DECK THE WALLS with stripes and chair rail…


We’re back after a bit of a break due to work, visitors and some travel. We just got back from an amazing trip to the UK with some wonderful friends, which brought with it some great new ideas. More on that later. Let’s just say, I’m thinking castle for the next house. For now, let’s get caught up on some projects. We have a lot started, though few finished.

With the holidays upon us, we also have given ourselves some deadlines. Before our last trip, my friend Alicia was in town again and John was not… so I decided to make some changes. Thankfully, Alicia was on hand to make this happen, and John loved what we started. We originally had decided to make our small dining nook bold, using batten board as an accent wall against a pronounced paint color. Then reality set in, and I realized the batten board project was not going to happen ( at least not for a while), and I was bored with the flat paint. I wanted texture, so we decided to add some stripes.

Alicia and I taped the bottom half of our walls in vertical stripes, then painted the bottom half of the wall with clear coat gloss paint. Ideally, you would use a flat and gloss paint of the same color to do this, for a stronger effect. But, this was an afterthought, so we had to go with clear coat. It came out great. And other than the actually taping off, which was tedious, the project was not so bad.

After the painting was done, John added chair rail. Now we have phase I done of this  project. Next weekend we paint the chair rail and trim and do some touch ups. Our goal is to have that part of the room ready for Thanksgiving (when Alicia comes back for a visit).

(Side Note: I left my camera in Scotland with the photos of this project, so for now you will only be getting the “After” look).

How We Did It:

Painting the Stripes

1. We chose 3″ blue painter’s tape because it is a small room, so we did not want the stripes to be too overwhelming.

2. We measured exactly where we wanted the stripes to start and taped off horizontal lines. We used (John used) a square for this to get the exact height. When we started the project Alicia and I just overshot where we wanted the top to be, but when John joined in, he taped it off. I suggest starting with taping the horizontal lines first.

3. We taped the vertical lines in 3″ sections. The easiest way we found to do this is to continue to tape in consecutive rows (one piece of tape abutting the next piece), then remove one section and reuse the tape. This helped to make sure the stripes we even. Though in some corners we had to get creative.

4. After the walls were taped up, we used 4″ paint rollers to paint on the clear coat. I did four coats on each wall, to make the gloss effect more obvious.

5. After we let the walls dry, I removed the tape. Be very careful here, as we lost some paint in the process. We retouched afterwards.

Installing the chair rail:

1. Using the horizontal line that we previously measure, John nailed unprimed chair rail to the wall, using finish nails. We used the size suggested, but discovered it split the wood. So, we went back to Home Depot and went with one size smaller, which worked much better. Try a test run.

2. On some of the very small corner pieces, he actually used gorilla glue to help with tricky areas, or where the wood had split. This helped reinforce the wood.

3. We let that dry overnight.

4. The next day I taped off above and below the chair rail, then painted it. The unprimed wood really absorbed  the paint, so we needed 3 coats. The wood was very porous and uneven, so we decided after that it needed to be sanded. I finished one wall. But, now we need to sand and paint. So, if decide to go unprimed, try a small test areas first.

What You Need:

  1. Gloss and flat paint of the same color or clear coat.
  2. Painter’s tape.
  3. Paint rollers and tray
  4. Tape measure and square
  5. Chair rail
  6. Finish nails
  7. Gorilla glue
  8. Paint for trim
  9. Sand paper

It’s a great little project that is really changing the look of the small room. More in our next post of Phase II.


2 thoughts on “DECK THE WALLS with stripes and chair rail…

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