Will a half-painted stairway wall beat dirty hand marks and scuffs for good?

Half-painted stairway wall | Growing Spaces

Within a day of repainting our stairway wall white a while back, I could already see new grimy hand marks and scuffs. Instead of obsessing over them I just took a deep breath and put it down to normal house wear. It’s inevitably got dirtier and dirtier, until the other day I had to accept that I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

Inspired by a recent shoot we put together at work, I rejected the idea of yet another white re-coat (actually a really full-on job as the stairway is so tall), and decided to take a different approach, which I’m hoping will offer a more long-term solution as well as adding some interest to this much-neglected space. Time to give a half-painted wall a go.

Marking out a half-painted wall

I wanted a strong contrast to the white, plus something that would show up the least amount of dirt possible, so I picked Dark Lead from Little Greene, and went for the intelligent eggshell finish to maximise the durability.

Before getting started, Idid a bit of research on how to get a clean line when painting a half-height section of wall. I masked off the section with decorator’s tape, then used white paint (the base colour) to paint just over the bottom edge of the tape. This forms a seal between the paint and the tape so that when you paint the dark colour on top, it won’t bleed under the tape, leaving a super-crisp line.

Half-painted stairway wall | Growing Spaces

If you want to see the very satisfying moment we peeled off the decorator’s tape to reveal the line, you must check out my Instagram Story highlights ‘Home DIYs’.

Half-painted stairway wall | Growing Spaces
Half-painted stairway wall | Growing Spaces
Half-painted stairway wall | Growing Spaces
Half-painted stairway wall | Growing Spaces

A freshly painted wall always makes me happy, but knowing that this should stay looking good for longer than a few hours makes me feel even better. And it only took me a couple of hours. I’m definitely putting this one down as a decorating win!



  1. February 25, 2019 / 8:38 am

    What is love that can make one live dead for one another?

  2. September 7, 2019 / 4:07 pm

    oh, very useful and beautiful, thanks

  3. Anne-Laure
    May 4, 2020 / 10:05 pm

    Hi! I intend to do this in my stairs as well but am wondering about the height. How high did you paint the grey ?
    Kind regards

  4. October 22, 2020 / 1:48 pm

    It looks amazing! Wonderful post. Good information keep posting.

  5. Kelly
    February 26, 2021 / 9:58 am

    How did you get the perfectly straight line and the correct height all the way through

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