{Pizz-Azz} Painting Stripes in a Bathroom

I’ve mentioned that we’ve lived in our current house for almost five years. But haven’t mentioned that we moved here from Nashville….and if you’ve ever moved cross-country, you know it’s intense! Mr. Sugarplum and I looked at 31 houses in two days, narrowed it down to two, then flew back to Nashville and worked the rest by phone. (You need a ridiculously good realtor for this!) So when we showed up on our new doorstep six weeks later, the details of what we’d find inside were a little foggy.

This is actually how it looks now, not then…but I felt this was an appropriate spot to insert a photo!

Fortunately, it was bad enough so far from our taste, that we decided to update the paint and floors before moving in. So with our overflowing U-Haul parked by the curb (“Howdy new neighbors!!”), we spent the next week with painters and floor guys and carpet guys.

Some rooms I really knew what I wanted to do…what color I wanted. But by the time this bath rolled around I just waved it off with an exhausted, “Paint it the same as the living room and hall!” The bath is on the small side, and closest to the front door, so typically I’d like to have fun with it…but there was no creative juice left in me then. It’s also the bath between the kid’s room, but I certainly did not want to decorate the main guest bath with little yellow duckies!

kid bath original
This is what it looked like with previous owners (nice wallpaper border!)

Inspiration recently hit for that bathroom…..STRIPES! But like all my wild hairs, it came on quickly and I was a bad blogger about taking pictures.

Here’s a peek at the bathroom before (All I did upon move-in was paint the walls, switch out the cabinet knobs and add some accessories):

guest bath before

And here is the only shot I got of the striping process!!!??


Unfortunately, adding stripes to a wall involves a lot more math than this girl can do on her own, so I used this tutorial from Young House Love:

Step 1: Divide & Conquer- Measure the full length of your wall and divide that number by twice the number of stripes that you want to have minus one (ex: our ceiling is 98″ tall and we wanted six horizontal stripes so we divided 98 by 11 (6 x 2 = 12 – 1 = 11) to get the thickness of each stripe. Ours came out to about 8.9 inches.

Step 2: Make Your Mark- Use a ruler to mark off every 8.9 inches starting from the floor and working up to the ceiling (we made two small pencil marks on each wall, one on each side).

Step 3: Tape It Off- Grab some blue painter’s tape and connect your pencil markings to create taped off stripes (once the tape is in place rub it a few times so you know that it’s flush with the wall for cleaner lines). The main thing to remember is that the tape should go outside the marks for the stripes you’ll be painting but inside the marks in the negative space that you won’t be painting. This might sound confusing, but just ask yourself if you’re taping off the stripe or the negative space as you go, and make sure the taped stripes are the right distance apart (ours were 8.9 inches) while the tape for the negative spaces is closer (once you remove the tape both areas will be the same width).

Are you thoroughly confused?!? Once you’re standing there with a ruler and pencil, it will start to become clearer.

I used Frog Tape because it’s the bomb…if you press the edges down good, you will have no bleed through. Peeling it off immediately after you finish your final coat is key too….don’t listen to the old adage about leaving it on overnight. Spend the few dollars more to get this instead of the standard blue painters tape:

Here she is now, in all her striped goodness:


The darker stripe is the new color…and I think I’ll paint the ceiling that color too.


Pretty big impact for only the cost of a quart of paint, don’t you think?! I’ll show you the other updates tomorrow….and hopefully the full room reveal soon!

Leave a Comment


  1. Anonymous wrote:

    This is possibly my favorite makeover…from when you moved in until now is really amazing! What an inviting room. ali

    Posted 7.29.10 Reply
  2. love the stripes and i love seeing how people decorate over and ontop of the toilet for some reason, i know random.

    Posted 8.11.10 Reply
  3. Nicole wrote:

    I love what you did! I have been debating painting stripes in our small room our toliet is in, but I have been super nervous about it. Thank you for the inspiration! I think I am going to go ahead and tackle it!

    Posted 8.12.10 Reply
  4. Ah, I love your stripes!

    I have a bit of an obsession and painted our whole nursery in horizontal stripes.


    They always look so crisp and unique!

    Awesome job. 🙂

    Posted 8.12.10 Reply
  5. Jenna wrote:

    Hi! First-time reader here (linked from The Pleated Poppy), and I am sooo thrilled that you use FrogTape! My husband works for the company that makes it (ShurTech Brands) and we tell everyone we know (even random people we run into at the hardware store) that they need to try it! Just for that reason alone, I'm becoming a follower! (But I really like your blog, too.)


    Posted 8.13.10 Reply
  6. I want to paint some of the ceilings in our house too, let me know how it goes:)

    Posted 9.14.10 Reply
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    i love it! what color paint did you use for the stripes?

    Posted 10.14.10 Reply
  8. Jenny wrote:

    I would love to know the color! It looks very pretty!

    Posted 10.28.10 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi all! I'm from London but am living in Berlin at the moment.
    Gotta love this place!

    [url=http://stephetteh.wordpress.com/]Barrater is my life[/url]

    Posted 1.7.11 Reply