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Half-Painted/Tiled Wall Trend: Tips to Get the Look + Answers to FAQs!

This simple trend lets you use paint, tiles, or even laminates to create your desired look.

The last couple of (pandemic) years have seen homeowners embracing all sorts of popular interior design trends from rattan accents to tanned colour schemes, but none of them are quite as easy to pull off as the half-painted/tiled wall.

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Interior Firms: The Local INN.terior 新家室 (left) and Salt Studio (right)

By simply covering half of a wall in a contrasting colour/pattern, you can create an eye-catching, and perhaps more importantly, cost-effective decorative feature for almost any home. In other words, more results for less effort.

But before you get started on coming up with the perfect half-and-half combination of elaborate tile patterns and neutral backdrops, you’ll want to keep scrolling for some expert advice/answers to some FAQs we got on Instagram (@qanvast) from Joey Ong, creative director at local design consultancy Salt Studio!


1. How high should the contrasting tile/paint portion of a half-wall be?

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While there’s no fixed number for how high the coloured/patterned section of a half-wall should be, Joey recommends taking reference from surrounding features, like for instance, a desk or built-in cabinet.

“It depends on context. If you’re talking about a bathroom for example, you might want to align (the intersection points where both halves meet) to where the edges of a wall-hung cabinet are or at the same height as a vanity countertop, which is usually mounted about 850mm above the floor,” he says.

“The key is to create a nice continuous line that goes seamlessly around the entire room.”

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In relation, ceiling height is yet another detail that Joey recommends taking note of, when deciding on where the intersection point of a half-wall should be.

“If you live in a condo or a home with bigger proportions or a high ceiling, and you would like to draw attention to it, the intersection point can be higher than the usual 850mm mark,” says Joey.

2. How much does it cost to create a half-wall at home?

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If you’re wondering how exactly much it costs to create a half-wall at home, Joey’s answer is: It depends. And this is mostly due to the (surprisingly high) number of variables involved, concerning material choice, room size, and even the humidity of your home spaces.

“For example, to use the context of a bathroom again, the overall cost would be slightly cheaper if you were to tile only the bottom half of the walls,” says Joey. “But due to the humidity from the shower, you’ll have to use outdoor paint instead of regular indoor paint, which is more expensive.”

Choa Chu Kang Street 51 by The Alchemists Design
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In addition, according to Joey, having a half-painted/tiled wall will only save you on material costs and not labour costs. “If you’re talking about a bathroom in an old resale flat, the contractor will need to hack away all the existing tiles on the walls before installing the new pieces – and not just the ones on the top/bottom half,” he shares.

3. Can I create a half-painted/tiled wall in my bathroom?

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Joey’s answer to this question is, “Yes, you can”. But again, if you’re planning to use paint for a half-wall in a bathroom, do make sure it’s water-resistant, so that the colour doesn’t run/fade too quickly.

Otherwise, if you aren’t keen on using either paint or tiles, there’s a waterproof cladding option that Joey highlighted as well: CERARL laminate panels from Admira, which mimic the look of wood, marble, corkboard, and other appealing, but porous (read: unsuitable for bathrooms) natural materials.

Jelebu Road by ProjectGuru
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And also, if you’d like (very, very, very) rough figures, Joey puts the estimated cost of creating an HDB flat bathroom with half-tiled walls at approximately $3,200 to $3,300, versus a price tag of $3,800 to $4,500 if it were to be fully cladded in tiles.

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Just like how there’s no magic number for how tall each section of a half-painted/tiled wall should be, there’s also no hard-and-fast ratio that should be adhered either with regards to colour ratio.

“It really depends on the effect that you’d like to achieve,” says Joey “You can use two highly-contrasting colours, like blue and red, to create more tension, or you could choose colours with similar tones, such as white and grey, for a more subtle look.”

Hougang Avenue 2 by Ascend Design
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5. Which should go on top? The half with a heavy pattern or the one that’s plain?

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With regards to this question, Joey recommends having the plainer half on top as opposed to the half with a heavier pattern or colour – even though there can be exceptions to the rule, depending on the final look you’d like to achieve.

The Gale by Salt Studio
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“Having the heavier half at the bottom grounds the space, whereas having the lighter half on top draws your eyes upwards, but you can invert the positions if you’d like to make a room look smaller,” explains Joey. “It’s a bit like wearing clothes; a light top will make you look bigger, while a darker top makes you slimmer.”


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