herringbone wall

When I saw this herringbone wall via Pinterest, I set it as my screen saver so I could lovingly gaze at it all day long!

And what about this inspiration, also found on Pinterest, for accessorizing my vintage card catalog?  So perfect.

I wanted to marry the two images for my office wall, which was in need of a pick-me-up.

The thing I loved most about the herringbone wall was that it included a third color, which was different than any I had seen up to that point.  {Here} is the excellent tutorial by a genius girl named Laurie on how to achieve this look.  Bless you Laurie.  She used an organic milk paint, but I just used regular old paint because that's what I had.

My best girls of {Club Project} were scheduled to come to my house next, and I knew it would be just the thing for a couple of them to tackle.  G and Candice said they were up for the task, just like I knew they would be.  They got busy with the math part of it, and spent their time measuring and taping it off to perfection.  Looking better already.

The girls are always a good voice of reason.  I loved it so much that I wanted to carry it around onto the other wall, as well as the ceiling and the floor!  Just kidding. But kind of not.  When I love something, it's hard for me not to overdo it.  When we first got married, my Sweet Groom asked me if I had tasted the cake, to which I casually answered yes.  He went into the kitchen and shouted, "You ate a whole row?!"  Is that weird?  I never just have a piece, I prefer a row, which explains why I wanted an entire room in herringbone.  Try not to judge.

Majority vote ruled however, and we collectively decided that less was more with this pattern.  To create the most impact we just kept it on one wall.  My base color was already painted, so I added a little bit of off-white paint to the same color to achieve the lighter shade.  The girls used the clear gloss that Laurie suggests for the other part of the pattern.  So, when you pull the 1 inch tape off, it is the original paint color underneath, with no gloss on it, which is the way to achieve that third color.  After much anticipation that day, here they are pulling the tape off.

Unfortunately, the end result didn't produce that third color very well which is what had sold me on it in the first place.  The walls in the inspiration photo look like smooth texture to me, which is why the thin, one inch wide lines really stand out.  I still think the tutorial is awesome, and would work perfectly if you have really smooth walls.  Sadly, I could only see that third color on my wall for about 20 minutes every afternoon when the sun hit the wall just right.  I let it be for a month, and I really tried to love it.  But I just couldn't.  It took the better part of one day to hand paint the lines a bit darker with a small artist brush.  No pictures included because it was still super hot which meant I was wearing my "summer outfit".

Here is my wall all done.

It ended up being a bit more graphic than I had anticipated, but I do love it.  It's not quite as soft as Laurie's, but it really works well in my space because it has lots of natural light and high ceilings.  My office is right off my kitchen, so lucky for me I get to stare at it all day long.

I can't help but realize that everything pictured was acquired from garage sales, thrift stores, or better yet, free.  Even the card catalog was a sweet Craigslist score a few years back.  I did a tutorial on the thrift store lampshade {here}, my little boys brought the nest in from the backyard, I found the step ladder in the trash, and the white, porcelain roses in the tarnished brass container were made by a friend I met on Craigslist.  Thanks Marlee!

If you have walls with smooth texture, Laurie's excellent tutorial will work perfectly. But if you have walls with texture like mine, this is what I wish I had done.

1. Paint wall your base color in an eggshell finish.  This is going to be the color of your 1 inch stripes. If you are using three different colors of paint, I think this should be slightly darker than the other two.  But that is strictly my personal opinion. When the paint is dry, tape off your pattern.
2. Use the same color, in satin, for one of the colors in the herringbone pattern.  You could also choose a shade slightly off of your base color if you truly want three different colors, which is what I ended up with. (but that was out of necessity) If you are just doing one wall, a quart should be plenty.  Paint the first part of the two toned pattern and let dry.
3.  Use a slightly different shade in a semigloss finish to paint the other part of the herringbone pattern.  A quart of semigloss paint is much cheaper than a quart of clear gloss.
4.  Remove the tape as soon as you complete the wall.  My girls really pressed the tape against the wall so there was no bleeding which is crucial to achieving clean, crisp lines.

Of course there are no right/wrong rules to this tutorial, and you could use three completely different colors if you want something really bold.  If you love herringbone as much as I do, invite your two best friends over (hopefully one is a math major), make them lunch, and create something that you adore in your own home.  Your space should be a reflection of you, and paint is cheap.

I dare you.


  1. Wow factor...deluxe....this room is amazing.

  2. The prep work alone would do me in! Awesome job. Great look :) Love it.
    J in Mesa

  3. So proud of you and your girls! You did an awesome job. Thanks for including my tutorial and taking a risk on design!

    Love your site. You have a very approachable manner about your posts and projects.

    Keep up the awesome!


  4. This turned out beautifully!


  5. I love how the herringbone pattern livens up the wall behind the card catalog. It's a nice balance of the modern graphic pattern with the vintage card catalog.

  6. oh my mercy!!! that is the most beautiful wall I have ever seen!! Visiting from Centsational Girl

  7. What? This is amazing! Just found you via Centsational Girl.. I'll be back:)

  8. :) I did the same herringbone on my entire hallway (got it from the same inspiration pic from design sponge) about six months ago and my genius hubby pressed down every little nook and cranny...please readers, note, this IS the key to no bleeding! :)

  9. Where did you find the inspiration photo?

    1. Hi Sharisse:
      The inspiration photo came from Laurie March, and it was featured on Design Sponge. Here is the link.

  10. It's good to read an article sometimes. Such blog entries are the ones I can read more often.


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Mia & Jilly

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