By March 25, 2017Art, Our Home

When I first posted on Instagram about this AMAZING/GOD-AWFUL wallpaper that was original to one of our upstairs bedrooms, you guys reacted passionately. Some of you were all “THAT’S THE BEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN AND DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH IT!!!” and some were like “uuuurhhhhm, sorry Sus, no can do, and honestly, not sure we can be friends anymore” and others were all sweet and polite and trying to be diplomatic like “so it COULD be nice if you maybe painted over all of it except for a 1×1 square behind the bed?”.  I mean – no one really said that last one, but you get the gist.

So of course I’d already had a few ideas in my head – knew I wanted to do some black accents, loved the suggestion my friend Lauren gave to get an assortment of charcoal nudes/sketches and hang them all over the place, plus I knew a healthy dose of greenery would spice it right up. A few messages with (and a spontaneous happy home delivery visit from) Nicola of AmpersandCLE, a chat with my sister-in-law Grace to enlist her help with a custom sketch, and and several thrift store trips later, and I had a decent collection of art to hang…and the rest just kinda spiraled up from there.

Since this is an “extra” room, it’s always been lower on the list of to-do’s, but I was always intending to take this wallpaper down eventually. HOWEVER. For me, part of the fun of any project is using existing features in a way that enhances the good parts of said feature and minimizes the grodiness factor…and since I really kinda cringed every time I walked in there, I wanted to challenge myself to see if some fab styling alone could make me love the room. Spoiler alert: challenge accepted, and the answer is YES.

So today I’m breaking down my process here to show you how INCREDIBLY EASY it was to transform this room from UM to DAY-UM.

First off, I started with the bare bones: a twin bed that was already in the room (I took the wheels off the steel frame so it would sit a little lower to the ground, like the daybed it’s masquerading as) and a desk.  Then I covered the bed with two black curtain panels I’d nabbed at Target on clearance, brought in a desk chair and a fluffy white rug from another room, and added the $10 thrifted nightstand and black lamp (one of a pair that I got on permanent loan from Rachel when they downsized years ago). Then I decided on the placement of my two featured sketches (Nicola’s on the left – a vintage sketch with tons of character and beautifully aged – and Grace’s on the right – a sketch she did custom for me, using black and white on a kraft paper backing, resulting in a look I LURVE and one that’s perfect for this room’s color scheme!!) & hung them first.

Once the foundation was laid, I added the rest of the artwork – just eyeballing things here and there until they looked “right” to me.  I left a gap in the corner knowing I’d be putting some kinda of plant there.  For the back of the daybed, I lined up a few bed pillows and wrapped them in another curtain, then topped that off with a rug for a little black and white graphic pattern.  Then I layered in pillows and textiles until things looked happy. I had the fun pillow from Kaya Kilims as well as the little rug/tapestery textile I’d gotten from the lovely Val Tylerand both of them pull in some of the gold and brown tones of the wallpaper while also elevating said tones into something looking a little more intentional!

Of course, no room is complete without a plant or 20, so I brought in a variety of types to get some fullness and height and varying leaf shapes for interest.  I used a few boxes to prop the plants behind the bed up a bit, so they’d fill up just the right amount of space in the corner where I didn’t hang any art.  Then I hung a little “hanging light” collection in the upper corner (a few baskets and a lampshade hanging from fishing wire – quite temporary, NOT a real source of lighting, but inspiration for the real deal if we decide to go that route. IF and when we do, I’ll probably use some of the $10 Ikea hanging bulb kits to light them up and secure them more permanently to the ceiling).  I finished it all off with a fab wicker stool my girl Jen gifted to me, and a nice squishy black and white ottoman my sister-in-law gave me for Christmas a few years ago.

I now completely adore the room, and want to spend as much time in there as possible. It’s already got great light, with both south and west facing windows, so that always helps. But I was still crazy surprised at how MUCH of a difference the right artwork, some plants, and a bunch of varied textiles made. Some of you might still be thinking this room’s a deal breaker and subsequently we can’t be friends anymore, BUT, more than just a few of you have given your stamp of approval and love it just as much as I do.  And now you know my process so you can steal it and use it for sprucing up your own plaid rooms!

Here’s a little time-lapse so you can see it all put together.


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