In this post: How to stencil an accent wall the easy way for non-permanent style.

I am a huge fan of high impact feature walls in decorating. Wallpaper is one way to get that impressive effect – but stenciling can be just as effective for much less money, not to mention that stenciling is less of a long-term commitment (because it can just be painted over)!

how to stencil a wall the easy way with three different rooms stenciled

Our last house saw us stenciling subtle feature walls in both our dining room and our bedroom. At this house, we’ve reused one of the same stencils in our current master bedroom – but this time with more of a high contrast geometric look.

all three stencils

After we posted our Rustic Chic Master Bedroom Reveal a week or so ago, we had several requests for a tutorial on how to stencil a wall. We aim to please (and we love ya!), so here you go!

how to stencil a wall

How To Stencil A Wall


  • stencil
  • paint*
  • plate or cup for paint
  • small stiff brush or foam brush or small roller brush
  • painters tape
  • stencil adhesive
  • level
  • pencil
  • paper towels and/or baby wipes
  • drop cloth or plastic
  • ladder or step stool for reaching the top of the wall

*For our old bedroom I used the same paint as the trim in the room – Behr Swiss Coffee. For both the dining room at our last house and the bedroom at this house I used craft paint (Black in the dining room and White in the bedroom)!

Step by Step:

1. Lay the drop cloth or plastic out on the floor. Lay your stencil upside down on top and spray back side with stencil adhesive. Follow the instructions on your stencil adhesive for amount and spray distance, etc. Let dry to tacky and not wet.

2. Using your level mark a small line near the ceiling to line your stencil up with. This is important because most ceilings are not perfectly level and you may get a bit sea-sick after you stencil if your stencil sort of leans because you went with the ceiling line. 🙂

trellis stencil corner ceiling

3. Now align stencil with the penciled level line and press firmly to wall, moving from one corner to the next to get a smooth surface (no bumps in the stencil). I also use some painter’s tape or stencil tape to affix the corners to the wall. You may find that whatever stencil adhesive you use is sufficient.

stencil triangle

4. Mark your triangles with a pencil. These are the little triangles for lining up your pattern. Muy importante! You’ll kick yourself when you move the stencil if you haven’t done this step! (Ask me how I know).

5. Dip your brush in paint and dab/roll off onto plate or side of cup. Your brush should not be really wet as this will cause bleed through.

stencil with paint on it

6. Gently brush or roll paint over stencil openings.

7. Carefully remove stencil from wall and re-position, lining up triangles and re-affix. If there has been any bleed-through, either wipe it off the back or wait until it’s dry to re-affix the stencil to the wall so you don’t get smudges.

8. Repeat Steps 4 to 6 until your wall is finished.

springtime in paris stencil


  • Edges and corners can get really tricky. You just have to make the best of it and bend the stencil to fit. They’re pretty durable and I haven’t broken one yet, despite some serious manipulation in awkward places.
  • Stenciled walls will not be as crisp as printed wallpaper, so don’t expect perfection. If you can’t live with some color variation and a handcrafted look, you probably should avoid stencils.
  • If you want a subtle look try using your wall paint color mixed with some white paint. Or use the exact same color in a higher sheen. For example if your walls are egg shell stencil with satin or semi-gloss.

trellis stencil

We’ve loved each of our stenciled walls so much. I’m still debating on where to use our Springtime in Paris stencil at this house. The dining room? The family room? My office? We’ll see!

trellis close up

Have you ever stenciled a wall? Did you enjoy the process? Or were you more like me and wanted to get it done to enjoy the after? 

P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post! We have two Royal Design Studio stencils (Springtime in Paris and Small Moorish Allover Stencil) we’ve had for ages and we love them. We’ve only used Royal Design Studio stencils for our stenciled feature walls. They have the coolest little triangles in the corners for lining up the pattern as you go. And they are totally washable and reusable. Other stencils may be great too, we just can’t speak to that because we’ve never used them. But RDS didn’t sponsor this post! You know, in case you were wondering. 🙂

shannon photo and sig oct 2022