DIYdiy projects

diy project: laurie’s herringbone wall design

by Kate Pruitt

I have a small entryway that’s been screaming for attention, but I’ve procrastinated fixing it up because frankly, I’m stumped for ideas. This wall design from Laurie has me feeling thankful that I dragged my feet; my sad little entryway is about to experience the magical healing power of herringbone! Every decision Laurie’s made elevates this design to remarkable chicness. The combination of textured milk paint and smooth gloss finish, the over-sized scale of the pattern and the subtle taupe-and-cream color palette have me wishing I could wear this wall — I’d be the most fashionable girl on the street. This project is perfect for the fall season, easy enough to tackle in a weekend and far cheaper than even one roll of wallpaper. I can’t wait to try it out myself. Thanks for sharing, Laurie! — Kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

Call it what you want — chevron or herringbone, this zig-zaggy pattern has climbed obsessively into my subconscious. I’m drawn to its frisky impertinence in rugs, fabrics, dishes and linens. I’ve seen several wallpapers with chevron-inspired patterns, but every time I really loved one I couldn’t seem to track down who made it. I’ve been imagining it in a slightly laid back, weathered application, to fit in with my wood-filled Spanish style home in LA. Last week, I took to painting my entryway in a two-toned milk paint and clear gloss chevron pattern and it was surprisingly painless! Barb provided a great overview on milk paint and all its awesome artistic capabilities. Milk paint is a chemical free, moody paint that lends age and character to the stuff you apply it to. A new product called SafePaint has been re-worked for greater ease of use on wall surfaces. Enjoy! — Laurie


  • one quart bag of  SafePaint
  • 0ne quart of clear gloss to go over water-based paint
  • foam roller and roller tray
  • one roll of 1” blue tape
  • 3” brush and plastic paint pail
  • two cups of water (this is a departure from the suggested mix)
  • a drop cloth and ladder
  • kitchen timer

Cost: $60

Time: 5 hours


Taping the Wall:

1. Find the middle of the wall and tape a straight line down the center. A pattern like this in a small space really benefits from some symmetry. For my wall, it worked best to divide the wall again, resulting in four equal vertical wall sections. Here’s where the personal part happens: how steep do you want your chevrons to be? Each of my Vs ended up being 17” wide and 9” tall from point to point.  This made for a more subtle pattern, as opposed to a more perky and modern herringbone (17” wide and 17” tall).

2. Starting at the ceiling, mark off every 9” and tape from one little mark diagonally down to the one below it. Repeat this angle from the top to the bottom of each row, until the entire row is complete.

Note: The tape lines will be part of the design, which I like. You could alter this pattern to get rid of the vertical tape lines, keeping only the zigzags (a more modern look I think) by drawing and erasing vertical lines on the actual wall and measuring out your 9” sections on the wall. Then begin taping the diagonals off without any vertical tape lines.

Painting the Design

1. For a thick, even consistency, combine SafePaint and water and stir for five minutes or so. I used a paint stir stick and smashed the lumps against the side of my plastic paint pail. You can short the mixture a ¼ cup of water if you want the paint really thick. To improve the consistency, set a kitchen timer for one hour and put the lid on the pail.

2. When applying the paint, you want to “go with the grain” of the pattern, painting the lines at the same angle as the chevron to keep the eye moving up and down in the same direction. Always start at the top of the point and work your way down.

3.  The paint will dry very quickly. One coat of the paint has visible brush strokes in it, but I liked the texture it added to the design, so I chose not to apply a second coat.

4. Next, take a foam roller with the high gloss clear coat to the alternating spaces, being careful not to touch the roller to the drying SafePaint. Try to find a clear gloss formulated to go over flat wall paint, which helps it to adhere well to the wall. Be careful, though: the gloss paint adhered so well, I had a terrible time opening the can!

5. Wait about an hour in between coats of the gloss. When it is dry to the touch, peel back all the blue tape and admire the results.


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