Adding Fairy Lights To A Canopy Bed (& Photoshop Fun)

Update: Holy cow, you guys are full of so many fun ideas today! I’m having trouble keeping up with comments since they’re rolling in so furiously, but please know I’m reading them all and loving all the suggestions!

Happy Friday! We’ve been all over the place this week, painting the walls/trim/ceiling in the master bathroom & closet, diving into some basket craftiness, de-wallpapering our biggest room yet (the 21′ long kitchen), and now we have a little Clara-room update along with some photoshop percolating as we plot our next move in there. But first, here’s the tiny (and twinkly) addition:

Things just got a little brighter in here…

Ever since we hung her canopy, we’ve thought about adding lights to it. Both for the magic of it (Clara loves them) and also for the function of it being a well-lit place for bedtime stories. We feared traditional Christmas lights would be too heavy and make the fabric sag in weird ways (plus, they could look a little messy when they were off) so after some hunting online, we came across what are often dubbed “Fairy Lights.”

They’re basically small LEDs (check out this picture for scale – they’re tiny) that are strung on a thin wire. The particular set that we bought was 33 feet long and sold for $14 on Amazon. They’re not longer available but here’s an affiliate link for something similar.

The wire itself is extremely light and pretty moldable, so it was easy to weave it back and forth across the 18″ corbels that the fabric rests on. And by some luck of the draw, 33 feet was just about the perfect length to go back and forth four times on each side of the peak to the side brackets and secure them at each turn with white tape, so they’re not something Clara easily unwind and swing around like a lasso – but they will easily release under her weight, so she couldn’t strangle on them.

The next step was just draping the canopy back over them. The LEDs are so small that they tuck into the folds and are barely visible when they’re off. And when they’re on, well, you can see how they twinkle below. And since they’re LEDs, they’re completely cool to the touch – so we don’t have any fear of them being against fabric. I also love that they’re small resin-ish glowing dots instead of larger glass bulbs that could shatter.

I wish the part that plugs in weren’t big and black, but we were able to plug it in behind the bed and wrap the cord around the bed in a way that it’s able to be hidden behind the canopy most of the time, but easily accessed when it’s time to connect the cords to the power adapter. See how you can see it on the left, but it’s tucked away and invisible on the right? Thank you John, hand model of the ages.

Clara LOVES them. Partly because they’re called “Fairy Lights” but mostly because she feels very special having her own set of secret lights above the bed. We intended just to put them on for story time at night or other special play times, but they actually put off a fair amount of light, so we’ve found ourselves putting them on just about any time we’re in the room and the sun isn’t fully out.

We’ve had them up there for a week or two (didn’t want to sing their praises too soon only to have them burn out or something weird) and so far they have been awesome for our gentle girl. She hasn’t touched them once, but loves gazing up at them. Meanwhile, my best friend’s four year old daughter is nothing short of an acrobat, so we laughed about how she’d probably scale the canopy and hang from the fabric like she was Pink in concert.

But even with the addition of the lights, the canopy is still definitely missing something above it. There’s still so much white on white on white that we’ve been brainstorming which way we want to go. We’ve debated painting just that peaked area under the canopy for a while and then adding something else in there (like a hanging paper lantern or mobile or even a cute little animal head or something). So here are a few ideas, thanks to our good friend Photoshop.

Idea #1: A gray tone on the walls to add drama and a little dreaminess to the canopy, inspired by this wallpaper by Osborne And Little.

Idea #2: Maybe I could freehand some sort of imperfect painterly-ish mural, inspired by this awesome fabric covered lamp shade?

Idea #3: Another hand painted mural possibility could be something like this cluster of colorful raindrops in a variety of colors (inspired by this amazing but sadly sold out print).

Idea #4: Then I saw this picture of a pretty blue-green wall with little birds on it and thought that could be fun.

Idea #5: Since Clara’s quite the animal lover, we thought maybe a friendly giraffe or zebra (like this one from Dwell Studio) peering down at her while she sleeps could be fun with a blue-gray wall.

Idea #6: These little teardrops in a few different colors had my mind spinning with possibilities too.

Idea #7: Then I thought about a colorful fabric hung along that back wall, perhaps something with the same large-scale boldness of this pink and red wall coverings that Jenny shared here.

 Idea #8: And then there was the possibility of even darker charcoal paint on the walls and some asymmetrical handmade banners in a few colors like these (which were actually a super cool photo background for this party). Update: since this one looks chalkboard-ish there have been a lot of suggestions to do that so Clara can doodle away, but we worry that chalk dust over her bed might not be the best call (there are chalk markers but they’re not as charming, so we’ll have to see where we end up).

What do you guys think? Any favorites? Or combos? I think we’re leaning towards the gray background tone in Idea #1 or the dark charcoal color in Idea #8, but we’re not sure if we’ll stencil stars or something else – and we might just combine it with something 3D (like a little felt circle bunting or a hanging paper lantern or something). We’d love for Clara to weigh in on things too, and then I’m hoping to work on it this weekend (along with stenciling the bathroom floor and helping John finish that sunroom tile). What are you guys up to this weekend?

Update: Clara weighed in on these photoshopped pics as well as some more that we made based on people’s suggestions and then we made one last photoshopped picture for her, since she wanted to combine a few ideas (we even video-taped her reaction, which was pretty funny). Can’t wait to get it done and share what she liked best!


As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winner, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.

by makingahouse by Mallory by DesertDomicile by oats


    • says

      Haha! I was thinking something soft (like a stuffed fuzzy bear or a crocheted giraffe) could be cute. I think we’re a special breed of crazy (we used to sleep under a ceramic ram’s head…).


    • Caitlin says

      I agree! I think it makes me a little nervous having something a little heavier hanging over her head and she could possibly hit her head as she gets a little older! Love number 1 and how he strings in 8 look like kites! So fun for a young girl!

    • Cara says

      I was going to suggest caution with the animal head, friendly or not. there imaginations are so active at this age. My daughter is a few months younger than Clara, and we’ve had to take several toys out of her room for ‘talking’ in the night. We just had a miserable week apparently caused by vivid nightmares that caused her to be scared of our house. Our house. School? See ya Mom. Walk in to the kitchen and leave her in the living room? Full on panic. Not to mention the middle of the night shrieking. As best we can figure, her fabulous imagination led to a really vivid nightmare about something happening in the house. (She doesn’t seem to remember, just that there was ‘a problem’ in the night.). So, yeah. I would be skipping the animal head over the bed.

    • Keisha says

      Cara- Does she have a video baby monitor in her room? There have been stories of people hacking into those and talking to kids. Just fyi. Maybe ask her to draw a picture of what is so scary and then have her tell you about it. Hope you get it figured out.

  1. says

    I DIE for option 1! Love the gray and the stars! I wonder if you could find a fabric like that b/c I dig the warm tone option further down — it adds interest, color AND texture! What a delightful room for your little fairy bean!

  2. Becky S. says

    I vote for either #2 or #3! I’m not going to lie, having that animal head above the bed is creepy. Or it could just be me and that I started watching American Horror Story: Coven last night!

  3. Lauren says

    I absolutely love idea #1! It plays in more with the twinkly lights idea to me, and looks great with the rest of the decor in the room :)

  4. says

    The lights are so cute and I love how much light they give off. Gotta admit I’m kind of jealous! :)

    #1 and 8 are my faves. Not really sure why but maybe it’s the dark contrast against the rest of the white. I like the bunting/banners in 8 to go with either one.

  5. says

    We’re going to be clamming and thrifting for much of the weekend. It’ll be a pleasant relief to the sledge hammering from yesterday (3 hours total).

    We’re also hoping the massive pile of concrete pieces will be claimed by someone for free on Craigs List.

    When my hub commented on how he was impressed by my motivation to get this work done. I responded, “well, I cannot envision sledge hammering, crow barring, and jackhammering when pregnant. If we want a second one, this has to be done before that happens.”

  6. Heather says

    What about chalkboard paint so she can make her own design? I love all the options, though… and those fairy lights are adorable!!

    • says

      I love the chalk board paint idea. chalk dust could get messy on the bed covers, but it would be so much fun. I’d go with a non traditional chalk board paint color.

    • Doreen says

      I like that idea too, although chalk dust would be a big problem.

      I think #1 is my fav.

      Love the lights!

  7. jen says

    #4 and #8 were the ones that struck me most. I think it’s because of the little shot of pink ceiling in the top of the photos and that these two options tie in that part of the room along with other room colors.

  8. says

    I like option 1! They grey is the perfect simple accent for the room and won’t take away from the MAGIC of those lights! I like the charcoal too but I think the banner might be too much with the lights. Especially since Clara already has such fun colors and patterns in her pillows! You guys are genius! Anything you do will look fantastic!

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