Proof that grey-on-grey can look great: a bedroom makeover

A wall with a grey, geometric pattern.
Grey-on-grey doesn’t have to be boring: done the right way, it can really bring a room to life.

  • Difficulty
  • Cost
    100-200 £
  • Duration
    3 - 8 h


Grey-on-grey walls can look far from boring – for example, you could use different shades of grey to create a geometric pattern. A bold contrast colour can make for an even bolder effect. Learn how to do it yourself, and how to paint straight lines on walls, here.

You need
  • protective sheet
  • face mask
  • carpet/utility knife
  • optional: disposable gloves
  • work gloves
  • crepe tape or frog tape: approx. 50m
  • corner brush
  • a stirrer to mix the paint
  • masking tape
  • paint brush
  • ladder
  • emulsion paint in dark grey, enough for approx. 4 sq m
  • emulsion paint in medium grey, enough for approx. 2 sq m
  • emulsion paint in light grey, enough for approx. 4 sq m
  • 1 can of spray paint in light blue or another contrast colour
  • 1 tube of emulsion paint in your wall’s final colour
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 4

Stick the first part of the pattern to the wall

A cross-line laser projects a red line on to the wall.
Adjust the laser so that the lines are straight.
Green masking tape is used to mark a straight line on a wall, along the laser line.
Mark out the lines of your pattern on the wall with masking tape or Frogtape.
A Bosch Quigo is aligned using the adapter plate.
You can accurately align your cross-line laser using its adapter plate.

You need: Cross Line Laser, masking tape, ladder

Before you start painting your wall, you should plan what it’s going to look like – especially if you want to paint a geometric pattern or overlapping panels. First measure the area that you want to decorate and transfer the measurements to a piece of paper. Make sure that the proportions are correct. Now you can sketch out the panels you want and, if possible, colour them in with the right colour. Finally, and this is very important, figure out how much paint you’ll need.

Once you’ve had a think about what you want your wall to look like and you have primed the wall for painting, it’s time to transfer the first part of your pattern to the wall. A cross-line laser can help you do this. To achieve the desired height, either place it on a tripod or clamp it to a ladder or door. Switch the device on and aim it at the wall as per your pattern. It’s best if you stand behind the device during the alignment, so that the laser is between you and the wall. That way you’ll see the line better. Stick the masking tape or Frogtape on the wall, following the lines, and press down firmly.

To ensure the lines are as clean as possible, cut the tape with a utility knife. It’s safest to wear work gloves to do this. First apply tape to the areas that you can paint in one go. Whilst the first few panels are drying, apply tape to the other panels with the help of a cross-line laser. The Quigo adapter plate will help you if you want to position two pieces of tape close together side by side – for example, to paint a narrow stripe. First project a line on to the wall and apply tape accordingly. Then, using the small screw on the plate, move the Quigo upwards, downwards or to the side, to project a parallel line and mark it up with tape.


If correct alignment is important to you, you should take care to ensure that the Quigo isn’t tilted. You will see that the cross lines always move a little to begin with as they level themselves out. But this only works if the device is positioned horizontally to the targeted wall. Once the lines are still, they are straight – i.e. positioned parallel to the floor. If you tilt the Quigo too much, you will see that the lines suddenly become rigid; they are no longer straight. This may be useful if you want to create a geometric pattern on the wall where you don’t want/need a right angle – for example, if you’re designing a pattern with triangles instead of squares.
Step 2 4

Cover furniture and flooring and put masking tape around plugs

Plugs and light switches covered in green tape, with a bed covered in protective sheeting.
Protect your furniture, flooring, window/door frames, plugs and light switches from splashes of paint.

You need: floor protector or cover sheets, masking tape, ladder

Before you start painting, make some space and cover up all furniture and fixtures that you can’t move. Put down some floor covering to protect your floors, and stick masking tape around the edges of plugs, light switches, skirting boards and window/door frames. If you're using spray paint or a paint spray system, be more generous when taping and covering because the paint mist may disperse more widely.

Step 3 4

Start painting with spray paint

Blue paint is sprayed on to part of a wall bordered off with masking tape.
Protect yourself by wearing gloves and a face mask.

You need: paint brush, face mask, ladder, protective gloves, 1 spray paint

Now you can finally begin painting your wall in grey and, where applicable, another colour of your choice. Prepare the spray paint in line with the instructions on the can, and spray it in even strips around 20 cm from the wall. Be sure to wear gloves and a face mask, and take care to spray evenly along the edges. If the paint mist reaches other parts of the wall, don’t worry: after 15 minutes, the paint will be dry and you can simply wipe it off with a dry cloth.

Enamel paint has several benefits over traditional emulsion paints: the paint adheres to wallpaper but isn’t absorbed as much, so the colours are generally bolder and more glossy. Enamel paint also dries more quickly and is completely dry within just a few minutes. It is ideal for painting different panels of colour side by side because you can quickly get started on the next panel! Another advantage: enamel paint doesn’t run as much as emulsion paint, so you can work more precisely. However, one drawback is that enamel spray paints create more mist than emulsions, so you should always wear a face mask. For both types of paint, the same rule applies: always ventilate a room properly after painting.
Step 4 4

Paint the rest of your wall

A light-grey panel being painted.
First paint the edges and corners, then the areas in between.
Masking tape being removed from the wall.
Once the paint has dried slightly, you can remove the masking tape from the wall or, if necessary, move it to the parts you’ve already painted.
Dark-grey paint being applied to the wall with a large paint roller.
First apply the paint in a fan shape and then go from top to bottom, to ensure the paint is evenly distributed.

You need: Cross Line Laser, ladder, paint roller or paintbrush, a stirrer to mix the paint, emulsion paint

Once the paint has dried slightly, carefully remove the masking tape or Frogtape and move it so you can paint the next panels. Don’t wait too long or you may end up ripping off bits of paint along with the tape. Because paint pigments usually settle at the bottom of a tin, use a stirrer to mix it. Depending on the size of your tin, either pour the paint into a paint tray or simply place a drip tray beneath it. Now you can dip your paint brush and roller in it. Cast off any excess paint before you continue painting the wall. First paint the edges and corners with the brush, then use the paint roller to fill in the areas in between. Allow the paint to dry before repeating the process on the next panel.

Make sure you press down firmly on the Frogtape to prevent the paint from running beneath it. If you're using masking tape, you can go over it with white paint first, leave it to dry a while, then apply the paint in the colour of your choice.

Once a panel is completely dry, begin the next one by marking up the wall using the cross-line laser and tape. Continue panel by panel until you have completed your pattern. For our project, we repeated these steps four times. The more panels/shapes in your pattern, the more times you’ll have to repeat the process.

Once you’ve finished painting, allow the paint to dry and air out. If you’ve painted your bedroom like we have, it’s a good idea to spend the night in a different room. You can move back in and enjoy your grey-on-grey wall the day after.