The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

This post was first published on 13th August 2018. Updated and republished on 9th June 2021.

Have you noticed the trend? Two-tone walls with a crisp dividing line. Not to be mistaken for the two-tone walls divided by a dado rail. Nothing wrong with those of course, (in a period home) but not the same thing at all. The two-tone walls I’m referring to are much, much sharper. Much more contemporary, and much more popular than you might imagine. Having tackled this effect myself in the bedroom at home, I can honestly say it’s easier to achieve than you might think. You need frog tape of course and nerves of steel when the time comes to peel it off. But the finished effect is more than worth the effort of measuring, taping, and breath-holding.

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Half and Half

The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

I wouldn’t normally advise cutting walls in half like this (normally the rule of thirds looks much more appealing), but in this case it just works. Hanging the circular mirror across the dividing line completely cancels out the effect of an equal division. And maybe the steps help too. This image is courtesy of Pooky and features the Bowtie Desk Lamp in Black, the Feathers Mirror, and the Beehive Pendant.

The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

The two-tone walls also work here because the dividing line perfectly echos the height of the headboard. It’s also a perfect example of using two shades of the same colour to good effect. The dividing line is still crisp but less harsh over-all. Image is courtesy of Furniture and Choice and shows the Dorset bed.

Picture Rail Level

The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

Running a line around the room from the top of the door frame mimics a picture rail effect but in a much more contemporary way. Painting the wall above the dividing line white, to match the ceiling is the traditional approach and tricks the eye into believing the ceiling is lower but you could be bolder with colours if you dare. Image is courtesy of House of Fraser.

The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

But there’s no reason you can’t use an existing picture rail of course. Using a darker colour above the rail will effectively lower the ceiling. Especially if you carry the colour over the ceiling too. It would be a shame not to! Image courtesy of Marks and Spencer.

Vertical Limits

The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

Of course, the dividing line between paint colours doesn’t have to be horizontal. A vertical line will mimic the effect of an alcove, and in this case makes a feature of the bed. Not a bad idea if you’re not sure about creating an entire feature wall out of a dark colour. This image features bedding from the J by Jasper Conran collection at Debenhams.

Braveheart Colours

The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

There’s no rules either that says one half of the wall should be white. This is Amsterdam Green And Antoinette Pink creating a delicious and unexpected combination. Both from Annie Sloan Wall Paints.

Bed Head

The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

Another striking effect is this deep blue headboard painted onto a white wall. A much more cost effective way of matching your headboard to your bedding and general colour scheme. And much easier to create a different scheme when you fancy a change. This is the Harmony bedroom scheme from the autumn/winter collections at George Home.

The Growing Popularity of the Half Painted Wall

Last but not least, my bedroom at home.


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  1. Reply

    Stacey Sheppard

    August 14, 2018

    I absolutely love this way of painting Carole. I’m tempted to do this in my hallway. We’ve got quite a light colour in there at the moment as its a narrow dark space but it shows the marks and scuffs really badly on the lower half of the wall. I’m wondering if going darker on the lower half would work. I’m just a little worried that it may make the space even darker which would not be ideal.

    • Reply


      August 14, 2018

      It would depend on the colour of your floor Stacey. If the floor is light I think it could work. Be careful though of matt paints. My matt black walls also show scuffs and marks. Might be better to go for a wipeable satin paint. x


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