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. Allyn says

    I really love the wallpaper, but I think you really need something on the crib wall . . . the stripes really look terrific, in my opinion. Once you add the stripes, I think it could be a little “clashy” to put the wallpaper on the other wall.

    Oh, by the way, the Homearama ticket site worked just fine yesterday afternoon!

  2. Leigh Anne says

    I know everyone is voting for the striped wall but I think it would be too much on one wall. Especially if you look at the room as a whole instead of one side at a time. The builtin wall would look way overdone whereas the bike art wall would seem small and sparse. Just my two cents! I vote for the wallpaper on the bike art wall :-)

  3. mary says

    The wallpaper is beautiful but, to me, too busy with the bike art or the mobile.

    I like something between the built-ins to make them stand out more, though. So gray or stripes would be my vote. Stripes are fun for a kid but there’s a lot of horizontal lines there already. Though the round mobile shapes add some relief.

    • deb says

      I also think the bike art wall has enough going on without the wallpaper. But…I do like the gray stripes on the crib wall. Maybe do nothing for a bit and see what the Barnacle thinks when he gets in there??!!

  4. says

    I love the wallpaper and used the dark version as part of a temporary backsplash I did in my kitchen! But I have to say the picture with the stripes behind the crib was my fave. Good luck deciding!

  5. Lindsey says

    Not loving the wallpaper, as much as I hate to say.

    I think a wood planked wall is the way I would go. I think it would be a nice bridge between the builtins and give you some nice texture without being to in your face or “look at me, I’m a statement wall”. It would also be a nod to the nautical theme, but not be too themey and have a bit of a masculine feel and be able to grow with him. Plus it’s just a classic look.

    I like this look: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/42713896436683596/
    And also think adding some color via whitewashing technique would be cool (although this example might be a little too heavy). Something like this: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250442429251137773/

  6. Molly says

    What if you did the wallpaper on the wall with the curtains.
    Kind of to center the 2 walks with all the detail like the bike art and built ins?

    • says

      Sorry! The poll software was acting crazy (saying “check all that apply” but only letting people click one anyway, so the only way to make it make sense was to do the “check one” thing so at least the directions matched what it was letting people do).


  7. Lauren says

    What happens when you flip the wallpaper upside down so the arrows are pointing up instead of down? (Just curious). Man, I like the wallpaper on the accent wall and the gray paint behind the crib…both would be too much, but I can’t tell which one I like better!!

  8. Kate says

    hi guys-
    someone a while back suggested a reclaimed plank wall-
    I think that would look amazing and add a lot of texture and depth to the room…thoughts??

    • says

      Thanks for all the suggestions guys! We’re definitely still simmering, but we love hearing all of them and debating them at home. Wish this little guy was old enough to give us input like Clara did for her raindrop wall with the pink door.


  9. says

    The wallpaper is really lovely. But there’s still something kind of missing. I voted for the green accent wall, I don’t think the color in the photo is quite the shade you are looking for. But I love the playful color, especially in a kids room.

    • Nora says

      My thoughts also. The crib wall needs something and green would be good. Just not that forest green. I find the wallpaper rather dull, sorry :( Something with more fun shapes would also work between the crib.

  10. says

    I love the accent wall behind the crib! I vote dark grey or stripes. The wallpaper is pretty cute on the opposite wall, but it seems a little busy with those prints. So much fun any way you do it!

  11. Mary says

    Slightly off topic, but have you guys ever painted over stripes? I’d like to re-do a striped room in my house and I’m trying to figure out if I need to sand down the slight edge of the stripes, “fill in” the base layer with an extra coat of paint to even out the edges, or some other technique?
    Loving the sophisticated yet whimsical vibe of your nirsery so far!

    • says

      We’ve heard that if you prime over them first and then paint you shouldn’t have ridges or anything offensive showing through unless you applied really thick coats (think about how if you painted a test swatch on the wall and then painted over it with that color – it most likely wouldn’t bump out around that test swatch). Never tried it ourselves though, so I think it would matter if you ran your hand over the stripes and felt some sort of ridge or not (in our striped half bathroom we didn’t feel any difference from stripe to stripe – but we left it painted so we never got to see what would happen…).


    • Robin says

      This reminds me of the situation in my parents house. They are selling this spring and my dad painted strips (and other shapes) on most wall – with textured paint! I feel soo bad for whoever buys it if they don’t have the same taste! Hint – textured paint on small portions of your wall does not equal resale easiness! oh jeez.

    • says

      I just painted over yellow and purple stripes in my daughters room. (Looked like the LA Lakers lived in her room) I had bought paint with primer in it, however, after 2 coats of the paint, I could still see some of the purple and yellow popping through. Ended up needing 3 coats of paint, but I think it’s because of the colors I was covering up and I didn’t have any issues with ridges being seen. Good luck!

  12. says

    I absolutely love the stripes on the wall! When looking at the wallpaper on the bike wall, I thought it could work but I think it could look too busy. Once I saw the stripes, I knew that was the better option (IMO). But one other option (don’t know if you thought about it) – what about the wallpaper on the window wall? That might look less busy (with the windows to break it up) but it could tie the other two walls together? Just a thought. But I still love the striped wall! Can’t wait to see what you decide! ;)

  13. says

    I really like the wallpaper, but it feels too busy in the room with all the other textures you have. Maybe save it for the closet? LOVE the chunky stripes on the crib wall, though!

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