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. Dana says

    I actually vote to wallpaper the bike wall AND the crib wall. I think it adds a little more zing to the crib wall as well, and having them opposite one another might be nice. Why choose? :)

    You could stitch together some shots of the room in a panorama, with the wallpaper on both walls opposite one another, and see what you think. The light color will likely play nice with the colorful mobile. I personally just find it a pleasant choice for both walls. My $.02.

    No matter what you choose, I’m sure it will look great. I already love where the nursery is going so far. Great choices, guys!

  2. Cf Betcher says

    Hi! I L OVE that wallpaper! I think I prefer it on the crib wall, but did you consider it on the window wall? Then the room won’t be lopsided, it won’t compete with other things on the wall (solid drapes+ solid chair + patterned wallpaper = :)). In general, I think accent walls should be opposite the door, to draw you into the room. Anyway, something to think about…

  3. Francie says

    I like it best plain! I do like the accent wall in the space behind the crib but I wouldn’t do it while the mobile is in that space. I love the way the mobile looks in the plain white space. Maybe this is something you can plan for once you’re ready to take down the mobile and convert to a big boy bed!

  4. says

    Stripes are so….yesterday :) The wallpaper with the rest of the walls plain is fun and different. No green. That reminds me of the 90’s hunter green fad. Shudder.

  5. Casey Severinghaus says

    I have a charcoal and white strip wall in my kitchen and removable wallpaper accent wall in teal and white in my office. Love both!
    From your pics, I love the stripes behind the crib.

  6. denise says

    I like the paint on the crib wall and the wallpaper on the crib wall. I think the wallpaper with the bike prints is too busy. Also, I think putting the wallpaper on the bike wall is accenting the wrong wall in the room. The crib and the built-ins are clearly the focus of the room. If you accent the opposite wall, your eyes will not be able to figure out where to rest and the room will feel noisy. I do love that wallpaper though!

  7. says

    Oh how fun! I opened up YHL this morning and see the exact same pattern I fell for on Spoonflower. I plan on sewing both my girls’ toddler bed sets with the organic sateen they have, and the large, textured, light grey arrows are going to be one side of the comforter. Thank you for turning me onto that site by the way! I was able to order a Seahawks Lego fabric for my daughter’s fifth birthday dress, and you really can’t more specific than that.

    I like the idea of walking into the nursery and not sewinf the arrows right away, and then enjoying them as you change a diaper or sit in the comfy chair.

  8. Addie says

    Gotta say I LOVE that wallpaper, but I think the space above the crib needs a little something, and I love how the charcoal wall pulls in the chair even more. It makes it cozier, too. I wish I could see how both would look! (I mean together… I think it would be awesome).

  9. Susan Z.F. says

    Charcoal crib wall would pop out those built ins, contrast so nicely against the white crib, tie into the chair and bring in the curtains too. I do love the wallpaper — would you regret it on the bike wall if you decide to swap out that art in the future? Baby Barnacle may enjoy looking at it during diaper changes – sort of like a “mobile”

    Stripes on the crib wall would be nice but would it give your crib wall too many horizontal lines given the lines of the shelves and the lines of the drawers. Maybe a fewer number of stripes and wider ones would do the trick -? Does Clara have a preference?

    Look forward to reading your final choice which will surely fit your fantastic room no matter what you decide or what we suggest!

  10. Liz says

    I’m loving the light grey arrows on the bike wall and the stripes behind the crib. I can see how doing both could get too busy. What if you did the stripes behind the crib and painted the bike wall the same color as the grey stripe? So it would be a solid accent wall.

  11. says

    I love the striped wall – have you thought about trying colors from the blanket hung on the crib? Perhaps a nice navy, or kelly green, even a lime green? I’m looking forward to seeing the end result!

  12. Carla says

    I’m going to agree with every one who says wallpaper and charcoal accent wall. It would make a nice balance!

  13. Rose says

    I like the wallpaper. I wasn’t totally sold until you included the angle with the window wall and chair in it. I thought it gives the room a nice cozy feel and gives you guys something to look at if you’re sitting in the chair nursing or reading the Barnacle a book or whatever.
    Although now I want to see what the other wall would look like with the door in it and the wallpaper next to it. :)

    Stripes on the crib wall were cute too but I feel like that’s so overdone in nurseries. Whatever makes you guys happy though!! That’s what it’s all about. :)

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