Aubochon, etc had to offer, cut each swatch out and did a rainbow gradient collage. Just glued it together with hot glue. It ended up being about 8ft long and 5ft high, took *5* months haha. Free art!

  • This is what searching the web is all about, what a great blog. When I was at Uni we went into B&Q and took loads of tester wallpaper samples and did a similar thing in the kitchen. The landlord of our dogs wasn’t impressed tho…

  • This is a fantastic idea! My husband was opposed to the taking of so many paint samples, so I was determined to find some way to buy them from Home Depot–but they refused to take my money. They really didn’t care, even if I took a huge stack. If you’re concerned or feel like you’re stealing, talk to a manager, tell them you want them for a project and not to buy paint and say what they say. Offer to pay $0.10 per sample or something… most likely they won’t want you to pay but you can try. If not, let your guilt go – it really is free.

  • I really love that design. I used to be fairly obbessed with those paint strips from DIY stores. I used them to test colour copies back in the day to see which would produce the best colour match. Canon would always come out on top.

  • When you go shopping, you’ll need to refer to your fabric, carpet, tile, wallpaper, and trim samples constantly. Be sure to take everything with you wherever you go. No tellng where you might see something wonderful.

  • I’m totally going to do this. Only I will paint the walls black and use the paint swatches to create an equalizer look. :D

  • That is so not stealing! If he were trying to sell the swatches for a profit, maybe it would be but for personal use… not stealing!

    I couldn’t live with that on my walls on a daily basis (it’s too busy for me, that’s all) but it’s super, super cool and very nicely executed. Bravo!

    Your duvet link isn’t working but I found the Martin Citrus duvet on the site and I think it suites the room PERFECTLY. I hope you bought it!

  • Great Idea! I’m inspired… just wondering .. I got tired of looking through the comments for the answer… How would it be best to reserve this look to a washable surface? and what would best be used to stick the swatches to the wall surface? I would like to try something similar with my own resources from old books and sketches but I’m not sure what materials I should use.

  • I love the way you “randomly” turned some of the samples “upside down”. It breaks it up making it more cohesive… oxymoron and all. :)

  • Just found this fantastic article what a great idea looks great, i dont know if I could bare the thought of all the trips to gain my paint swatch collection though!… but still what a quirky look..thank you

  • I love the modern look of the design and the colour of it. It definitely brightens up the room. Would look great with some window shutters to control the light in the room for an even better effect!


  • hi
    i am arranging a color wall but i don’t know where should i start
    i started with value of light and HUE value but i see there are grey chips are coming with the same
    L and H values
    what should i do

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