Wallpaper In The Nursery?

I know it sounds kinda crazy, but after painstakingly removing five different wallpapers from this house… we’re considering putting some up. I think I even passively mentioned it in this post about the nursery mobile.

Ever since we imagined the idea of these built-ins, we pictured making the space between the two of them sort sort of accent – either with a color or pattern or treatment of some sort (in our first post we even mentioned a planked wall). Those ideas fizzled a little bit after completing the built-ins and realizing they had a lot of stuff on them (so we didn’t want to clutter up that space between them above the crib too). But neither of us could quite shake the idea of still doing an accent of sorts somewhere in the room. And one night while perusing possible wallpaper ideas for the showhouse, this puppy caught John’s eye.

He went rogue and without even consulting yours truly (cue your outraged gasps) and ordered a sample of it and its darker counterpart, for $5 each. With tax and shipping it was $13 total. Thirteen bucks that would either earn him a sour look from me, or make him a hero.

Well, he got the sour look alright – not for the $13, but because I can still vividly remember the claw-hands I had from wallpaper peeling. The good news is that when he explained that Spoonflower wallpaper is removable, all was right with the world again. And I really liked the pattern too (it feels like something that could grow with the bun, and not be too fleeting or “young baby”). The hero part is still TBD though.

The samples arrived a couple of weeks later. They’re nice and big, and they revealed a detail that John hadn’t detected online: a subtle linen-like texture in the gray tones that I also thought was a nice touch.

We ran upstairs to tape them up on the walls, just to get a feel for them in the room, and John went rogue again and put them on the wall with the bike prints. He must be getting braver (I think it’s the beard, guys). Since we’re both less tempted to mess with the look of the built-in wall, he said he thought that wall might be the answer instead. Forgive the terrible phone pic.

We snapped that with my iPhone so I could mock-up a full-wall version of the space in Photoshop. For those wondering how I did it, I just dragged the photo I shared above into Photoshop and laid it over another picture I took of (almost) the full wall. Then I just adjusted the size of the overlaid detail photo of the wallpaper until the patterns matched up and were the same size (I had the opacity of the top layer down a little so I could see when that happened).

Once I knew the wallpaper pattern was the right scale, I put the opacity back up to 100% and cut out the rest of the iPhone pic so I was just left with a rectangle of wallpaper that I could manually tile until it filled the whole picture. Lastly, I cut out around the objects like the frames, doors, and the changing table (which were still in the image behind the tiled wallpaper) so as I deleted the wallpaper in front of them, it appeared to run behind them.

I also tried a version where I adjusted the color to look like the darker sample that John also ordered, but it was pretty clear to both of us that we preferred the lighter one.

I thought it was a little hard to judge without seeing a plain wall meeting the accent wall to give it context, so I used the same technique to mock things up on this photo that I already had of the room. The colors probably aren’t perfect (the curtains look neon here), but it definitely helped us to picture everything – and it confirmed that the light version wouldn’t clash with the wall color or anything.

I still wasn’t convinced that was the right wall for an accent (I feared it might look too busy with the bike art in real life) so we also mocked it up on the crib wall to see if our original idea was better. We stared at it for a second, but I think we both prefer the bike wall. It just felt too crazy over the crib with all the items on the built-ins, the mobile, the patterned crib skirt, etc.

I also tossed some bold green up there just to see if a hit of that above the crib would be fun. It’s not great photoshop (looks pretty flat) but we didn’t really love it.

I also tried something sort of charcoal-ish to balance the chair out. This one made both of us do that “eh, not bad” face while staring at the computer. It looks kinda nice with the white crib and the mobile.

To add yet another possibility to the ring, a sweet reader named Annie had emailed us this quick mock-up she did with some chunky stripes painted behind the crib, which also gave us pause. You know we love a striped wall

We’re still sort of letting things simmer, but we’d love to hear what you guys would do. Would you go for the wallpaper on the bike art wall? We like that it’s removable, so it’s not too much of a commitment. Do you prefer a solid wall of green or charcoal or even some stripes behind the crib? Or should we just stop being crazy and leave things the heck alone? Part of us is really excited to add one more layer of interest into the room (we’ve never put up wallpaper so that would be a new adventure – and most of the elements in here are really neutral). Then again, we still want this room to be a mixture of playful and cozy (as opposed to that’s-just-straight-up-crazy). What do you think?

[yop_poll id=”4″]


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 HouseofGold
by WanderingKate
by kschrav
by stclaircatherine


  1. Beth says

    I love the stripes on the crib wall option, as well as the arrows on the changing table wall option. My only concern (if it was my wall) was that the arrows on the one side would make the crib side look even more… empty? So hard to choose, though, because the arrows are awesome.

    • Heather MacFeather says

      I agree. I like the idea of arrows on bike wall AND paint or stripes on the crib wall. I wonder if there is a plain linen (non arrow) version of the wallpaper that could go on crib wall.

    • says

      i was torn between the strips and the wallpapered bike wall.. I love the idea of the linen too. love all this! and i’m gonna need some of that wallpaper in my future nursery.. even though a kid isn’t even on my radar yet :)

    • Corinna says

      Agree. Love the lighter arrows on the big wall and the stripes on the crib wall. Oh yeah, also like the linen plain idea.

    • naomi says

      I was thinking the same thing. I think it you did a wallpaper on the bike art wall, the stripes would be great to balance things out.

    • says

      I agree that by highlighting the changing table wall, it might make the crib wall look more bare. It’s great as is because the entire room is neutral, but if you add in something “crazy/fun/exciting” on one side, I think you’ll need to balance it on the other side so it doesn’t feel too heavy on one end of the room. That being said, I’m in favor of stripes or charcoal on the crib wall…and maybe something that ties into that on the changing table wall. Perhaps stripes over there and a solid color on the crib wall?
      I’m sure it will end up looking awesome!


    • Ashlyn says

      Stripes on the crib wall, and arrows on the bike frame wall. Same color to tie them together.

      Your poll should have allowed us to pick more than one option! :)

    • Jessica says

      Same here. I couldn’t vote for two, but I would definitely do the stripes on the crib wall and the wallpaper on the bike print wall. These would really step the nursery into super fun and whimsical territory. I also like how the stripes help tie together the built-ins, making the wall space in between seem less like a big blank void.

    • Caitlyn says

      I feel the opposite! The crib wall has built ins, the crib and the mobile – there is so much going on! The wallpaper would balance out the other wall by bringing some interest to the that side of the room.

    • Veronica says

      I agree with Beth, I think the wallpaper on the bike wall (which I think looks awesome!) makes the crib wall look sort of bare. I personally think the charcoal color on the crib wall and the wallpaper on the bike wall would be great. I think the stripes may be a little much seeing as those are also a pattern. I think you’d have a nice balance with a pattern and a solid color.

    • says

      Agree! At first I thought the wallpaper on the bike wall was going to look terrible. But after the photoshop rendition, wallpaper that wall!!

      Stripes ALL THE WAY above the crib. You said the green paint looks flat and the stripes lengthen it! Wish I could vote twice… once for the striped wall, once for the wallpaper wall!

      Of course we’ll love whatever you do!

    • Kati says

      I think we’re all forgetting that there will be a HANDSOME LITTLE MAN to balance things out on that side haha :-) Sherrybeth (harhar) what if y’all mocked up the space with the bike prints on the crib side, and the mobile above the changing table (a la Clara’s nursery) with the wallpaper on the changing table side of things? BTW your photoshop was SO good in the angled pic I thought you were going to say “So we went for it and here’s the after” because SERIOUSLY you did a Great-with-a-capital-G job photoshopping!

    • says

      Yes, I agree, please consider doing BOTH!! I actually cheated and voted twice so that I could vote for both the wallpaper on the bike wall AND the stripes on the crib wall. I love both and feel like they would compliment each other and look AWESOME :)

    • heather says

      I agree! I like crib/stripes and change/paper. Hard to tell if both would be too crazy, though. Wallpaper is number 1, but no matter, I think still need something in void behind crib. I was thinking green, but the example wasn’t my favorite…Maybe more like show house vanity color? If don’t do stripes, that is :)

    • Jessica Romansky says

      YES. Stripes on the crib wall and light gray wallpaper on the opposite wall.

  2. cassandra says

    what about some design like you did on Claras baby bassinet. random and organic, could add pops of color too

  3. says

    I love the stripes on the crib wall. I think the wallpaper DOES get a little busy, especially with the bike art and the changing table. The stripes look simple, add interest, but still give nice contrast.

  4. Katie says

    I think I would do the wallpaper on the bike wall and then do the exact se gray in between the built ins- or match they grey to the chair. That way you don’t do another color.

    • Sunnie says

      I agree with Katie! ^^ I think the same gray from the wallpaper between the built ins would look great!

    • Sarah says

      I had the exact same thought as Katie! I love the wallpaper on the bike wall, but think that the wall between the built-ins needs a little something extra.

    • Momlady says

      I agree. The solid color (matching the wallpaper) won’t fight with mobile (awesome) or the built-ins. Too many non-related horizontal lines if you do the stripes…crib,bookshelves.

    • Sarah says

      Also in agreement with Katie! I personally wasn’t as fond of the charcoal color on the wall, but I really liked the lighter gray that you used in the stripes.

    • Sarah says

      Oh! Even an ombre wall might be interesting behind the crib. It could incorporate all the grays!

    • Steph says

      I agree! Light grey arrow wallpaper on bike art wall and solid colour (charcoal or same light grey as wallpaper) on wall between built ins.

  5. Kati says

    FYI, even though the pol said ‘check all that apply’ it would only let me do one at a time. I’m using Chrome.

    • says

      Sorry, it was doing that to us too! For some reason it was displaying “check all that apply” but set on “check one” so now we have that fixed for ya! We could only get it to let people check one, so now at least the directive says that too.


    • Lisa E says

      It is now 9:49 am EST and I was only able to pick one, FYI. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  6. Anya says

    So much fun to play around with photoshop! I love the wallpaper but it just looks too busy on the wall with the already busy bike art.

    Also, I was only able to check one option for my voting (not more than one as your guidance suggests). Not sure if you want to change either the type of check box or the sentence :)

  7. Evelina says

    I voted for stripes behind the crib and wallpaper on the bike wall. I am especially enamoured with the stripes. What if you go stripes on both? Too much? What does Clara think?
    PS – I am digging John’s beard.

  8. Kelly says

    Was so surprised that I loved the stripes on the crib wall so much! I think the extra-large scale pattern of the stripes is a nice counterpart to the smaller, subtler patterns you’ve got going in the rug and the crib sheet! Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  9. Ellie says

    Hey guys,

    I like a lot of the options, but I think you would enjoy trying something new with the wallpaper. I agree with you that it looks better on the bike wall than the one above the crib. Plus, you don’t want things too busy right where you are hoping your little one will be sleeping. I also think if you leave that wall plain now, when he outgrows the mobile you could add some sweet family photos there or one big colorful one (maybe of him and Clara). What do you think?

    • says

      Thanks for all the suggestions guys! We’re definitely still percolating, but we’re reading every single idea. It reminds us of when we photoshopped the wall behind Clara’s crib and asked what everyone thought- which ended up leading us to something that we love – with Clara’s input too!


  10. ne says

    Oh that was fun! For me Wallpaper on Crib Wall is such a clear winner, I am trying to make sense of the popularity of stripes on the Crib Wall ;P

    • says

      agreed! wallpaper on crib wall is clear win! it really adds interest to that area, and agree that once they outgrow the mobile, you can make it a gallery wall, etc…
      think stripes are over-done. the arrows are much more interesting

    • Wendy says

      I agree. The stripes look nice, but they’re so “yesterday” and so overdone. For me, you guys are so fun to follow because of your classic choices mixed with fresh and new ideas. Those stripes don’t seem to be either. Love the arrows on either wall. If you put the wallpaper on the crib wall, maybe the beautiful gray/charcoal color could go on the closet door. Look forward to seeing your choices. Have fun!

  11. says

    Wowza! So many fantastic ops! I am SO IMPRESSED by your PS skillz.

    Would stripes (call me traditional) on the crib wall, PLUS the light gray arrows (which make me think of Katniss, a strong hero for little Barn(ey Stinson) to look up to, be too busy?

  12. Brenna says

    What if you did the light wallpaper on the bike wall and maybe just two or three chunky stripes (in the same color of the wallpaper to tie them in together) on the built in wall instead of from floor to ceiling? Maybe it would make it less distracting from your gorgeous mobile but still tie in the two walls and light gray color?


    – B

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