Office Upgrade: Stripes!

Alternative Title: The Last Freaking Stripes I’m Ever Painting Ever. And I Actually Mean It This Time.

But maybe I should start with this: It was totally worth it. Even despite my bitching. I think that most of my issues were the result of my own mistakes. So come, learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make your own (or um, at least not the same ones). And please, appreciate the awesome end-result. Because B’s reaction of “Wow. Stripes. Good Job.” wasn’t really sufficient for me, lol.

So last week, I cleaned my office. And when I was done, it looked like this.



I really love working in my office when it is clean, but the only problem is that I tend to get distracted by all the things I still want to do in there. Which is why I took on two office projects this week (one big and one small). The big one, as you’ve probably guessed, is painting stripes! I’m no stranger to stripes, as we did vertical tone on tone stripes in our dining room right after moving in. Lately though, I’ve been drawn to all of the horizontal stripes I’m seeing on various home decor blogs. I got it in my head around Tuesday that I just HAD to paint white stripes on the back wall of my office. And soon.

So first I had to break it to B. Who (seemingly having a better memory of the last time we tried to paint stripes than I did) responded with “YOU have fun with that.” haha (as if I’d let him off the hook). I really did not think this was going to be a big deal.

Mistakes #1 and 2: Underestimating and under-planning. 

It just seemed like it would be an easy project. I only wanted eight stripes, I already had plenty of blue tape, and I had leftover white paint from painting the furniture in our guest room. I even had a mini roller! So, I told B, this is going to take like, two hours. Tape off a few lines, roll in some paint, boom. Done. Except, not. The weird thing is, I’m generally a big planner and generally pretty realistic about stuff. But for some reason home projects just make me over-confident. I need to make a pledge to myself that before starting any project I will FIRST gather all of my supplies to make sure I actually have them all, and SECOND double the time I estimate the project will take. Unrealistic expectations are definitely the primary source of my project frustration.

So anyways, here is how we got ‘er done. First, we taped off the stripes on the wall.


Here are some tips that we sort of learned as we went for horizontal stripes:

1) Gravity is working against you, wanting to make your tape sag (unlike vertical stripes). Measure out guide points no more than 2 feet apart across your wall.

2) We used both 2 inch tape and 1.5 inch tape on this, the 1.5 inch was by far easier because it wasn’t quite so rigid to work with.

3) It is MUCH easier if you plan to place your tape directly UNDER your guide marks. At the start of things, I had marked out where exactly I wanted the edges of my stripes to be, so I had to alternate putting the tape over and under the guide marks. For some reason, the tape did not want to lay flat when we were squaring up the bottom of the tape to the guide marks, so for the last 2/3 of the project we added the width of our tape when  measuring guide marks and laid everything out to line up with the top of each line of tape.

4) Accept that this part sucks. And play some good music. Bonus points for random dance breaks.

Next up, I followed a tip I had read online which is to paint over the seams of your tape with the SAME color as is under the tape. This seals the seam between the tape and the wall, and if there is any seeping of color, it will be the color that is already under the tape rather than the color of your stripes. I found this was extremely helpful because our lines were super crisp, much moreso than the last time we did stripes and did not use this tactic.


Paint your stripes! This should have been the easiest step, but it was actually kind of a hassle. Once I had everything taped off and the edges sealed, I went to go find my mini roller and paint. The first thing I noticed was that my mini roller didn’t have any actual rollers (I just had the base) or a pan. So B and I ran to the store to buy some rollers and a pan (cost: approx. $7). Then we got home and I went get the paint and….. noticed it was latex enamel paint. Not normal wall paint. For some reason I was thinking I had used normal wall paint to do the furniture, but apparently not. And some blogs discourage using latex enamel on walls unless you’re going to use it on ALL the walls because it can present some challenges when you go to repaint it down the road. So off I went for pilgrimage #2, to buy some normal white paint. I was annoyed at having to spend more money when this was supposed to be a FREE project, and at having to waste more time making a second trip. So I ran in, grabbed the cheapest can of eggshell white interior paint I saw, and ran back out. (Cost: $11).

Mistake #3: Buying Cheap Paint

There is a difference. If I wasn’t sure before, I am now. The paint I used to paint the office (Benjamin Moore) went on like a dream. It leveled out amazingly, had great coverage, and was just super easy to work with. The paint I bought today? Sucked. It ended up taking THREE coats to get even coverage. This picture was taken after two coats, you can still definitely see roller marks.


Once your stripes are (finally) painted, remove your tape! This is really fun and super satisfying to me. It’s the moment when it all goes from looking like a hot mess to looking (almost) perfect. I say almost because our house has a bit of an annoying paint problem— bits of it peel off whenever it is taped. I believe it is a function of the builder not prepping the walls very well before painting them, but regardless– it happens every time we tape anything off. The white spots you see below are actually bare drywall, not dripped white paint. Luckily this is easy enough to fix and isn’t THAT frustrating because it is expected. I actually have a dedicated brush (it is an angled eyeshadow brush I got at target for like $4) that I always use for these touchups, and they go very fast.



And once touch-ups are done…….. the reveal!



Do you love it? I love it!! Even despite the frustration. Honestly, in the end, it cost me about 4 hours of my life (5 if you count lowes runs) and about $18. Really not a bad price to pay for an amazingly high-impact upgrade. But, as I said before, I think my frustration is a direct result of my own mistakes (not making sure I had all the right supplies ahead of time, buying cheap paint, and under-estimating how long it would take). Over all, I’m absolutely thrilled with this Sunday project. I still have plenty to do in this room, primarily in the getting-things-on-the-walls arena, but this was a giant step in the right direction.

Stay tuned for full details on my mini office project (which you may see in the corner of the room there!).

Anyone else have a serious love/hate relationship with stripes, or is it just me?



3 thoughts on “Office Upgrade: Stripes!

  1. Looks great! And I envy your willingness to spend 5 hours to make this happen. I doubt I have spent 5 hours TOTAL in my life on house projects. Mostly because I suck at them but also because I have no patience! 🙂

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