Try the Instagram-approved scalloped wall trend with this expert guide

Everyone on Instagram is trying the scalloped wall trend. Here, an expert takes you through the best ways to perfect the design yourself at home.

With most people still working from home, keeping our space feeling fresh is more important than ever. Moving furniture and accessories around is one way to do so, but there’s only so much change you can create with what you’ve already got inside your four walls. Sometimes, then, the best way to refresh your home is by turning to those very walls to change things up.

This is what many people have been doing over the past year, at least on Instagram. Gone are the days when the only way to change up your wall paint was by choosing a totally new colour. Feature wall designs using paint are Instagram’s favourite way to spruce up a home right now, including trends like arches, colour blocks and dalmation spots.

There is one paint trend that has really caught people’s attention, however, and it doesn’t look like it will be going anywhere soon: the scalloped wall feature. It’s a simple design but it looks really impressive on a wall. Plus, it’s the perfect way to spruce up a headboard, children’s bedrooms or your home office (your colleagues will be very impressed when they see it on Zoom and you tell them you painted it yourself). 

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“I’ve been using the scalloped design for years,” says Tash Bradley, head colour specialist at Lick Paint. Tash helps Lick customers improve their homes, finding the best paint colours and designs for them. Having worked on the scalloped design so many times, she has been able to perfect her method and she has learnt a lot about the best ways to make this kind of feature wall work for your space.

Here, she shares her tutorial and expert tips with The Curiosity Academy.

What you’ll need for the scalloped wall design

  • A pot of interior paint in a colour that you love
  • Paint roller and cutting-in paint brush (or small paint brush)
  • Biodegradable eco-friendly painting tray
  • Painters masking tape for painting the clean horizontal line around the room (check out how to use masking tape when decorating)
  • Decorators dust sheet to protect your floor and furnishings
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level and ruler 

How to paint the scalloped design on your wall

  1. The first step is to make the perfect size scallop template.
  2. Draw around a small plate onto some cardboard, then half the circle perfectly down the middle before cutting out the scallop shape.
  3. Once you’ve created your template, draw a straight horizontal line across the width of your wall with a pencil, using a spirit level and ruler to make sure it is straight. How high up you decide to do the scallop edge is entirely up to you.
  4. Once you’re happy, take the scallop template and draw around it as many times as it takes to reach across the entire horizontal line.
  5. Apply painters masking tape just above the horizontal line you’ve drawn, covering up the scallops.
  6. Paint just over where the bottom of the painters tape meets the wall. This provides a barrier of paint that will help prevent bleeding.
  7. Use a paint roller to paint the bottom half of the walls in your desired colour and immediately after your last coat of paint, remove the painters masking tape. Removing the painters masking tape when the paint is still wet will prevent any peeling.
  8. Now to the scallops. Fill in each scallop using a cutting-in brush (which has small bristles, making it better for accuracy and precision) or a small paint brush.

Tash’s expert tips

Choose your colours wisely

You can choose any colour you’d like for your scallop wall but Tash does have some tips to make sure it fits your space. “Always choose a lighter colour on top,” she says, explaining that the wall space above your scallops should always be lighter than the colour you have chosen for your scallops. This will make it stand out more and make your room feel more light and airy.

Tash’s personal favourite colours for scallops are coral, light pink and warm blues. “You can use darker and bolder colours with this design if you want to because it’s quite a feminine design,” she says. “But I like to stick with softer, brighter colours because the design lends itself to more feminine tones.”

Find the perfect spot for your feature wall

“My favourite place to do this design is the bedroom,” Tash says. “I like to use it as a fake headboard which looks really cool.”

It also works in bathrooms, home offices and children’s rooms. 

“If you have tall ceilings and you want to make the room feel more cosy, position your scallops three quarters the way up the wall,” Tash says. “If you have got a smaller room, cut the design off halfway in order to avoid shortening the room anymore.”

Tash also advises that you paint over woodwork with the colour you’re using for your scallops. “If the skirting is a different colour, it often makes the design feel squashed,” she explains.

Think carefully about the size of your scallops

You can make your scallops as big or small as you like. This comes down to personal preference and the size of your room. “Bigger scallops will elongate the room whereas smaller scallops feel slightly busier but they can look very sophisticated if the space can handle it,” Tash says.

“If you’re using pastel colours, tightening the design can be a good idea. Whereas, if you’re using more of a bold colour, it will lend itself to bigger scallops,” she adds.

Think about the other colours in your room

This design can look really sophisticated if you’re careful about it, according to Tash. “Make sure there aren’t too many colours in the room you’re adding it to,” she says. “Try and match the colour of the scallops to your wardrobe or another big piece of furniture in the room.”

She explains that this will help to pull everything together. “People often get very colourful with this design but it actually works really well with neutral colours like beige and white too,” Tash adds.

Tash also suggests that you avoid using this design in a room that already has lots of printed furniture or other patterns, as this may overwhelm the room.

You can read more interiors content at

  • Tash Bradley, head colour specialist at Lick Paint

    Tash has used the scalloped wall design with clients for years.

    Tash is the chief curator of the Lick colour palette and wallpaper collection and she’s helped more than 500 Lick customers transform their homes.

Images: Megan Murray and Lick Paint

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