How to paint a two tone wall

Why choose one favourite colour, when you can have two?  The possible combinations are endless.


Two tone walls date back from the Georgian Period, where it was fashionable to divide with dado rails, allowing the top half of the wall to be painted a different colour than that below. Many period homes still have dado rails, or picture rails.

The contemporary take on colour – two tone walls

The emerging trend for two tone walls creates a beautiful, colour blocked feel with a horizontal divide between your two chosen colours. For additional impact, think about continuing this line across your door surround and doors, or up to the ceiling.

Here are some creative ideas:

Paint the bottom half a darker colour like @emilymarie_xo from @monochrome_hause:

two tone walls

Carry the colour for the top half across the ceiling for added colour blend like @dustdesignstudio:

colour carried to ceiling

Carry the colour block across doors and window surrounds like @lockehotels:

walls to wood

Use a paint effect, such as concrete effect or copper patina for impact like @holmes_and_away_ :

concrete two tone

Why stick to horizontal lines? Go geometric like @happyretrofurniture:

 geometric shapes

  • Consider different paint finishes – for instance eggshell at the bottom of the wall and chalky emulsion at the top – perfect for areas with high traffic such as a hallway.
  • If you would prefer a blended line rather than a clean sharp line, consider using a sponge to blend the edges subtly Practise on card first. 

How to tips

Decide on your design beforehand.

  • Paint the top colour first. This means that you will avoid paint splatters falling on newly painted work.
  • The first colour you paint does not need to have a clean edge, as you will be marking that out and painting the edge.
  • If you are working with a very dark colour and a very light colour, consider painting the darker colour last. It will be easier to cover the light with the dark at the edges.
  • To create a clean, distinct line, you can either 1. Use a meter stick and a spirit level to ensure the line is level, or 2. Work with a measuring tape and measure up from the floor, marking the same height at intervals and then connect the marks into one straight line. The second method assumes your floor is relatively level so is better for modern homes.
  • When using masking tape or painters tape, after application to the wall run your finger along the edge with light pressure, or the dull edge of a knife to ensure adhesion. The key to a clean line is making sure no paint bleeds under the tape.
  • Consider peeling off the tape before the paint is completely dry as it will be easier to take off and will help to prevent cracking.

So whether your home is traditional or contemporary, your style minimalist or eclectic, two tone walls can work for you Just #followyourtrend

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