If you’re planning to repaint and want something a little different, a half-painted wall could be just the thing. It gives you the benefit of bold color without overwhelming your space, adds on-trend graphic edge, and can even be easier than painting the whole wall from top to bottom if you have high ceilings.
This paint trend doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon, and I think that’s a good thing. Here are some do’s and don’ts of painting a bicolored wall, from choosing shades to applying paint to styling your space.
Do use a half-painted wall to try a dark hue in the nursery. Deep, dramatic colors like charcoal, navy and even black are trending throughout the home, and we’re even beginning to see these hues get more use in nurseries and kids’ rooms. But really dark colors can still feel like too much for a little one’s space. If you want to try the trend, go for a wall that’s half-painted (or in this case, partially painted): You get all the edge, but with the upper half to two-thirds crisp white, the overall effect is still upbeat.
Don’t feel you must place the horizontal line in the exact center. Artists, photographers and designers all use the “rule of thirds” to create visually interesting compositions, and you can too. Imagine that your wall is divided into three equal parts horizontally, like layers of a cake. By placing your focal point (in this case, the paint line) where two layers intersect, you can create more visual tension than if the line was dead center.
Do emphasize interesting architecture with a half-painted wall. Have a high-ceilinged room, double-height stairway or other interesting architectural feature you would like to emphasize? Follow the lines with a half-painted wall to draw the eye toward the special feature.
Don’t attempt a tricky application on your own. While a basic half-painted wall is easier to DIY than you might think (keep reading for painting prep tips), more complicated applications. If you have a tricky look in mind for your half-painted wall, consider sharing your inspiration photo with a pro and hiring him or her to do the painting.
Do hang art that crosses the paint line. Deliberately crossing the line between the two colors of your wall is a great way to make your painted wall feel like part of a well-thought-out design scheme. You can use artwork, a mirror or a textile wallhanging to cross the line. Just make sure it’s a good-size piece — a tiny frame won’t make the same impression.
Do go tone-on-tone with soft neutrals. If you would like to try a half-painted wall but are wary of committing to a bold color, this can be a good compromise. The closer the paint colors are to each other, the more subtle the effect. If you want a really subtle look, pick a lighter neutral for the top half of the wall, and one to two shades darker for the bottom.
Do try a painted wainscot in the bath. Don’t have a traditional wood wainscot but wish you did? For a quicker version, define the space in a small bath or powder room with a high-contrast painted wall. In the space shown here, crisp gray-and-white walls, patterned floor tile and woven accessories combine for a rich neutral look.
Don’t rush prep time. If you usually do your own painting, you can probably manage a half-painted wall too. Take your time, be sure you have a helper and gather all the necessary tools before you begin.
Don’t be afraid to try a diagonal line. It may look tricky, but a diagonal line isn’t any more difficult to get right than a horizontal line.