Monday, March 12, 2012

Adorable Baby Girl Nursery

Two of my friends that I graduated from Interior Design with just had their first baby and when I saw pictures of the nusery I just had to share it! It turned out perfect! So here is Emily with all the details:


Before my little girl was born in October, I was super busy getting her nursery ready. We were moving into a new apartment, and I wanted to get some color on the wall(s) in her room before we filled the room with "stuff". Since we were renting and couldn't paint, I decided to use my favorite non-permanent wall-covering option: fabric. We headed to IKEA (a great source for fun and inexpensive fabric--especially ones that are heavier in weight) and settled on a solid pink linen-like fabric. I resisted the pink for a long time, but it was the best fabric option we had (unless we wanted to spend hundreds on the wall fabric alone), so I went with it. It started as just a solid wall, but then I decided on the Penelope bedding from Pottery Barn Kids, and couldn't stop thinking birds (and birdhouses, and trees, etc.). I started seeing cute tree decals all over the place, and decided I wanted a tree on the wall. I searched and searched the world wide web, but wasn't totally in love with any of the trees to purchase out there, so I decided to make my own! Since I was getting quite comfortable with the "fabric on the wall" thing, I decided to make it out of white fabric and put it right on top of the pink background. I drew the tree in AutoCAD first (I am embarrassingly dependent on CAD) and printed a full-scale template to trace--which was quite the production as you can imagine. In hindsight, the template was totally unnecessary, because I ended up freehanding most of it once I started putting the pieces on the wall. Nonetheless, it was a good exercise to draw the entire thing before I started cutting out the pieces.




The tree helped break up the pink, but I still felt like I needed some green on the other wall to calm it down some more (and to bring in the "green" part of the "pink and green" color scheme). I found a great patterned fabric (at JoAnn's) and "framed" the mirror and picture frames (since this picture was taken I have put photos of my baby's hands and feet in the frames) over the changing table/dresser with it.



I knew I had to have some birdhouses somewhere in the room, because they fit the theme all too perfectly. I considered a lot of options, but ultimately decided to make some simple paper birdhouses and hang them in frames over the crib. It was a super easy project and cost next to nothing to make. I purchased three Sondrum frames from IKEA, made three birdhouses out of scrapbook paper, and mounted each on some extra green fabric from the wall above the changing table. I then hung each frame from the tree with green ribbon--pretty simple.




One of my favorite finds in the nursery was the bird light on the bookshelf. We knew we needed a nightlight, and I was super excited when I found this cute bird on clearance at PB Kids. Its actually supposed to be hung on the wall, but we were pretty much out of wall space already, and found that it was way too bright out in the open anyway. It was still pretty bright nestled in the shelf, so I plugged it in to a dimmer switch/extension cord (found at Home Depot), and now it serves as the perfect (and dim) nightlight.



Here are some close up shots of the bedding, mobile, and birdhouses:
















And here are the specifics on the main items in the room:
   -Crib: Baby Cache Essential Curved Lifetime Crib (Babies R Us)
    -Mobile: Penelope Bird Mobile (Pottery Barn Kids)
    -Glider: PB Kids Comfort Grand Swivel Glider (Pottery Barn Kids)
    -Side Table: Hemnes Nightstand (IKEA)
    -Lamp: White Resin Table Lamp (Target.com)
    -Curtains: Simply Shabby Chic Candy Stripe Window Panel (Target.com--no longer available)
    -Bookshelf: Hemnes Bookcase (IKEA)
    -Dresser: Hemnes 8-Drawer Dresser (IKEA)
    -Mirror: Ava Mirror (Pottery Barn Kids)
    -Oval Frames: Oval Gallery Frames (Pottery Barn Kids)
I'm so happy with how everything turned out. It's super girly, which wasn't the original intention, but there's really no better time to take advantage of all things girly than now. Might as well embrace it, right?  Now that we've been using the room for several months, I can safely say that it is my favorite room in the house.
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Here's my attempt at a quick DIY "tutorial" for putting fabric on the wall.  Covering a wall with fabric is really pretty simple, but not necessarily easy. I made several mistakes at first, but each time I've done it since has been easier. I'll do my best to help you avoid the mistakes I made when I first tried this. I'm sorry I don't have step-by-step photos of the process, but hopefully my verbal descriptions will be enough.
What you will need:
    -Fabric (something about the weight of upholstery fabric is best--if you do a regular cotton, you will run into bubbling problems)
    -Liquid Starch (Sometimes this is hard to find, but I've been able to find a brand called Sta-Flo at Wal-Mart--it comes in a 2 qt. blue container)
    -Paint Roller(s)
    -Paint Brush
    -Bucket or Paint Tray (to pour starch in)
    -Thumbtacks/pushpins (to anchor fabric in place before you starch it)
    -X-Acto Knife (to trim edges after fabric is dry)

Step 1: I usually pin the fabric to the wall with thumbtacks before I get it wet. This helps me to get the fabric exactly where I want it, and lined up if it is a pattern that needs to be lined up. This step was especially important when I was doing the tree branches--they were pinned every 4" or so. If you're doing fabric from floor to ceiling (or wall to wall), make sure you leave plenty of extra at the edges because the fabric will shrink as it gets wet and dries.

Step 2: Once the fabric is in place, pour the starch into your bucket/paint tray and start "painting" it over the top of your fabric with a paint roller. The starch will soak through the fabric and essentially glue it to the wall (you want the fabric to be saturated with starch). Make sure to get as much of the edges done as you can now--I like to use a regular paintbrush for the edges since its hard to get a roller into the corners. Do as much as you can without taking out any thumbtacks and then let it dry (with the thumbtacks still in place)--this will probably take overnight. If you can leave windows open in the room I recommend it (or run a fan), because all of that liquid starch will make the room humid (and a little stinky).
Step 3: Once the first coat is dry, remove the thumbtacks and starch over the areas that you missed. Also do a second coat of starch over any areas you think might need it.

***A note about the color of the fabric: when the fabric is wet with starch, it will be a lot darker than what it was originally, but it will dry much closer to the original color (usually a touch darker, though, so keep that in mind when selecting your fabric)

Step 4: After everything is dry, you can trim your edges. I usually just run my X-Acto knife down the corners of the walls and where the wall meets the ceiling/baseboard. You can use a ruler if you need to make sure the edges are square, or if you're doing a special shape (like the frame over the changing table), etc. Make sure you wait until the fabric is dry to do this step--wet fabric is much harder to cut than dry fabric--and starched fabric is more like paper than fabric, so it is super easy to cut.

Step 5: Once your edges are trimmed, you will probably need to go over the edges with starch again, just to make sure they are secure. Once that dries, you're done!
***Note: If you want to remove the fabric someday, just grab a corner and peel--it's that easy. You will need to wash the wall with warm water to remove any of the starch residue (though there probably won't be a ton). This process is great because its easy to remove, yet durable--I have had fabric on the wall for as long as two years and never had it start to peel away on its own.

Here are some other examples of "fabric on the wall" that I've done:

On this wall, I ran the fabric horizontally, so the seam would be less noticeable:


This fabric was tricky: not only was it a lightweight cotton (so it bubbled), but it was super hard to line up!


I put gray fabric on the wall behind the TV to give some contrast between the white walls and bookcase:




Phew!  I think I've said all there is to say about putting fabric on the wall.  Thanks to Amber for inviting me to post on her great design blog and for letting me share my little girl's nursery with you all!  Please contact me, emily.m.larsen@gmail.com, if you have any questions about any of it!
-Emily

Can you believe that is an apartment!! It looks amazing! A big thanks to Emily for sharing her great ideas.

52 comments:

Brittany said...

Oh my gosh, so adorable! I really love the bird theme with the green and pink. I would have never thought to use fabric.

Jenna Roberts said...

Yes! This is exactly the sort of thing I would like to do! When you cut out the tree- did you have to sew the edges to keep them from fraying or does the starch take care of that?

Jenna Roberts said...

Also- once you tear it down- is the fabric reusable to put up again when you move?

King of Derby said...

When you remove the fabric, what will the wall behind it be like? That is...will it damage to paint?

Emily said...

First of all, I've had a lot of questions about the fabric damaging the paint when you pull it off, and here is my response: I've only had it peel the paint once, and that was because the paint in that apartment was super weird--it was peeling all over the entire house. It was like they painted right over a high-gloss paint coat and it just didn't stick. I haven't had any problems on walls where the paint was normal. With that said, its always a good idea to do a test section first--just try out a small piece in a lower corner and let it dry for a few days (or weeks) before peeling it off. (It's a good idea to do this anyway to make sure you like the final "after-dried" color.) If you're worried because you live in a place with super strict policies (I've lived in apartments where they charged $10 for every pushpin hole), then it might not be worth the risk--just in case something were to happen.

When I cut out the tree, I didn't have to sew anything--the starch will keep the edges from fraying. This is also why its important to trim the edges AFTER its been starched and dry, because the starch will prevent the edges from fraying.

I've never tried to re-use the fabric in another apartment, but I'm sure it would be re-usable. When I did the tree, I put up and pulled down the leaves a million times (after they had dried)--as long as they were wet, they would stick and it didn't matter if they had already been starched once. When we leave this apartment, I will definitely be taking the tree with me and trying to use it again.

Another questions I was asked: "I was wondering on the tree if you cut that design out before you put it up on the wall? If you tried to cut it while it was on the wall would it cut through the pink fabric on the wall?"

Yes, I cut the tree out before I put it on the wall, BUT I also did a lot of "editing" with an X-Acto knife once the branches were dry on the wall. I tried not to push too hard, to prevent it from cutting the pink fabric, but I did cut through the pink fabric on occasion. It didn't really matter, because the cut on the pink was covered by the branch/leaf, but I'll be curious to see what the pink fabric looks like when I take the tree down--the cuts may or may not show. Be careful with your X-Acto knife, because that definitely WILL cause damage to the wall! :)

Thanks for all the interest and questions--let me know if you have more!

Andrea @ Strawberry Chic said...

Wow Emily you are amazing! I never would have thought to put fabric on the walls! Your apartment looks awesome :)

Katy said...

Holy moly - this is the most adorable little girl room! I'm totally saving these ideas if we ever get a girl - love the huge tree, the birds, and have always wanted the pink/green scheme (especially because we already have a green glider from the two older boys). LOVE it all!

Janeal said...

Saw this on Pinterest and I love it! Do you think it would work on a textured wall? I just tried putting up a vinyl decal of a tree in my bedroom but It would not stick because of the texture that's been added.

Emily said...

@Janeal:

It probably would work, but it would depend on HOW textured the wall is. If you had a patterned fabric, you might not even see the texture much? Give it a try and let me know!

amber wallace said...

What a beautiful nursery! And apartment. It is so hard to make an apartment a home sometimes. Great job Emily.

Amber, I love your blog and I am you newest follower.

Selena said...

This is awesome! Thanks for sharing!!
Have you ever tried to hang a picture on the wall you put fabric on it?

Selena said...

oops
*after you put fabric on it

Elizabeth Hansberry said...

I absolutely love this idea! I did want to ask your advice though: What about a window that I want to do this around? I know you recommend not to cut until it is dry but do you have any other tips?

Thank you!

Emily said...

@ Selena: Yes, I've hung pictures on the walls with fabric on them--it's no different than a normal wall!

@ Elizabeth: If it's a small window, I'd be tempted to just put the fabric on over the window, then cut out the opening once its dry. If it's larger, you'll probably have to piece it around it so you don't waste a ton of fabric. I did it around a doorway once and just made sure I had about six extra inches over each side of the door frame--that way after it dried (and shrank) I was able to get a clean line when I trimmed it. Good luck!

Cj PHOTOGRAPHY said...

I'm so excited to try this!

I actually have a very similar TV stand and shelves that I tacked fabric behind instead of starching. I get a ton of compliments on it! I can't wait to do a whole wall in the starch process.

Paula -- CutieFruity said...

this just rocked my world. We are renting soon after owning for 7 years and I am a fabric addict. I will be reeling over this all night now. I'm probably going to dream about it.

Em said...

This is so cool! I want to do it in our apartment!!! Would scrapbook paper work in a similar way?

Emily said...

@Em: I'm not sure if scrapbook paper would work? It would probably be more likely to stain the wall, and would definitely be a lot harder to get off (I'm thinking it would rip and come off in tiny pieces). When I was in college dorm rooms, though, I put paper on the walls all the time--I just used sticky tack to get it to stay. I even did a whole wall in striped wrapping paper and held it up there with sticky tack. Since paper is so much lighter than fabric, you wouldn't really need the starch to get it to hold. Another crazy thing I did in dorm rooms was take huge lengths of butcher paper and use that as my backer wallcovering (held up with sticky tack) and then decoupaged tissue paper over the top of it. It's basically the same concept as the starch, but a lighter weight glue (just Elmer's and water) since the paper is lighter, and a backer to protect your walls from the paper. Hope these ideas help!

Emily said...

I've had several questions about the fabric with the words on it. I found it at IKEA--it's called BRITTEN NUMMER and is only $4.99/yard.

Here's the URL to it online:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80173365/

Hope this helps!

BeingBrandi said...

I absolutely LOVE the manhatten decorative art above the entertainment center on the last picture. Did you make that too or would you mind sharing where you got it if it was purchased? Thanks so much and I love love LOVE your wonderful idea!!! Look forward to trying it in my own apartment!!

Rebecca Hagen said...

Any thoughts on whether this technique could survive the steamy environment of a bathroom? We have an UGLY (overly and poorly distressed, complete with bright green paint splotches) bathroom door that we are not allowed to paint and after learning about your technique, I would love to cover both sides of the door with fabric. It has a frosted window so I'm thinking I would fabric over the whole thing and then trim out the window, etc. once everything was dry.

Ydnam96 said...

How much does the fabric shrink? Should you start in the middle of the wall and work out so that the edges of the fabric "hang over" the edges of the wall? If so, about 6 inches?

Paula -- CutieFruity said...

Have you prewashed your fabrics? Did it prevent shrinking?

Sneakycox said...

Worked out amazing! Looks wonderful in my kitchen... I've gotten lots of compliments! Very affordable alternative to painting, with a plus of design & uniqueness! So glad I stumbled upon this on Pinterest! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!

Emily said...

I've had several people ask about the Manhattan art over my entertainment center. It is from Pottery Barn, called "Planked Manhattan Sign". Here is the URL:

http://www.potterybarn.com/products/planked-wood-panels-manhattan-sign-wall-art/?pkey=e%7Cmanhattan%2Bpieced%2Bart%7C80%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules-_-

kasia87 said...

won't that collect dust like absolutely mad?

MrsCosentino said...

Hi I found you on Pinterest and ABSOLUTELY love this!! I was wondering one thing (and don't get me wrong, I didn't read every comment so I'm sorry if you have answered this before) but how many yards of fabric would you use... Like for a 14X16 wall? What about vaulted ceilings? Thanks for making me addicted to checking websites for the perfect fabric :)

Paula -- CutieFruity said...

It's simple middle school geometry. The formula for area is the width times the height. So 14x16=??? There are three feet in a yard and depending on the width of your fabric, 44 or 60 inches, you will get a different result. If you have a triangular vault on your cileing, do the square part of the wall, then the triangle on top of it. Use the frmula for area and divide by two. That will tell you the square footage of the wall.

Amber Horch said...

Yeah, what she said. :) Haha. Does that makes sense? Once you know the width of your fabric it might help to make a little sketch. I am a visual person, so sketches always work for me.

Judy Keith said...

I also would like to know if it would work in a bathroom with steam and all??? And what about in the kitchen behind the sink-with water splashes and all???

Lydia Sarge said...

Hi!
This is so beautiful! I am moving into a new apt. in January and the rule is no thumbtacks, nails, or paint on the walls so this seems like a good alternative! Would this method work on walls that are wallpapered, or would it destroy the wallpaper when we peel the fabric off later?
Thanks!! :)

eric phillips said...

Can you tell me where you got the mustard lamp? Thanks.

Kourtney Rhoads said...

My roomate and I are considering this for our dorm room. Any tips particular to that area? Thanks for the help :)

Naked said...

Just wondering, I saw you said one of your lighterweight walls had bubbling. Did you just have to work it more to get the bubbles out? I'm trying to find a heavier weight cheaper fabric for my walls, but I'm on a tight budget so I may have to do something lighter weight.

BostonGirl68 said...

I learned of this trick years ago...when my husband was still active duty. I used to use colored or patterned flat sheets or a wide strip of lace for a border. Using sheets meant I could wash the sheets and take them with me and hope they would work at our next base housing or rental. I never got as elaborate as you did, but I am wicked impressed at how beautiful it all came out. I've also lined the back of bookcases with fabric or painted foam board as well. Good luck to everyone trying this...it makes a world if difference when you can't paint!

Kirin said...

Hi Emily,

Do you know if this would work on a ceiling as well?

Laurén said...

Yes! can you tell us where the mustard lamp is from?? It's wonderful!

MJ said...

You could always use straight pins instead of thumb tacks. The holes aren't as big and they are surprisingly strong. I hang my pictures with straight pins when I move to a new place. I've never had one fall down!

Menina Rosa Store said...

Perfeitoooo!!! :D

Nancy said...

Hi,
I did this back in the '70's and loved it. I soaked my fabric in the starch first, then applied it to the wall. Yes, depending on the weight and width of the fabric this can be tricky, but I used a lightweight cotton, so it was just getting it spread on the wall that was time consuming. I even did the bathroom and the starch has an anti-mildew formula in it, so over three years it was never a problem (use the exhaust fan just to be sure). My problem was that the new rental tenants liked it so much they asked me to leave it up. Your work is so beautiful I can imagine that you will be asked the same thing.

Judy H said...

I really love this idea, but I'm skittish about using starch on the walls. I live in SE TX, and we have giant cockroaches that I cannot and will never get used to! Roaches are attracted to starch, so I'm afraid of using it all over a wall. I don't want the room to be a giant roach magnet!
Has anybody ever had a problem with this? I know other insects like to eat starch as well... Maybe there's something else I could use that wouldn't be a food source?
For the record, I don't hang food on our Christmas tree or do anything else that might attract them, either.

Andrea Lopez said...

I like this idea a lot, but can some answer if it can be done in cement walls... I live in Puerto Rico so all the walls are cement.

Georgina Turner said...

Ty so much. I always thought my place would look better w some color on the walls! This was the best idea ive pinned

Gernot Achleitner said...

Yes I want that yellow lamp shade, I am in Cape Town. Help

Heartless Kouture said...

How did you smooth out the bubbles in the word fabric? I love it so much I almost purchased it the other day for a just in case project lol. But now I would want to take the frustrating risk of lining up the words. So how did you smooth out those bubbles and line up the words???

Krystina Montemurro said...

Emily, I did this to my daughter's room about 15 years ago, not wanting to paint. we since moved on from the fabric and moved :) However, as a toddler I found it hard to keep her from pulling it off the wall from the bottom. I would like to do this again in my office and possibly in my toddler son's room. Do you have any recommendations on how to keep it attached to the wall and deter the child from pulling at it?

Thanks!!!!

Hawaiian Baby Girl said...

Hey there Emily,
You so Rock, I just love your ideas, Thanks for sharing.Will this method work on textured walls also?

Blindenaus said...

Thank you so very much. I'm renovating the home left by my Parents with the intentions of moving and renting after work is done. And I'm always torn between what to do for my style & taste while I'm here but temporary if Renters don't want it. This is a perfect solution for my office/guest bedroom

Sally Cope said...

If there is some shrinkage, how do you deal with the seams. Don't you end up with a gap between pieces??

Kallred said...

About how much starch would you say it took to cover all of the pink fabric in your little girls room? Was just one bottle of Sta-Flo enough?

danielle gallagher said...

Hi Emily, I love your tree design. I'm not as creative and would struggle to produce this from fabric but I've searched the internet and can't find a tree decal anywhere near as nice as yours. I was wondering if you still had your template and if you'd be willing to sell it on at all?

Emily said...

@Sally Cope: I always pin the fabric at the seams to the wall, so it can't move when it's drying. If you didn't do that, yes, you might have it shrink enough to make a gap, so I highly recommend tacking it down.

@Kallred: It definitely takes more than one bottle. I honestly can't remember how many bottles it took for the pink wall, but it seems every time I did a fabric project I was running back to the store to quickly grab some more starch. I would say like 3 or 4 bottles for a full wall, but it doesn't hurt to have extra on hand in case you run out!

@danielle gallagher: I'm sorry, but I don't have my tree template anymore. It probably wouldn't have been of much use anyway, since I ended up free-handing and altering the tree drastically once I started putting it on the wall.