I used the large Rabat stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils. I won a giveaway over at Bella Before and After, and spent my prize credit on this stencil.
The first step was to paint the wall white, so the negative space of the stencil would be white, and not ugly builders beige. It's not the best "before" pic, I forgot to take a true one, but you can see the white paint and the original paint color. I made sure to get flat paint for the base white color, the paint guy at Home Depot said that you always want the bottom color to be a flat paint. I didn't know that. But it was the cheapest sheen, so woot!
And then it was time to get started (after letting the paint dry for a day). Lover painted the rest of the room (ceiling included) and I tackled the wall. I started at the top, in about the center of the wall. The stencil was really easy to use, I used a lot of painters tape on the edges and between the openings, and just worked my way down the wall. I had to "cheat" every few movements down the wall, since it wouldn't line up exactly. But it said on the Cutting Edge site that it's totally fine to cheat it, just make sure your stencil is level. I also got the clip on stencil level, and truly highly recommend it.
I'm pretty sure it's required to look like crap when you're doing home improvements. And a black bra under a white shirt makes you uber cool. And a little FYI, if you wear super baggy pants when you're climbing up and down a ladder, be prepared to step on them and accidentally moon your husband once. Or 4 times, whatever.
In the beginning, I just worked in rows. But then I'd run into the problem of the paint being wet while I moved onto the next one. So eventually I just bounced around, making sure it was lined up and level each time.
The color we used was "Silver Drop" by Behr. I didn't want a gray that was blueish or yellowish. This is just a pretty, medium gray. I was worried that an all gray room would feel cold or institutional, but it's lovely and inviting.
Thanks Cutting Edge for making a super awesome product! I'd love to try out some of their other stencils, they make such a huge impact. 4 days worth of work for an eye catching accent wall? Score.