DIYdiy projects

DIY Project: Geometric Painted Wall

by Kate Pruitt

As someone who loves wallpaper but hates the physical act of wallpapering, I feel indebted to Alecia Stenseth for showing me a fantastic alternative for decorated walls. Alecia was inspired by a wall in designer Kelly Wearstler’s beach house that was featured in Elle Decor, so she decided to create a similar geometric pattern on her bedroom wall using painter’s tape and house paint. My favorite step in this project is the one where you cover everything on the wall in white, then slowly peel away the tape to reveal the gorgeous ochre lines. I’ve used painter’s tape long enough to know how deeply satisfying it is to see those clean, crisp lines appear out of nowhere. Thanks for showing us how you made this beautiful wall, Alecia! — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .


  • paint (I used Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint: Semi Gloss “Ultra Pure White” and Interior Flat Enamel “Exotic Honey”)
  • painter’s tape in 1″ (for the pattern) and 2″ thickness (for the border)
  • paint brushes (2″ angled brush and various small fine art brushes for touch-ups)



1. First, hand paint the stripes on the wall in a geometric pattern. (I wanted to keep that hand-painted look and for the lines to have some undulation in color.)

2. Cover the pattern in painter’s tape — I used 1″ wide tape, although using different widths of tape could create a fun and unique design, as well.

3. Repaint over the tape in the same color to prevent bleeding and to obtain crisp uniform lines (use your brush to feather the paint away from the tape).

4. Cover the entire wall with four coats of high-gloss white. I used a flat base color and the glossy white to really make the design pop. In addition to the juxtaposition of flat and glossy, there is also great texture from the four top coats of white.

5. The final step was to peel away the painter’s tape to reveal the design. We had to touch up a few spots, but overall the lines came out crisp and clean. I pulled from the bottom up.

You’re done!

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  • I LOVE the concept of this and the actual wall itself but next to a bed this particular pattern “strikes” me as jarring. Might the visual stimulation
    be more appropriate on another wall in another room?

  • I LOVE the concept of this and the actual wall itself but next to a bed this particular high contrast broken glass pattern “strikes” me as too jarring.
    Might the visual stimulation be more appropriate on another wall in another room? Perhaps a studio or work place for example.

  • Thanks so much D*S, the contest was great fun and thanks again for wanting to post my tutorial!

    Alexis – the bed is from Design Within Reach it’s the Matera. We have the storage model, which is great for NY living!

    Jay – some people find the splint strange over the bed (it used to live in our Living Room) but I find it to be a fantastic statement and testament to the Eamses power as a couple and what they accomplished together and I really like that symbol above our bed.

    Annie – we only painted the accent wall behind the bed – so the rest of the room is very neutral. You see the wall when you walk by/into the room, but it’s not what you see when you’re falling asleep. The best thing about this technique is you can adapt it for your color/design choice and have fun with it! :)

    Thanks so much!

  • This is awesome!! I just painted stripes in my stairwell, but I’m even more inspired after seeing this post that my next design needs to get a bit more complicated. Way to go Alecia!!

  • oh my goodness…i would have gone at that a completely different (more complicated) way proibably trying to make “train tracks” with the painters tape and meticulously paint the honey color specifically within the lines. This outcome is so Kelly Wearstler-esque…loove it!

  • This is so cool. I love the warm color you chose against the white. Very modern, but welcoming too. Reminds me of tree branches. I would love to try this in my studio when I move into my new home. Very inspiring!

  • This is a great look! Can you post where the bedside wall mounted lights are from please? Thank you!

  • Jennifer – The lights are George Nelson sconces manufactured by Modernica, available at a variety of retailers. Ours are the “Cigar” shape, but they come in several other forms as well.

    Heather – A friend and I discussed various methods, one of which being yours. The method I ended up going with was great, since after I painted the design I was able to step back and get a sense of what the overall finished product would look like and was able to fill in some spots where I wanted some extra lines. It’s become a bit of a show stopper in our home, guests are really impressed by it.

  • Eek — the placement of that wall art between the lamps and its relationship to the stripes is really bringing out some designer OCD in me! Great project though.

  • Super inspired and excited. Trying to convince my beau, I think he likes : )
    This will be a great project for me as I am recently happily unemployed.

  • I’m with you on wallpaper – paint just gives so much freedom. I am loving this site – I’ll be a very busy girl this weekend trying out all these ideas!

  • I am definately going to try this, once school is over and I have some time LOVE IT ! perfect behind the bed like you say, not what you look at when sleeping but adds an awesome dramatic touch

  • I’m wondering if you could get a similar effect (if you’re a renter, and painting crazy patterns is looked down on by your landlord) by using a fun color of washi tape as the geometric lines?

    • dont know if you ever tried it out, but based on your query, I went ahead and did a similar design in gold washi tape- it came out awesome! I’ve got a picture in my Instagram if curious- name: greenstone14