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. Lidia says

    Happy Friday YHL! My vote is the grey striped wall on the crib wall but I’d also mimic that on the bike wall (the stripe kind of reminds me of a road) :)

    • says

      Totally feels like that! I think we are down with up or down- so it was just random. Up might be more optimistic for some reason though. Haha!


    • DawnSC says

      They look like little trees to me in the orientation now, so I would vote to leave them as-is if you end up using it. :) Although, for what it’s worth, I voted for charcoal on crib wall. Possibly combined with the wallpaper, though, as I do really like it.

      Off to paint our own nursery now! :)

  2. Elle says

    I know you guys don’t really talk about your disagreements much so I’m way, way overdramtizing The Wallpaper Reveal in my head. There is the possibility that I’m imagining Sherry going “WHAT DID YOU DOOOOO?!?!?” and advancing on John with wallpaper-claw hands.

    For what it’s worth, I like the wallpaper on the bike print wall and then a darker grey between the built ins. It’s hard to tell through some pictures on the computer, but I *think* that would make it feel more balanced in the room without being crazy busy.

    • Valerie says

      I agree with Elle on the wallpaper/dark grey combo.

      I love how the darker grey adds contrast making the built-ins and crib pop without being too busy (like the arrows on crib wall or stripes would).
      I also love the idea of treating both walls—I think if you just do one the other could end up feeling very empty/plain/unbalanced. The arrows are so fun on the bike wall but I also think the wide grey stripes could work on the bike print wall too allowing you to avoid the dreaded wallpaper.
      Can’t wait to see what you choose!

  3. Sharly says

    Just so you know, the voting options are limited (radio not check buttons!)
    I love the stripes but the lighter wallpaper on the bike art wall is fab, I love the way you mock things up so that you can see from all angles how it will look.

    • says

      Hey guys! Been reading your blog for a year now and it is AWESOME. A few quick thoughts…
      Prefer the wallpaper on the bike wall, it adds an extra “omhf” and will balance out the built-ins (have you tried turning the paper so the arrows point up?).
      With the extras on the crib wall: it may be tempting to balance out the crib wall with a little something extra, but in a few years when there is a bed in that space instead of a crib, it will be a LOT fuller, and then the stripes may be overkill.

  4. says

    What about chalkboard paint between the built-ins? (Or is that…over?) That dark charcoal color looks great and I can just imagine the sweet messages and drawings you guys would come up with for the Barnacle above his crib!

    Love the wallpaper on the bike wall too!

  5. Amy says

    The wallpaper on the bike wall is so cool; but would you then do something to break up the mono-color on the crib wall a little? Not necessarily a pattern or anything that covers that entire space behind the crib, but maybe an art/photo collage framing the mobile? Or…something.

    Because that wallpaper…SUPER cool. But it would maybe leave the crib wall looking plain.

    • says

      I like this idea the best. The crib wall feels like it needs SOMETHING. I feel like there’s not enough contrast between the built-ins and the wall. But on the flip side, I love the wallpaper on the bike wall. I think you could really balance out the room by doing the wallpaper there and a plain coordinating color behind the crib.

  6. says

    I like the charcoal accent on the built-in wall! I am not a fan of that wallpaper though…it feels like one step too far into over-done land. Have you ever heard the quote (I think it’s Coco Chanel) that you should look in the mirror after getting ready and take one thing off? It’s kind of like that! You don’t want to do that one extra thing that becomes too much.

  7. Stahli says

    I tried to vote…but I had more than one that I wanted and it wouldn’t let me pick them. I agree with Katie that you should do the wallpaper on the bike wall and a darker grey on the crib wall. When I saw the picture of the crib w/the grey it just seemed to make everything POP!

  8. says

    I actually think the wallpaper looks far less busy on the crib wall than the striped wall. I really like the wallpaper, but paired with the bike prints and the bookcase/changing table it all feels a little too much. On the crib wall there’s such a smaller area that it is a nice focal point.

  9. Anima says

    I guess. The wall paper look so busy and like u are trying too hard.stripes or even some paint treatment like Clara’s wall would look better.

  10. says

    I’d like to make a suggestion – how about on the wall with the window? I think the wallpaper is great, but a little too much on either the built in, or the bike art wall.

    • says

      Hmm, that’s an interesting idea. I agree that the wallpaper is too busy on either wall you photoshopped. And I picked the charcoal crib wall but I’m not sure about it either. It feels like the crib wall needs something but I wouldn’t do multiple accent walls. What if the crib wall were just some texture?

    • Patti says

      I was just coming to suggest this too. Mock up the wallpaper on the wall with the windows. I think the other two walls already have too much going for them, it would be interesting to see what it looks like on the other wall.

      Otherwise, I really like the gray stripes above the crib.

    • Tash says

      I was also thinking wallpaper on the wall with the window might look great! Especially since the curtains are plain

    • Marlene says

      I vote for the wallpaper on the window wall too. Not much going on on that wall and it would be nice to see it on the wall directly across from the door.

    • Annie says

      I agree that it’s worth testing out another wall for wallpaper…by the windows or the wall opposite the windows? But of the options you listed, the charcoal paint is my favorite!

    • Natalie says

      Ditto the wallpaper on the window wall. Wallpaper makes the wall it’s on a focal wall, I’d rather focus on a window than a changing table (although yours is lovely and I almost did exactly that treatment to my ikea shelf last year for my second baby’s changing table).

    • Brigid says

      I also was coming to comment that the wallpaper would look best on the wall with the windows. That windows won’t clash, yet they will break up the wallpaper so it isn’t to much.

    • Tanya says

      I was thinking the same thing. Then I thought maybe accenting the window wall would be weird? I don’t know, but it may be worth a Photoshop session to see.

    • Ally says

      That’s not a bad idea at all. I would love to see a Photoshop view of wallpaper on the window wall, too! I think the wallpaper on the changing table wall is too busy with the bike print and all. The stripes or charcoal on the crib wall are my favorites of the options above.

  11. Kate says

    I really like the wallpaper you show, but I prefer the stripes. Maybe the laundry nook would be a fun place to experiment with wallpaper instead?

    • Ally says

      That’s a good idea! I saw a laundry nook on Pinterest with an awesome stenciled wall. It looked really good and almost made you want to do laundry.

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