How to paint a Checker Pattern Accent Wall

INSIDE : Learn the steps on how to paint a checker pattern accent wall! For a fun DIY twist, add stripes to the bottom of the checkerboard design to give your space a modern take on this 1970’s checkered trend.

Sage and Green Checker Pattern Wall

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I am joining as a guest participant in the Spring 2024 One Room Challenge and have decided to take on my son’s bedroom! Now, what is the ORC you might be asking? Well, let me tell you.

One Room Challenge

Over the next eight weeks, I will be slowly transforming my son’s bedroom along with numerous other bloggers and content creators on Instagram. Every Wednesday I will be sharing an update on his room. It should be fun, but also eight weeks isn’t much time for all I have planned.

So, let’s get to the good stuff.

Tween Boys Bedroom Schedule

I can not tell you how many times, out in real life, people comment on my entire family’s shoes. We are a Vans shoe family and not just any Vans, but the Vans checkerboard shoes. All four of us OFTEN ALL wear our checkered shoes at the same time – it’s so embarrassing. We all have different colors, but still – ha.

Favorite Checker Vans

We have these four colors…

So I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to create a checkered accent wall in my son’s tween bedroom makeover! And it wasn’t going to be just any checkerboard… it was going to be a checker pattern that transitions to a stripe because why be ordinary when you could be extra.

Check out my Tween Boy's Bedroom Plan post here!

What do I need to create a checkerboard accent wall?

Checkerboard paint supplies

Is a laser level necessary to paint a checkerboard wall?

No, a laser level is not necessary to paint a checkerboard wall. While it can help to ensure that your lines are perfectly straight, you can get the same results with a traditional level and some measuring tape. However a laser level really does make the entire process go so much faster.

Here are the tools you will need to paint a checkerboard wall without a laser level:

Laser Level
Laser Level

What colors to use on a checker pattern?

You can use any colors you’d like for a checker pattern wall.

If you want a less busy look, using more subtle color combinations like cream and tan are a great choice. If you are wanting a bit more contrast, then going with a lighter and darker paint color is the way to go.

I used Contented and Retreat paint colors for my checkerboard accent wall.

Checkered Pattern Paint colors
Contented + Retreat
Check out the other paint colors I've used in my home here, Interior Paint Colors.

How to paint a Checkerboard Wall

Creating a checkerboard wall is a fun DIY project that can add a graphic punch to any room. Creating a checker pattern can be as easy or complex as you want it to be. There are two methods I saw and one was very simple, but in my opinion it creates more painter’s tape waste and takes more time. The other method takes more prep time, but once you have everything taped off, the actual painting process is a cinch!

Let’s do a quick chat first about the basic layout steps needed for both methods.

It seems most people do either 6″ or 8″ checkered squares. I choose to do the larger 8″ size.

Once you have your square size, divide the wall’s width and height by the square size to see how many squares will fit. You may need to adjust the square size slightly to ensure a full row of squares fits on the wall, but I think as long as the center section of your pattern looks good – it’s okay to have the edge squares cut off.

Simple checker pattern paint method

Using a level and pencil, lightly mark straight lines across the wall to create the rows of squares. Double-check your lines are level as you go.

Apply painter’s tape following your pencil marks to create your grid. Remember to factor in the width of the painter’s tape when making your measurements.

Begin to fill in the squares of your checkered board pattern with one color only. Once you have done two coats of paint, carefully remove the painter’s tape. Re-apply tape to create the borders for the remaining squares you’ll paint the second color. Apply the second paint color to the remaining squares.

This method works, but it feels wasteful and time consuming to me.

Checkerboard pattern on a wall

This second method may take a bit more time laying out, but I think it provides a better finished product.

Start this method by painting the entire wall the lighter of your paint colors (Contented). Do two coats and allow to fully dry.

Horizontal lines first

Using a laser level, create first your straight horizontal line across the wall. (I started in the middle of the wall with my lines.).

Using painter’s tape following the laser mark to start your lines.

Laser level on sage green wall

Once that line is made, using a measuring tape, measure up 8″ and make a small pencil mark. Move the laser level to this new 8″ mark. IMPORTANT – be sure to place your next line of tape ABOVE the 8″ mark line so you have a full 8″ between your two rows of tape.

NOTE – I found it helpful to place a small piece of tape on the “off sized” lines. These will be the squares that stay the lighter paint color.

From the bottom of your tape, right at the 8″ line, measure up another 8″ and make a slight pencil mark. Move your laser level to that point and then IMPORTANT – place your tape right UNDER the 8″ line. Visually it will look off right now. It will look like your squares are not the same size (and they aren’t right now!) but when you paint and remove the tape… they will be.

Horizontal painter's tape stripes

Repeat this process of making your tape above and below the 8″ marked line until the whole wall has been completed.

Vertical Lines next

Using the laser level again, switch to making your first vertical line across the wall. (I started in the middle of the wall with my lines.). Using painter’s tape following the laser mark to start your grid.

Vertical Painter's Tape line

Once that line is made, get ready to have your mind twist and turn for a bit. Things get a little confusing here, but stick with me, look at the pictures I’ve included and the video I made… you totally can do this!

Creating squares with painter's tape

Using a measuring tape, measure over 8″ to the left and make a small pencil mark. Move the laser level to this new 8″ mark.

KEY – On a nearby table, make a tape template. Measure out 8″ and place two pieces of tape on the zero mark and the 8″ mark. Now using scissors, pre-cut a handful of 8″ painter’s tape pieces. (You can see on the image below, I have my tape template on the desk.)

With your pre-cut tape pieces, begin to place them TO THE LEFT of the 8″ laser line so you have a full 8″ between your two rows of tape and then TO THE RIGHT on the square above.

Painter's tape checker pattern
Painter's tape square checker pattern

You will also need to adjust the horizontal lines slightly as your squares begin to take shape. Don’t lose your mind, you’ve got this. Repeat this pattern (it’s slow going) until the entire wall has been laid out.

Painting a Checkered pattern on a wall

Now that the taped pattern is all set, paint the edges without the tape in the center – the full squares, on the edge of your painter’s tape with the LIGHT PAINT COLOR again. This will ensure that if there is any bleeding, it will be your base coat and you will end up with perfect crisp lines.

Paint light color over square painter's tape

Once the trim base coat paint is dry, paint your darker (Retreat) colored paint on the trim and in the squares. I did two coats of paint.

Paint dark color in square painter's tape

Before the paint is fully dry, remove the painter’s tape to reveal your completed beautiful checkerboard pattern wall!

Removing tape from checkerboard pattern

Sage Green and Olive Green checkerboard pattern

I could not be more pleased with this green two toned checkerboard patterned wall! It’s fun and trendy, but the pattern almost gives a classic look. I think this accent wall design will grow so well with my son!

1970's checkerboard pattern accent wall

Don’t feel like painting a checked wall? Check out my Best Checked Wallpapers post!

Stripes and Checkered pattern wall

If you are extra like me, it’s fun to carry the checker pattern down to a stripe. I thought it was a creative way to add pattern, but not make it wildly busy.

Allow your checkered pattern to completely dry and then add painter’s tape along the bottom edge of your lighter square (in my case the light green, contented color) – from the darker color’s corner (retreat color) to the next darker color’s corner.

Add painter's tape stripe pattern

Next, line up your laser level again right at the corner and place the painter’s tape along the outside of the line. Repeat the laser line on the other corner and place your painter’s tape again on the outside of the line. You are creating an 8″ wide stripe space for your darker paint color.

Once all the stripes are laid out, paint the edge of the tape with your lighter paint and allow to dry. Then go over with the darker paint and two coats of paint.

Paint darker color in stripe shape

Remove the tape and presto… a stripe and checker wall!

Remove painter's tape from large stripes

I am completely obsessed with this completed look for my son’s bedroom.

I am ready to move into his space and claim it for my own!

Checker Pattern Accent Wall

The checker and stripe combination wall is just my favorite way to add bold pattern without completely overtaking the wall with checkerboard from top to bottom.

Green Checkerboard Pattern Accent Wall

This was a doozy of a week two project and I am happy to report that most of the other 6 weeks should be still wildly creative, but a little less time consuming – phew! Check out what all I still have on my to-do list.

TO DO LIST over next 8 weeks –

  • Paint Walls basic colors
  • Create + Paint Checkerboard / Stripe accent wall
  • Remove wooden shutters
  • DIY Mobile over bed
  • Storage and style an Arched bookcase
  • Install Mini Shelf Railing
  • DIY Lego Storage cabinet
  • Update + repair closet doors
  • Assemble new furniture
  • DIY rug art
  • Bulletin board install
  • Style room with new rug, curtains, chair + accessories

Here are a few items I have already picked up for my son’s room :

7 Comments

  1. LOVE that shoes were the inspiration!!! And it turned out great! Looking forward to seeing the final reveal.

  2. WOW, I love how it turned out.

  3. !What a great hack to use the laser level, if only I knew about that before my sister painted the stripes on her wall! I hope you don’t mind that I gave your blog a shout-out this week as we’re both doing a tween bedroom makeover. The checkerboard wall is so original and a show-stopper!

    1. The laser level really did help speed things along… it was still a very slow going project though, ha! And goodness, thank you for the shout out… heading over to your blog now to check it out.

  4. This is amazing! I love the pattern you did with different size checks. So cute and fun for their room. Our boys also love Vans! Can’t wait to see your space come together. I hopped over from the ORC page, I’m working on my office but my next home project is our boys’ shared bathroom.

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