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No-Wood Wall Features

For the record, I have finally started remodeling our guest bathroom. But I also need breaks from the carnage. So, I revamped our guest room while I’m at it, and for this project I only spent about $45 because I had extra paint (which I’m also using in the bathroom so that the guest spaces will tie together). There was nothing wrong with the guest room per se, but it could be better.

BEFORE: Unimpressive bare walls.

I saw on TikTok or Pinterest or somewhere that there’s a kind of metallic tape to use on walls for accent designs. Whatever video I watched showed how people were bordering this tape with decorative molding, and it looked really cool. However, I didn’t want to spend much money on molding, so I came up with the idea of using decorative rope instead. I was able to get 150 feet for around $33, so 👍. I also like that the rope adds an unexpected texture to the room and is soft if you bump against a wall.


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Step 1: Paint sections. Our guest room’s ceiling has a low section because of a beam/conduit running through our basement. It’s right over the door and makes the room feel short. Now, I’ve stared at this for a long time, trying to decide what to do about it.

The lower ceiling I was working with.

What I landed on was drawing a level line around the rest of the walls at the same height as the beam/conduit. Then I painted that upper section white to match the ceiling (the regular ceiling and the conduit’s lowered ceiling). I used a brush for the edges and corners, then a roller for the rest. It took a few coats because of the type of paint, but the result was a bright white “border” around the top of the walls. This worked surprisingly well to blend the lowered ceiling and make it less noticeable…while also drawing attention to it. (See photo below.)

For the middle section of my wall, I measured about 40 inches down (a random decision, really) and made another level line that went all the way around the room. I then painted this section my next lightest color. This was “Accessible Beige” like I’d used on my faux brick walls of our main basement room. The top of this section, remember, met my top white line at the level of my lowered ceiling, so this beige color goes to my ceiling in that area of the room. Again, I used a brush for the edges and corners, then rolled the rest.

Painting the middle section.

For my lowest 40-ish inch section, I painted from the bottom line of my middle section all the way to the floor, including the baseboards. This was my darkest color, which is a pretty pinkish/brown color. (I have no idea of the name, unfortunately, because the paint can has no label and was left by the previous owners.)

Painting the bottom section.

Side note: I continued these lines/sections over the trim of my door too. Since our window didn’t have trim, I also painted the inner walls of the window too. (Seen in the photo above.) I like that this wraps the wall design ALL the way around the room and makes everything cohesive while also making the room feel bigger. You don’t have to paint your trim/window edges, but I like how it looks. 🤷‍♀️

Step 2: Stick on metallic tape. The roll I got was 1/2 inch gold tape, which was 72 YARDS for $12. 😳 (This is going to last me a while!) It went on very easily. Standing on a stool that I repositioned as I went along, I started at my top paint divide line and spaced the tape so that it would run right over my line. I thought I might have to adjust as I went to keep the tape level, but by slowly smoothing and pressing it on as I went, it was not hard at all to do this in one shot. I wrapped the tape around my corners rather than cutting because this tape is so thin it doesn’t bulk up the corners. Once I reached the far end of my top section where it met the lowered ceiling, I easily cut the tape in a straight line to meet the corner.

With that top done, I moved to the lower line and repeated this all the way around the room. I also applied the tape over my door’s molding and right up to the edges of my window.

Tape easily on door trim.

The reflective gold lines looked pretty cool dividing the paint colors! I could have stopped there, honestly, and you can if that’s all you want to do.

Tape on!

Step 3: Nail on bordering rope. It’s worth mentioning that this takes a LOT of brad nails. I wanted to be sure the rope stayed straight on the walls, and I wanted it as secure as possible in case someone bumps the border along the lower section. I ended up nailing every 3-4 inches to be safe. But it went quickly despite this!

Taking Brad (my nail gun) and an unwound bunch of rope, I climbed my stool and started at the top of my top gold tape. For the end of the rope, I made sure to really nail it secure so it wouldn’t pull free as I pulled the rope farther along. Then I held out the rope about a foot at a time and carefully nailed the rope in place to run as a border along the top of the tape. I tried not to leave much of a gap because I didn’t want to see the paint between the tape and the rope. It was again pretty easy to keep level and straight, and the rope was quire forgiving if I needed to pull it a little higher or lower.

When I reached the far side, I curved the rope to border the end and curl back around to run along the bottom of the tape now. This is something you can’t do very well with wood molding! I like how it looks soft and unique.

Top, curved end of rope border.

I followed my same process as I ran the rope all the way back along the bottom of the tape, and when I reached my starting point I curved it to meet the top too. (I’m eventually going to build a closet built-in here, so I wasn’t worried about this end too much because it will be covered.)

With the top border done – and my arms very tired! – I took a little break and then tackled the lower line. This border I had to do in 3 parts, cutting the rope to skip over my window, my door, and where I’d construct my built-in eventually.

First, I started where I knew my built-in would go, and the rope border curved/turned around at the side of my window before going all that way back.

Second, for the other side of the window, I started the rope against the window and ran it to where it curved/turned around over my door trim. Then I ran it back to the window. I nailed these ends in really, really well and also used a hot glue gun to hold the rope’s strands together at the cut ends.

Glueing and securing cut ends.

Third, I started a rope border over the tape where I knew the other side of my built-in would end. I ran the rope from here, turned the corner, and nailed it to curve/turn around over the door trim on the other side of the door. Finally, I ran it back to the end and secured it where the built-in would hide that end.

Nailing rope onto corner and trim.
All rope borders on!

Again, you don’t have to mess with the door trim or window, but it does look kinda cool once all done. If you have to cut the rope or maybe link a new strand onto the end of your first one for added length, I’d definitely glue the ends to keep it together and also make it look as seamless as possible. I glued my ends everywhere they’d be visible, and I’m glad to have the extra security.

Step 4: Add a rope feature between the borders. I kept going mostly because I had extra rope. 😜 You can stop here or do a completely different kind of shape, but here’s what I did:

I measured out the rope I had left and divided it by 3. (If you can do this without puppy assistance, all the better. lol)

My “helper.”

With this number, I cut the rope into these 3 sections – mine were about 71 inches each. On the ends of these ropes, I used my hot glue gun and squeezed a bunch of glue into the ends, then twisted them together and held them so the strands stuck together.

Now that my ropes were ready, I planned my design. I found something round that I thought would make the right size arch, and for me this was an old lampshade. Laying it on the bed, I draped my rope around that top curve and then positioned the rope so that the sides came down straight and made corners like a square at the bottom. When I was happy with this shape, I measured from the top of the arch to the bottom and got 31 inches.

Next, on the wall over my guest bed’s headboard, I measured the middle paint section and found I could center my 31-inch shapes by leaving 4 inches at the top and bottom of that paint section. Then I measured and found the center point of the wall behind the headboard, marking there at the top, 4 inches down from the border.

Starting at the center, I held my lampshade so that the topmost point of the curve hit my mark. I traced the top half-ish of the lampshade’s curve with a pencil, and this made an outline for my middle shape’s top arch.

Positioning the lampshade to the side of my middle arch’s outline, I tried to decide how much space to leave between my shapes. I ended up leaving about 4 inches between where each arch’s side edge would be. I made a light mark along the side of my lampshade and then set it aside to measure and mark 4 inches down from the top border, to be sure the shapes would be level. Holding the lampshade in place so that the top was at the top mark like before and my side mark was even with my light side mark, I traced the top arch, same as before.

Tracing my arches.

I repeated this for my third shape on the other side.

With all the top arches outlined, I took a level and marked across the arches’ sides so they would all start to straighten out at the same place. Using the level, I next made a straight line down from those marks at either side of each arch, and I stopped these lines 4 inches up from the bottom border.

To finish my outlines, I took the level and drew straight lines to make the bottoms of my shapes, connecting the side lines of each.

Using the level to make side lines.

Next, I took my ropes and nailed them on along my outlines. I paid careful attention to the arches, nailing about every 2 inches to be sure it looked right. For the sides and bottom, I went back to every 3-4 inches. I also made sure to really secure the corners.

I had a little bit extra rope for each shape, which was helpful because it gave me some wiggle room. This extra I simply cut off at the right spot, and I brought over my warmed glue gun to secure these ends in place and make them as seamless as possible.

Nailing on rope.

Done! I think I’ll probably hang pictures in each of the shapes, but I also like them as they are for now. 🤷‍♀️ What do you think I should do?

AFTER: Rope detailed feature done!

These walls are warm, cozy, and decorative now. All it took was paint, tape, rope, and a lot of nails! I have a few other ideas to finish off this room (faux beams 🤞 , French doors, and that built-in closet) but I’m really happy with how these walls turned out! It’s also cool how the light reflects off the gold tape strips, and even simple sunlight makes them sparkle. 😍

AFTER: More interesting walls!

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