Creative Painting Techniques: Jazz Up Office and Commercial Space with Shadow Lines Reply

If you’ve been asked for input on color and design for a commercial painting project in an office space or residence, you may want to recommend something more dramatic to wake up the space. One cool trick to try is shadow lines, which is another name for vertical or horizontal lines that can prove utile as well as decorative. Today we’ll take a look at different shadow line configurations and how these can work for different clients.

Striped walls can be visually stunning

Office with high contrast horizontal stripes
Image source:

Horizontal Stripes

Horizontal striping can make rooms appear more spacious, which can be great for visually expanding smaller offices, conference rooms and waiting rooms. These also function as a handy tool to arrange art, work, white boards, shelving or awards. In schools, horizontal stripes can make it easy to align works for display, while also adding a fun and youthful element to the room. Offices that house creatives may like these to show off portfolio pieces, and they can even be used for a single accent wall to display company accolades or personal awards in a home office.

Vertical Stripes

No doubt you know that vertical strips make rooms look taller and ceilings appear higher, but they can also lend a sophisticated air to a room. If your clients are interested in vertical stripes but are considering wallpaper to get this look, encourage them to go with painted stripes, instead. Here’s some ammunition – wallpaper is much more expensive than paint, and, if damaged, wallpaper is difficult to repair, whereas painted stripes can be rehabbed with touch-up paint. Additionally, wallpaper can be difficult to strip off in the long run if they do a redesign at a later date.

Narrow vs Wide Stripes

When you recommend stripes to your client, you’ll also need to recommend what thickness of stripe to use. Narrow accent stripes placed far apart give a totally different look, whether vertical or horizontal, than thicker stripes. Stripes also don’t have to take up the whole wall. For horizontals, you can do them down the height of the wall or just a few at the top or in the middle as an accent. For verticals, one or two gathered sets can be more stylized than measured out.

High Contrast vs Low Contrast Stripes

Another important consideration is color combination. For a more subtle effect, you can use a base color and a slightly darker version of the same. As another subtle option, you can use matte finish for the undercoat and a glossier version for the accent stripe. If your client is looking for more splash, suggest a high contrast color scheme (think black and red, navy and white, tan and dark green, etc). High contrast plays better in smaller rooms or commercial spaces like restaurants or arcades, while low contrast can work more effectively in more conservative offices and homes.

Crisp stripes are all in the prep work

Painting stripes can be a challenge
Image source: via Lamont Painting & Decor

Combining Stripes of Various Widths

You don’t have to use stripes of all the same width; in fact, you can use several different widths. For instance, you can use one larger stripe with smaller stripes of various widths around it, which offers an interesting, graphic effect. If you do combine stripes of various widths, though, you may not want to get too heavy handed and overuse the technique, or it could be visually overwhelming.

Quick Tips for Clean Lines

Getting clean lines can be tricky. If you’ve had this kind of project before, you may have noticed that even the most high-quality painter’s tape doesn’t produce a crisp line 100% of the time and perfect touch-ups can be nearly impossible. To get a better line: apply your base coat, then get your painter’s tape nice and level, press it down firmly, then reapply the base coat over the edge of your painter’s tape. Let it dry, then paint on your stripe. Remove the tape while the stripe is still a little wet. As an alternative, you can smear a thin line of paintable caulk along the edge of the tape or some clear glaze, then top with the base coat before applying the stripe.

When you do eye-catching projects like horizontal or vertical stripes, be sure to snap pictures to share on social media to show off your work and entice more clients. And be sure to check out these interior paint color trends for 2014 to see what’s hot when recommending a color palette for the striping project.

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