How to paint a polka dot accent wall: a 7-step DIY

This polka dot accent wall can be created using leftover paint. DIY for a quick and easy room refresh.

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint
(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

Painting a polka dot accent wall is a perfect way to brighten up a child’s bedroom, utility, playroom or, even WC... Polka dot decorating has been gaining popularity over the last few years and there are several ways to achieve it. 

If you know how to paint a room, then you'll be able to paint polka dots! Our wall was all white and so for the dots I used some leftover paint I had from our hallway in a taupe colour. Using paint gives you the flexibility to create your own designs, it's more wearable than stickers and super inexpensive also.

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

How to paint a polka dot wall

Sure, there is a large variety of wallpapers you can buy with different patterns and colours to choose from but painting your design will be cheaper. Wallpaper is just more expensive way but there are lots of good quality designs to choose from that you can apply to an entire wall. Polka dot stickers are another alternative which allow you to get creative and make your own patterns to create a striking accent wall. These are cheaper than wallpaper but not be as hard wearing and can be tricky to remove. Hence why we think painting your polka dot accent wall is the answer!

1. Creating your design

This is the fun part. You can go wild here and if using for a child’s bedroom they can get involved too. You can use the traditional diamond like structure or go more freestyle with an open and random structure. A quick look on google or Pinterest can give you inspiration for your design. Don’t be afraid to use multiple colours or even different sized dots to create some interest.

2. Choosing your pattern

For my design I decided to go with a grid like pattern using the polka dots. I am a big lover of grid patterns and it is also a nod to the grid tiling I used in my kitchen and utility room. Making a grid pattern is slightly more challenging as the dots need to be perfectly parallel or you’ll easily notice.

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

3. Picking the right tool and materials

For my polka dot design in my dressing room I decided to go with the cheapest DIY solution and use paint. This is probably the most time intensive way to do a polka dot accent wall but it is the most cost effective and can be done using leftover paint from other DIY projects or paint samples. The rest of the materials needed you'll likely have to hand already also.

  • Spirit level – The longer the better
  • Round Sponge.
  • Measuring tape
  • Marker
  • Step ladder
  • Painters brush

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

4. Painting the base coat

So I started with painting the base colour of the wall, in my case this was a brilliant matt white wall. 

5. Mapping out the wall design

When the wall is dry you need to start mapping out your design. Figure out the spacing you want between your dots and how they will be positioned in reference to each other. 

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

To do this I measured the wall side to side and top to bottom. You want to ensure you have equal gaps on each side so the pattern is balanced. To ensure you have equal sides first you need to figure out how many dots you’ll have using the following calculation:

Wall distance (cm)/Polka dot gap (cm) = Number of dots you need

So for me the main wall was 3.1 metres wide and the distance between the dots is 20cm. Using the calculation this means I would have 15.5 dots but obviously we can’t put half a dot on the wall. To figure out the gap on either side we use the following calculation:

Excess dot x Polka dot gap (cm)/2 = Side Gap

The “Excess dot” is anything above an integer, for me that was 0.5 of a dot. Using the formula this would mean (0.5 * 20cm) and divided by 2 for each side meant the gap I needed to leave at each end is 5cm. I wanted more of a gap at either end so I decided to put one less dot on the wall meaning my gap at either end became 15cm.

6. Painting the polka dots

To actually paint the dot I used a round sponge with a handle I picked up from Hobbycraft but you can also find this online pretty easily. Using my measuring tape I marked the spirit level using the marker in 20cm intervals.

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

I also added a marker on the rear of the sponge so I lined up with the spirit level perfectly each time. Add a small amount of paint to a Tupperware lid and dip the sponge into it. You do not want excess paint on the sponge as this will cause drips or bleeding when you apply it to the wall. 

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

Lightly mark your first corner onto the wall so you know where to start. Place the spirit level horizontally against this mark and make sure the bubble is within the two lines. Start marking the wall with your sponge using the level as a guide. It may be easier for someone to hold the level for you but I managed to do both. Don’t worry too much about getting the perfect dot when you first apply as you are mainly marking out the correct placement and you can touch up the dots later. Once you have done your first horizontal row follow this up and do your first vertical row also using your spirit level. Once your first vertical row is done use it as a starting point for all your horizontal dots.

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

7. Perfecting the finish

For any dots that aren’t perfect you can use the sponge to tidy them up, the best way to apply is to give a small twist of the sponge which will give a smoother finish. You can also use the painters brush to tidy any imperfections. Don’t worry if you have had any total disasters as you can always paint over it with the base wall colour and start again!

The results:

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

We love keeping a lofty, Scandi-esque feel around the home and this polka dot wall helped achieve a light and airy finish, making our dressing room appear a little larger too.

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

As it's an unfussy design, it works well as a backdrop for simple furniture, shelving and plants to give it a subtle burst of colour. 

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

As any interior design aficionado would know, adding a mirror will enhance a small space too and this works particularly well with the polka dot accent wall.

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)

We are so happy with the results and literally anyone could achieve this over a weekend!

Creating a DIY Polka dot accent wall with sponge and gold paint

(Image credit: Jo Lemos)
Jo Lemos
Jo Lemos

 Jo Lemos is a DIYer and decorator who chronicles his projects on the popular Instagram account @two.men.and.a.semi. His DIY obsession began in childhood, when he used to help his parents redecorate the family house. Since then, he’s been developing his DIY skills for two decades, culminating in a full renovation of his current house alongside his partner, Chris. Currently the duo is restoring a 1930s semi-detached house in Manchester that had been badly renovated throughout the years. For Jo, sustainable and budget friendly design is the best way to renovate your house, and he considers his renovation motto to be: “Why pay someone when I can do it myself?!” 

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