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How do you paint a wall with two different colors?

Painting a wall with two different colors can transform a room and make it look fresh and exciting. However, it’s important to plan out the design properly to ensure you get the look you want. Here are some tips on how to paint a wall with two colors.

Plan Your Design

First, decide what pattern or look you want for your two-tone wall. Some popular options include:

  • A horizontal stripe dividing the wall into an upper and lower color
  • A wide vertical stripe down the center of the wall to create two side-by-side colors
  • Large blocks or squares of alternating colors
  • Diagonal stripes for a dynamic look
  • An ombre or gradient effect that fades from one color to the next

Sketch out some ideas on paper first. Measure the wall and play around with different stripe widths or block sizes. Make sure to pick colors that complement each other.

Once you settle on a design, decide where you want the color divide to fall. If doing a horizontal stripe, should it be at chair rail height, mid-wall, or closer to the ceiling? Get a friend’s opinion on what looks best in the room.

Prep the Wall

To ensure crisp, clean color lines, you need to start with a wall that’s in good condition. Fill any cracks or holes with spackle and sand smooth. Then clean the wall so it’s free of dirt, grease etc.

Use painter’s tape to mask off the edges alongtrim, the ceiling, baseboards and any outlets or switches. Apply the tape firmly and smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles. Masking properly will prevent paint bleeding under the tape.

Finally, use a deglosser or fine sandpaper to rough up the surface of the wall if it’sglossy or semi-gloss paint. This helps the new paint adhere better. Wipe away any dust with a tack cloth.

Paint the First Color

It usually works best to paint the lighter color first when doing a two tone wall. Use a mini roller and an angled brush to paint the first color. Work in sections starting at the top of the wall. Apply the paint in a V or W pattern with the roller then smooth it out evenly.

Make sure to cut in carefully along any taped edges with the angled brush. Don’t press too hard or you may peel the fresh paint off underneath. Feather out the paint as you reach the masking tape.

Load the roller with just enough paint to avoid drips. Work from top to bottom and keep a wet edge as you go to avoid lap marks.

Let the first coat dry fully before adding a second coat to ensure an even color.

Apply Tape for the Second Color

Once the first color is painted, you can apply new tape to mask off the divider for the second color. Apply the tape along the marked line, keeping it level and as straight as possible.

For clean lines, it’s best to remove the first round of tape you applied earlier and redo it. Any paint that bled underneath can be covered up by the second color.

Apply the new masking tape firmly, then go over it again pressing down the edge with a putty knife. This seals it thoroughly to the wall.

Be extremely careful removing this tape later on, as the second color hasn’t fully dried underneath it. Peeling the tape off too soon can pull off some of the paint.

Paint the Second Color

Now you’re ready to apply the darker accent color using the same rolling and cutting in method. Use a mini roller with a nap thickness suited for the paint you’reusing. Apply a couple coats to ensure full coverage and an even finish.

Maintain a wet edge as you paint just like with the first color. Don’t stop mid-wall or you may get some overlapping. For neat color transitions, carefully cut in along the tape edge with the angled sash brush.

Let each coat fully dry before adding another to avoid drips or runs in the paint. Check that coverage is complete before moving onto the next step.

Pull Off the Tape

Here comes the big reveal! You’ll want to remove the tape separating the two colors slowly and carefully.

First, run a utility knife gently along each edge of the tape. This will cut through any paint that may have bled under the tape. Peel the tape back on itself slowly at a 45 degree angle.

Work carefully to avoid pulling off strips of the second color. If any paint does pull away, touch it up immediately with a small brush.

Finally, remove the rest of the masking from trim or outlets that you applied earlier. Check for any stray paint drops and wipe them away before the paint dries.

Add Finishing Touches

Stand back and admire your two-tone wall! It should have crisp, straight color dividing lines. Look closely and touch up any imperfections with a small artist’s brush.

You can add some extra decorative flair if desired, like painting designs over the color divide. Consider metallic paints, stripes, geometric shapes or even stencils.

Another idea is to paint the trim or moldings in a third coordinating color for some extra pop. Just be sure the colors tie in nicely together.

Clean Up Properly

Don’t forget about proper cleanup and paint removal. Use soap and water to wash brushes and rollers before the paint dries. Avoid washing paint tools in your sink to prevent clogs.

Clean any paint drips right away with a damp rag. Use mineral spirits or paint remover for any dried splatters on surfaces. Proper cleanup will keep your painted wall looking its best.

Maintaining Your Two-Tone Wall

Treat your newly painted wall gently at first. Avoid hanging pictures or other itemsfor a couple weeks so the paint has time to fully cure. Consider special picture hanging hooks that don’t damage the paint.

When cleaning the wall, use only light pressure and soft rags to avoid scratching or damaging the surface. Avoid abrasive cleaners which can dull the finish over time.

Touch up any nicks or marks right away with extra paint. Keep paint stir sticks and a small container of each color to make touch ups easy. Prompt touch ups help maintain that crisp two-tone look.

With proper care and consideration, your two-tone painted wall will look amazing for years to come. The striking colors and crisp divider add style and dimension to any room. Enjoy showing off your creative new look!

Supplies Needed for a Two-Tone Painted Wall
Prep Supplies Painting Supplies Finish Supplies
  • Painter’s tape
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Painters plastic
  • Sandpaper
  • Spackle
  • Putty knife
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint in 2 colors
  • Angled sash brush
  • Paint roller & nap
  • Roller tray and liner
  • Paint buckets
  • Stir sticks
  • Utility knife
  • Painters tape
  • Paint touch up supplies
  • Mineral spirits
  • Rags

Tips for Crisp Lines When Painting

  • Use quality painter’s tape like Frog Tape for clean edges
  • Remove old tape and reapply along color edges for straight lines
  • Carefully feather out paint as you approach taped edges
  • Pull tape off slowly at 45 degree angle to avoid peeling paint
  • Cut along tape edges first with a utility knife before pulling tape up
  • Touch up any imperfections in the color divider line
  • Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before adding another coat


Painting a two-tone wall is an intermediate painting project that adds striking style to any room. With the right supplies, careful prep, and attention to detail during application, you can get professional looking results. Planning out the design, properly using painter’s tape, and touching up the lines after pulling off the tape will help create a crisp color divide on your accent wall. Just use a gentle hand during paint application and clean up. Maintain your two-tone wall by promptly fixing any nicks or marks. Follow these steps and you’ll have a beautiful and unique painted focal point in your room.