Lars’ DIY Geometric 3D Wainscoting

The inspiration for my DIY wainscoting came from a picture that my friend, interior designer, Meta Coleman, saw of a door frame in Paris. You can see it in the collage below (bottom right). She presented the idea to me in her mood board below: and though I didn’t totally get it at first, I never saw no to Meta. I say yes and then I figure it out!

You can DIY wainscoting, too!

Look. I know that any time a room remodel starts means bringing out the power tools a lot of you probably sigh and put the project on the shelf. DIY wainscoting is pretty involved, and it can seem overwhelming! Fear not, though, because I’m here to show you that it’s actually totally doable.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.

The first step in our remodel was the flooring, which we got from Stuga Studios. I mention it here because it made a HUGE difference in our space, which was truly unfinished. Being able to walk through your house without shoes on makes a big, big difference!

Things got really exciting after the floor was installed and it was time to take care of the walls. I knew from Meta’s original design that I wanted the bottom half of the walls to be a light blue color to offset and cool down the red Josef Frank wallpaper that would cover the rest of the walls. So one night I just started painting!

Photo of an interior with wooden floors. The walls are mostly white, but there's some blue paint around the trim and the bottom half of the walls.

The circle/square pattern

One of the trickiest parts of my DIY wainscoting installation was mapping out exactly how tall I wanted the chair rail to be, how I would fit the wooden cutouts, and where I needed to cut some of them down to size. I taped up paper diamonds and circles to figure out the wainscoting height as well as distance between columns.

I highly recommend making paper mockups whenever you do a DIY like this, because they’re so easy to adjust and tweak. I tried a few variations: each column with the same pattern and then switched it around so every other one was the same. I tried an ABA pattern as well as an ABBA pattern and decided to go with every other row being the same and starting at a different point.

I also had to play around with how big each one would be and how many shapes I would need. All of them were made from maple plywood 1/4″ thick. The circle was 3.5″ in diameter, but the square had to be slightly smaller at 3″. I worked with Zach at Laser Lingo and he was wonderful. He even gave me a 20% discount for ordering so many. The circles were a ready made product he already had here. It came out to about $200 for the shapes.

How many do I need?

First, I had to figure out about how many columns I would have in the room. I spaced them out every 9″ and drew a line. I figured out how many squares/circles each column would have and multiplied that by the amount of columns and then added 10% more to make sure I had enough.

Figuring out the height

First, I placed the shapes at the bottom of the baseboards and realized that they would look better if they were cut in half at both the top and the bottom. Chair rails feel best when they are about 1/3 from the bottom so that’s what we were aiming for, but we also had to take into account where the shapes were going to end. We took into consideration the width of the chair rail too, so we stopped the pattern at around 32″ and then the chair rail took up another few inches leave it at around 34″ ish.

Paper mockup of DIY wainscoting on a white and blue wall.

Trim and finish painting

Once I decided on a height, it was time to install all the trim and finish painting. Don’t you love the feeling of a space progressing with every step? I remember walking into the bathroom once it was painted and breathing a sigh of relief. It was coming together!

Interior shot of a room with wooden floors and blue and white walls.Interior shot of a room with wooden floors and blue and white walls.

Prepping the squares and circles for paint

You will paint the squares and circles before applying them to the wall. My painter, who is the absolute best, took him the squares and circles, sanded them, sprayed them lightly from 4 different angles with an airless gun (you can rent them for cheap!) two different times. He placed them on plywood to spray them. He said it’s all about the prep! We had 280 pieces total so it was a bit of a process.

A hand reaches into frame from the left and holds up blue painted cutouts against a blue and white wall.

Applying the squares and circles to the wall

After painting and verifying my design, it was time to start the installation. We had a great team installing molding and trim to the exactly correct height. Then came the fun part: gluing up the wooden cutouts!

How to do a DIY geometric 3D wainscoting

Materials:

    • Standard construction adhesive (He used Liquid Nails)
    • pencil
    • ruler/measuring tape
    • circles and squares (I got mine custom sized from this Etsy seller)

Instructions:

  • Draw a straight line on the wall of where you will be installing the squares/circles. Make sure it’s level and perfectly straight.
  • Use standard construction adhesive (he used Liquid Nails) like 3-4 dabs per square/circle. You don’t need too much of it. The squares are easy to affix because we placed them on each points like a diamond so we could align them perfectly. The circles were eyeballed.
  • He used a saw to cut off the bottoms prior to painting so that the ends were nicely finished.

Interior shot of a bathroom with wooden floors and blue and white walls. There's blue-painted trim at waist-height around the room, and some boards and materials are cluttered in the corner and under a window.Two workmen glue up wooden cutouts as a custom DIY wainscoting.DIY custom wainscoting installed in a blue and white room.DIY custom wainscoting installed in a blue and white room.

Because I knew that I’d be installing wallpaper after we finished the DIY wainscoting, I didn’t worry about any paint that reached above the waist-level wainscoting. It all got covered up once we wallpapered!

Interior shot of a room with red floral wallpaper and blue custom wainscoting.

Why Custom Design

I know that some of you are wondering why I insisted on installing my own custom wainscoting design instead of using a pre-made one. It certainly would have been easier! But I love living in a space that I designed myself. There’s just something about seeing something develop from the very beginning and tweaking it along the way so that it’s just right. Having Meta’s help was also very encouraging, because she has such a talent for making a space really reflects its occupant. I knew that with her help, we could make my custom DIY wainscoting dreams a reality.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.Interior shot of a custom painted cupboard and blue DIY wainscoting in a red floral bathroom.Horizontal interior shot of a bathroom with red floral wallpaper, a green vanity with brass knobs, and blue diy wainscoting.

More Bathroom Remodel Inspo

Remodeling the bathroom took a lot of time and turned out to be a lot of steps. You can read more about everything that came together for our remodel here, so even if you aren’t ready to install DIY wainscoting there’s lots of bathroom inspo for you on the blog!

My Bathroom Remodel Reveal

The road to our bathroom remodel was long and winding, and part of that is because Paul and I have such different sensibilities when it comes to style and design! If he had his way, we’d live in a sleek warehouse with Brutalistic concrete floors. Ha! So you can imagine that we had lots of negotiations and conversations during our ideation faze, which ultimately led to “do whatever you want”. I will, thank you very much 😉

the top of a painted armoire against a red floral wallpaper background. On top of the armoire is a sculptural duck, a candle and candlestick, a paper money plant, and some cute odds and ends.

I get by with a lot of help from my friend, Meta Coleman

Interior shot of a colorful, eclectic dining room with red chairs, wallpaper and blue wainscoting, a green cabinet, and plants.
Hannah Carpenter home by Meta Coleman

I would be sadly remiss if I didn’t start out by singing the praises of my friend and designer, Meta Coleman. Meta is a rockstar designer who’s work is like actual magic. I’m convinced that she knows everything there is to know about interior design because she eats, drinks, and breathes it, and I’m the luckiest to be able to work with her and be her friend. Having Meta at the helm of this bathroom remodel made everything possible. Read more about Meta being my dream designer!

Meta’s process begins with really getting to know the people who live in the space she’s designing, which is part of what makes her work so immaculate. You can see this part of Meta’s designing process through this video of Paul and me talking about our history and design preferences. I really respect how thorough of a designer Meta is, because even though she already knew me and knew my style, she checked in to get really clear on my vision.

Four children lounging and laughing on a green bed with a striped quilt. One is holding a dog and there's a window behind them.
Hannah Carpenter home by Meta Coleman

Then, with my style clearly in mind, Meta brought in so much magic! I was astounded by the way that she totally understood my taste, then surprised and stretched me through her design. All I can say is that I’m super lucky to be close friends with such an amazing interior designer! I highly recommend it.

It’s also thanks to Meta’s incredible interior design that our bathroom was featured in Domino Magazine, which is such a fun honor. Get to know Meta a little bit better through her Becoming interview, check out her website, and definitely follow her on Instagram @MetaColeman_ to keep up with her work.

Our Big Bathroom Remodel

Like I mentioned, our bathroom started out rough. It was a total bare-bones cavern! I mean, look at this:

a blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to a dark, grey space in the imagea blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to another unfinished space in the image. One of the walls has mysterious plumbing coming out of it.a blank, unfinished room with sheetrock walls and a dusty subfloor. There's a doorway that leads to another unfinished space in the image. One of the walls has mysterious plumbing coming out of it.

Depressing, right?

With Meta’s help, we came up with a mood board that both Paul and I loved. As you’ll see, the final design departed just a bit from the mood board while still very much holding on to the essential spirit of Meta’s original design.

moodboard mock up of the bathroom, including red floral wallpaper, a green vanity, our towels and paint colors, and lighting.

I’m a big believer in starting out with a great mood board. It makes everything so much easier and provides an invaluable frame of reference for later, when you’re in the middle of building your design and feel stuck. Check out this tutorial on making mood boards!

Stuga Studio

The very first step was to install flooring, and we fell in love with this amazing wood floor from Stuga Studio. The color we chose is called Tivoli, and it’s perfect–warm but not too yellow. It’s such lovely, high-quality wood, and it has so much personality. We installed it throughout pretty much the whole house, and instantly felt so relieved about our plans to totally update a blank slate fixer-upper. Check out this post to read more about the flooring.

Vertical image of the bathroom. There's warm wooden flooring being laid over light blue plastic sheeting.process photos of Stuga flooring installation

Signature Hardware

Early on in the design process, I got this gorgeous vanity from Signature Hardware. I knew that I wanted an accent piece of furniture, but I didn’t have an overarching design planned out yet, so it was a tricky choice. Still, I had a deadline, so I went for a strong color that also serves as a neutral–the Olsen vanity in a deep emerald green. The green vanity informed lots of the remaining design choices for the bathroom remodel.

I’m so glad I went with the green! I’m a strong believer that green can count as a neutral color in design, and this bathroom is a strong example of that: it grounds the rest of the colors, which is what neutrals do best.

As you can see, I put the vanity to use long before things were finished or ready. Just keeping it real!

Emerald green vanity with clutter around and on it. The walls are mostly painted white, but are very unfinished.

Closeup shot of an emerald green vanity.

I also got a beautiful wooden hutch from Signature Hardware. It had an unfinished surface, so I wanted to do something to customize it and came up with a Swedish Wedding Cabinet as inspiration.

Antique swedish wedding cabinet

So beautiful, right?? I love the intricate floral designs and I think that cabinets make such perfect heirlooms (sturdy and useful? Check and check), so I decided to paint my wooden hutch with flowers. Stay tuned to learn more about that process in a future post!

A painted cupboard. It is burgundy with green, mustard, and white accents.

Signature Hardware also has beautiful towel racks and wall hooks, which are so important for a bathroom remodel. I installed the Vintage Towel Bar and the Vintage Towel Ring in brushed gold, and they land at the perfect intersection between simple and refined.

A yellow striped towel hanging on a brass towel rack.A yellow striped hand towel hangs on a brass ring on the wall. The out-of-focus silhouette of flowers in a vase shades some of the image.Close up of a brass towel ring. A yellow and white striped hand towel hangs from it, and there's red floral wallpaper in the back.

To complete the set, I also got the Vintage Robe Hooks in brushed gold.

A pink and blue batik-patterned bathrobe hanging on a brushed gold hook in a bathroom. You can see a doorway and a red, floral bathroom on the side of the image.

For the faucets I used New York Widespread faucets in polished brass from Signature Hardware. I’m a big fan of ceramic knobs, so I switched those in for the brass knobs to feel super classic.

gold faucet on a marble countertop. The handles are ceramic.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.

The Walls

Apart from all the technical things (like flooring, plumbing, and electricity), the custom DIY wainscoting was a big part of the remodel. Meta presented the concept to me after seeing a photo of it on a door frame in Paris. She directed me to how to make it happen and then I was off to figure it out. I bought square and circular wooden cutouts, painted them in a soft, light, blue, and attached them to wall’s bottom third. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, the workmen we hired to paint and install trim didn’t think so. Haha! You should have seen their faces when I explained my plan! Thankfully they warmed up to the idea.

The wallpaper came next, and at that point things started getting really exciting. It turns out that having finished walls makes a huge difference! Ha! At this point we started shooting some projects in the bathroom. Some of our eagle-eyed readers may have caught onto a few bathroom remodel teasers in the backgrounds of some past projects. For example, you can see some wallpaper and wainscoting behind these paper pansies.

Paper pansies on a windowsill. There's a white lacy curtain next to them, and red floral wallpaper on the other.Paper pansies in a distressed terracotta planter. They're placed on a stack of colorful books on a chair. In the background, you can see some red floral wallpaper and blue wainscoting.

I also couldn’t resist shooting these paper hollyhocks between the sinks, so you can see the countertop, wallpaper, and some of the mirrors in this picture.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

Hudson Valley Lighting

Meta selected these light fixtures from Hudson Valley Lighting and I loved the classic feel. For the wall sconces she picked out the Beekman lamps in aged brass, and on the ceiling I got the Flare flush mount light fixture in aged brass. The shower and toilet are in their own separate little space, but I got the Ainsley flush mount in aged brass for that room. The art deco details around the edges elevate it without being too gaudy.

close up of beekman light fixtures.beekman light fixtures above a two-toned mirror.beekman light fixtures against floral red wallpaper.Interior shot of a bathroom. There's red floral wallpaper and framed art prints on the walls, blue textured wainscoting and trim, wooden floors, yellow window treatments, and eclectic styling.Ainsley flush mount light on the ceiling.

Adding Finishing Touches

After we got all the main pieces installed, it was time to style the bathroom. Meta Coleman came back to lend a hand, and I truly love the way she put my bathroom together.

The mirrors are custom made by Meta, and I love the way the two-tone glass reflects such warm, glowing light around the room. She used this two toned mirror technique on her own bathroom and generously gave me the remains. We tried a few different shapes included a wavy design and a flower, but ultimately, I wanted to keep it a simple oval.

Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.

Meta also custom made my curtains using Soane fabric. I love the mustard color, and the fabric’s pattern reminds me so much of Matisse’s paper cutouts.

Meta installs the curtains over the window. Meta's silhouette is outlined against a glowing yellow and white curtain.

Our Full Bathroom Remodel Reveal

Whew! So many things came together for this bathroom remodel, and it was seriously so much work. I’m so grateful for Meta’s help all along the way! I truly couldn’t have done it without her.

Shot of a green bench in a red wallpapered bathroom. There's also a blue wainscoting at the bottom and a green painting on the wall.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop,and brass knobs and fixtures.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and a blue custom wainscoting.A brass faucet with white ceramic knobs on a white marble countertop. The wallpaper behind it is red and floral.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, brass knobs and fixtures, and brown wicker baskets under the vanity.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.Brushed brass faucets on a marble countertop with a periwinkle vase of flowers. There's red floral wallpaper in the background.A yellow striped hand towel hangs on a brass ring on the wall. The out-of-focus silhouette of flowers in a vase shades some of the image.Interior shot of a bathroom with a dark emerald green vanity and red floral wallpaper. There are flowers on the vanity countertop, along with beautifully curated knick knacks.

I have a closet attached to my bathroom, and I updated that, too! I’ve included a few sneak peeks in this post, but you can stay tuned to see more of it soon. 😉

Interior shot of the red wallpapered bathroom from inside a pink and green painted closet.

More Remodel Inspiration

For an overview on our renovations so far, read about everything we did to our house in the first year of owning it. You can also check out our tiled bathroom progress and our kitchen remodel update.

Would love to hear what you think! Let me know in the comments!

DIY Paper Hollyhocks

These DIY paper hollyhocks are part of my ongoing home upgrade. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I’ve been doing a lot of renovations since I bought my house last June. Lately I’ve been working on finishing my upstairs bathroom, and let me tell you–nothing motivates you to work on a big project like having to use an unfinished bathroom! 😬

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

My bathroom vanity has two sinks with a mirror above each one, so I wanted to make something beautiful to go between them. Earlier this year we made some paper pansies for the bathroom and I love them so much that I wanted to do another flower. I decided on a few stalks of DIY paper hollyhocks, and I’m so glad I did because these have IMPACT. The individual flowers are really simple, but when you put the whole stalk together they’re absolutely show-stopping. I keep thinking how pretty they would be as bridal flowers!

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

Follow along for the full tutorial!

Make your own DIY paper hollyhocks

Materials

You’ll need our paper hollyhock template, crepe paper in a variety of colors (I used dark purple, indigo, peach, magenta, light yellow, dark yellow, and a few colors of green), hot glue, a glue gun, floral wire, 14 gauge wire, wire cutters, floral tape, scissors, and a paintbrush

Instructions

Prepare your materials
step photos of preparing materials for hollyhocksfor
  1. Download and print our DIY paper hollyhock template (which you can find here in our shop!)
  2. Decide what colors of flowers you want. I made blooms in three different colors, and each color used a main color and a darker stain color.
  3. Cut your main hollyhock paper into 3 strips that are 5 inches wide and about 20 inches long. Cut your stain paper into 3 strips about 2.5 inches wide and 20 inches long. Make sure the grain of both of these strips is such that it stretches horizontally.
Prepare your paper
  1. The next steps will stain your table and fingers, so put down a piece of thick butcher paper or cardboard if you’re working on a precious surface and consider wearing gloves!
  2. Tape the ends of the main petal paper down so that it lies flat on a table. Tape the darker stain paper over the main color of paper so that it runs along the center of the wider purple strip.
  3. Dip a paintbrush in water and wet the stain paper only. Then, press it down onto the main petal paper. This will transfer some of the dark dye onto the main crepe paper.
  4. Repeat this with your other strips of paper.
Prepare the pieces
  1. While your petal paper (say that five times fast!) is drying, cut the rest of your template pieces out. You’ll cut the inner petals out of dark yellow paper, a stigma out of light yellow paper, and leaves out of green paper. Each flower will have 5 petals, 5 inner petals, and one under-petal leaf piece.
  2. You can also cut out purple rectangles of various sizes (the buds) and the bud leaves in green.
  3. Once your petal paper is all dry, you can cut those petals out. Arrange them so that the dyed portions are at the narrow base of the petal.
  4. Make a thick stem. Cut three pieces of 14 gauge wire to varying lengths. The longest should be a little shorter than you want your flower stalk, the middle one should be about 2/3 that length, and the shortest should be about 1/3 the length of the first.
  5. Hold the three wires together so that they all overlap at the bottom.
  6. Starting at the bottom where they all overlap, wrap the wires with floral tape. Wrap all the way to the end of the longest wire, forming a long, stiff stem that narrows toward the top.
Make the DIY paper hollyhock pieces
Flowers

Step by step photos of making a paper hollyhock

  1. Start with the flower’s stigma by crumpling up a small ball of crepe paper from your scraps. Glue this to the tip of your regular weight floral wire.
  2. Put a dab of glue on the center of the cut out stigma square and put this on the crumpled paper. Fold down the ends so that it covers the crumpled paper, then secure with more hot glue.
  3. Glue each yellow inner petal to the base of a purple petal. 
  4. Make a line of glue on the side/bottom of a petal next to the yellow inner petal. Glue then next petal to that first petal. Repeat for all 5 petals.
  5. Attach your line of petals to the flower center so that they wrap evenly around, and secure with glue. 
  6. Put a dot of glue halfway up the edge of each petal and attach it to the one next to it.
  7. Stretch the green under-flower leaf piece and glue it to the base of the flower.
  8. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around your DIY paper hollyhock’s stem for 3-5 inches, securing with glue as you go.
  9. Repeat steps 1-6 until you have your desired amount of hollyhock blooms. I think that 5-9 blooms per stalk looks lush and lifelike.
Buds

step by step photos of making flower buds

  1. To make the buds, cut rectangles of purple crepe paper and fold the top corners in, then fold the top down repeatedly. Roll up the paper, then glue it to form a rounded bud shape.
  2. Stretch the bud leaves, then glue and wrap them around the bud along with a 5 inch piece of floral wire. Let some of the buds show more purple inside, while some should be mostly or all covered with green bud leaves.
  3. Glue a small leaf to the wrapped bud.
  4. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around the bud stem, securing with glue as you go.
Leaves

step by step photos showing how to make hollyhock leaves

  1. To make the leaves, use the template to cut the 6 leaf pieces out of green crepe paper. Make sure that you’re cutting the pieces with the grain, as shown on the template.
  2. With a thin line of hot glue, attach the leaf pieces together. The leaf is an organic star-like shape, but if you didn’t cut with the grain of the crepe paper it won’t stretch right. 
  3. Stretch the paper slightly to ruffle the edges and give the leaf dimension.
  4. Glue a piece of floral wire along one of the seams in the leaf.
  5. Stretch a thin stem strip of green crepe paper and wrap it around the base of the leaf and the wire stem for 6-7 inches, securing with glue as you go. 
Assemble your hollyhocks!

step by step photos showing how to assemble hollyhocks

  1. Now you have a lot of hollyhock elements on pieces of wire. We’re going to put them all together, starting at the top of the stalk.
  2. Glue a bud to the stem of another bud, then wrap the glued stems together with a stretched crepe paper strip, gluing as you go.
  3. Add more buds, gluing and wrapping with crepe paper. As you add elements, the stalk will get thicker and stronger, just like a real flower!
  4. After you’ve added and wrapped all the buds, it’s time to attach the thick stem. Glue the wrapped buds and wires to the top of the thick wire stem, then wrap with crepe paper. Keep securing the crepe paper strips with glue as you continue this.
  5. It’s time to start adding your fully bloomed flowers! Glue a flower’s stem and a leaf to the stalk, then wrap with a crepe paper strip.
  6. Continue adding flowers and leaves to the stalk as you work your way down. You want to space them out with a few inches between each one.
  7. If you have extra leaves after you add all your flowers, add them to the bottom of the stalk. Wrap them with a crepe paper strip, just like you did for the prior leaves. You should leave about five inches of stem without flowers and leaves at the bottom of your stalk.
  8. After you finish adding all your flowers and leaves, continue wrapping a crepe paper strip all the way to the bottom of the stalk. Secure with glue, then cut the strip.
  9. Voilà! You have a gorgeous stalk of hollyhocks! Make a few stalks in various colors, then arrange them however you like for your own indoor cottage garden.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

More paper flower inspo

If you loved this tutorial for DIY paper hollyhocks, then you’ll love our other paper flower projects! Check out our DIY paper peony, DIY paper foxglove, and this roundup of all our favorite paper flower projects. And if you agree with me that these paper hollyhocks would be beautiful as bridal flowers but aren’t sold on paper over real, then check out these lovely paper bouquets inspired by the royal wedding, white peonies, Cinco de Mayo, and spring color.

paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.paper hollyhocks on a bathroom counter among ceramic odds and ends with a mirror and red floral wallpaper in the background.

How to Hang Prints

How to Hang Prints

Well, now I’m getting into a deeper conversation about what art is, and while I could easily write a 1,000 word blog post on that topic, today I just want to talk about what to do with your art once you’ve found the ultimate piece. Our post today is all about how to hang prints like the ones you can find in our shop!

To Frame or Not to Frame?

So, it finally happened—you locked eyes with that perfect print, whether in a gallery, online, or in a thrift store, and now you need a frame for it! Or do you? 

Well, first you need to consider the size of the print (or prints). If you thrifted your art, you may want a different frame, or maybe you hit the thrifting jackpot and it came with a beautiful frame, matting, and it fits your style. However, for most of us, half the fun is deciding on a frame that doesn’t just act as a “place” for your art to live, but it complements the piece, too.

Frames aren’t always necessary. In fact, you can “frame” your art using other more budget-friendly, DIY methods, and you know how much we love a good DIY!

Framing Large Art Pieces

Large-scale wall art is on trend, and it’s not hard to see why! A poster-size print above the bed or fireplace mantle anchors the room. In fact, if you’re trying to design the rest of your space, start with a large print! You can gather inspiration from a dynamic piece of art hanging on the wall.

A colorful lamp in a room with wildflower wallpaper and a LACMA exhibition poster

We tend to think that large art needs a frame. Luckily, you don’t have to splurge on a really expensive frame to match the size of your print. We like using the large RIBBA frame from IKEA, with or without the matting. You might even like removing the plastic to prevent a glare, but if the lighting of your room doesn’t affect the glare too much, leave the plastic on to protect the print.

If you looking to print some large art for a crazy price, we recommend engineer prints from Staples. They’re typically no more than $10 (yep, that cheap).

Other Framing Ideas

Need a beautiful frame, but don’t want to spend too much money? Try replacing the cheap art you find at Target or Home Goods with your own prints. They already come with a nice frame (most of the time) and a mat.

Are you trying to put together a gallery wall? Though it may seem like some of the best-looking gallery walls were simply “thrown together,” it actually takes a bit of extra time to create a balanced look. Use a mixture of sizes, and don’t feel limited to hanging prints. Try hanging other art pieces or sentimental items on the wall to add texture, such as fiber art or a small shelf for displaying treasures.

How to create a gallery wall to go with your TVGallery wall above a brown dresser with a cute white dog in front.a gallery wall with images of birds over a bed with a fiddle leaf fig and a lamp in the bottom left corner

How to Hang Prints Without a Nail

One of the best and most cost-effective methods to hang your prints is using Washi tape! We like this method for a more casual look, like on the moodboard above your desk or in your child’s room.

How to make a mood board with Mae Mae Co on The House That Lars Built

Is your art collection bursting at the seams? Try a floating shelf on the wall to lean your art against! Maybe you have a bare mantle in your front room begging for something else to sit on it besides your WiFi router…instead of getting out your hammer, nails, stud finder, and level, just lean the thing! Nothing could be easier.

Day of the Dead OfrendaDay of the Dead OfrendaFlower art prints by Adriana Picker

Feeling inspired? Don’t forget to check our print shop for some beautiful and affordable art! 

How to Style Indoor Plants

How to style indoor plants

A lot of people want to transform their spaces into dreamy urban jungles, but don’t know how to style indoor plants. This can mean that their green spaces turn grey, end up looking cluttered, or gathering dust.

chinese money plant made from paper

Knowing how to style indoor plants can make a huge difference and give your plants all the impact they deserve. Here are my best plant styling tips!

Gauge your own commitment

Look. Your plant dreams won’t come true if you don’t choose plants that you can keep alive. Maybe you’re a big fan of ferns, but you live in a dry climate and don’t have it in you to water and spray a plant every day. 🙋🏼‍♀️ I know it hurts, but you might need to hold off on living with some higher-demand plants until you’re a more experienced plant parent. Know yourself and get plants that you can keep alive, because no matter how well-styled your plant kingdom is, it won’t look good if it’s dead.

Here are some of my favorite plants, and you can check out their care requirements to make sure that you’re signing up for something you can handle.

Light

Make sure that your plants have the correct amount of light for the species. Some thrive in the shade, some need bright light, and many plants do their best somewhere in between. You need to consider your space and the light before you even buy plants if you want a healthy indoor plantscape.

And of course, paper plants won’t die no matter what light you put them in, but remember that they might fade in bright light.

pre-potted plants Tranquility

Temperature

Unfortunately, lots of plant parents fail to consider a space’s temperature and are confounded when their plants keep dying. If you live somewhere with cold winters, avoid putting sensitive plants near drafty areas like doors or right by a window, especially when temperatures drop. And if your living space tends to be really hot and sunny, make sure that you don’t have sensitive, cool-loving plants in places where they’ll scorch and die. Again, if you’re working with paper plants, this isn’t an issue.

Paper heartleaf philodendron in bright green in a checkered pot on a wooden table

Water/Humidity

Some plants, like ferns and other tropicals, need more water and humidity than others (like succulents and cacti). If you have a plant that needs to be cared for and watered often, put it somewhere easily accessible so that watering doesn’t become a hassle.

If your bathroom has enough light, consider styling it with some humidity-loving plants. All the steam from your showers will make them thrive.

a variety of potted houseplants

Scale

When you’re designing your planty spaces, you don’t want to just have a lot of little plants scattered around. Choose one or two larger plants (indoor trees are great here!) and make these a focal point.

While big houseplants can be expensive, you can try making your own with paper (we have some great tutorials on the blog!) or check out our next tip for height help.

outdoor potted plants

Height

In an arrangement of plants, you want the tallest ones to be at the back. Think of them like a choir, with the tallest singers standing at the back. You can also give some plants a boost to add more height and give the illusion of larger plants. Try using shelves, bricks, blocks, an overturned flower pot, stacks of decorative books, and more to add some height to your plantscape.

planter garden with a sculptural head planter

Color

Indoor plants come in all kids of colors, not just green! Consider the colors and lighting in your space before you buy or make plants. If you plan it right, you can get beautiful, dramatic, intentional looks by curating your plant colors. Imagine a room with all deep purple foliage! So regal, right??

Paper Poinsettia Flower

Paper Plants

Like I’ve mentioned, I love paper plants for their ease and also because they’re a super fun craft! You can check out this paper plant video, these favorite tutorials, and these templates and ebooks from our shop. And don’t forget the flowers!

DIY Paper Japanese maple tree

Paper pansies on a windowsill. There's a white lacy curtain next to them, and red floral wallpaper on the other.

Once you’ve become a full-fledged plant parent, you might want to treat yourself with this Plant Lady print by Libby VanderPloeg from our shop.

What are your favorite plant tips? Let me know!

Nativity Craft Along

Christmas is a perfect time to join up with our community and do something fun together, so we dreamed up a craft along. After all, there’s no better time to get out your glue and paints than during the holidays! And what’s more classic and meaningful than a handmade gift? I definitely don’t know of anything.

Well, as the Lars team continued scheming and dreaming, our craft along plans got better and better, and now we’re SO EXCITED to make this Mid-Century Heirloom nativity craft along with you!

unpainted wooden angel figure from a midcentury nativity against a pink and red background

We’ve teamed up with a few celebrities and crafting heroes, and to be quite honest, I’m already starstruck. Like, let’s just say that I’m going to meet my childhood hero and that we’ll be wearing pink on Wednesdays from here on out. We’ll be releasing our star crafters through our mailing list (sign up here!), but I’d also love to hear your guesses in the comments. 😉

You’ll also be able to meet our star crafters through weekly Instagram Live events, where we’ll be working on a character from the nativity every week.

Heirloom Nativity

So what’s a craft along?

A craft along is a way of building community with your fellow crafters while all working on the same (or a similar) project. Our nativity craft along is a perfect opportunity to get ready for Christmas (because we all know that it sneaks up on us every year) and get to know your Lars community a bit better. We’ll all be making a midcentury heirloom nativity together, and it’s going to be so lovely! Even though summer’s still on its way out, we wanted to jump into our handmade holiday plans early because this is a project that you’ll want to begin waay in advance. Get a head start on your handmade holidays and join in the fun with this nativity craft along!

Crafting with a cause

As I’ve mentioned in these two essays, I recently partnered with Nest and I’m now part of their advisory board. I really believe in Nest’s mission to support woman makers in the global economy, and I’m so grateful to be part of their amazing work. We’ve set the very exciting goal to raise $50,000 for Nest through this nativity craft along, and we’re doing it in three ways:

  1. Ebook sales: for each ebook sold, we’re donating $5 (with an option for you to donate even more at checkout).
  2. Donations: we’ll collect donations during Instagram Live events with our famous crafters (think a 21st century twist on a classic fundraising telethon). During these Instagram Live events you’ll get to know some of your favorite crafty celebrities a bit better, and you can work on your heirloom nativity alongside them and me! Doesn’t that sound dreamy? You can donate to Nest over here!
  3. Auction: After all these Instagram Live crafting sessions we’ll auction off our two completed midcentury nativities! There will be one made by me and one made by our favorite crafting celebs, and all the money we raise by auctioning them will go to Nest.  So even if you’re not a big fan of crafting, you can get your own gorgeous heirloom midcentury nativity (and it just might come with some star power).

Heirloom Nativity

However you do it, your participation in this nativity craft along will help us reach our fundraising goal and help Nest support woman artisans all over the world.

Make Your Own Heirloom Nativity!

Years ago when we first released our Midcentury Nativity project, we used a combination of vintage, found, and purchased wooden pieces. While I love the way our old set looks, it’s impossible to replicate exactly. That can be so frustrating! So this year we’ve worked hard to come up with an excellent set of wooden pieces that you can buy to make your nativity match with ours. If you buy these materials, your pieces will also align just right with the templates we made in our ebook! Convenience and unity for the win!

unpainted wooden finials and candlesticks in the form of wooden nativity characters

You can find all the materials we used over in the e-book including the specific wood pieces for the right combinations.

Here are the colors we are using for the set:

unpainted wooden wise man figurine from a nativity set against a pink and red striped background

To get templates and tips you can download our ebook!

Follow Along

The best way to stay on top of all our craft along content by following us on Instagram and subscribing to the newsletter. Now enter the giveaway, order your materials, and let’s get crafting!

baby Jesus unpainted wooden figure on a pink and red striped background

Looking for more nativity projects? If you love this, you’ll also love our DIY nativity puppets, this clothespin nativity, and this nesting doll DIY.

A Lars Girl’s Back to School Guide

I put together a back to school themed roundup of my favorite school supplies and dorm essentials, so if I can’t start a new semester in a few weeks at least I can shop as if I were!

Colorblocked lunch sacks and beeswax snack wraps surrounded by play fruit and blackberries.

Lars-Approved School Supplies

If you look at them the right way, school supplies are the educational version of craft supplies. At least I get excited about them as if they were. Here are my current favorites!

I also put together a list of my current favorite laptop covers and stickers, which you can see here. Another great addition to your back to school supply list is this DIY beeswax wrap and this reusable lunch sack.

My friend Michele Brummer Everett designed these back to school stickers, and they’d be the perfect addition to your water bottle, notebook, or laptop.

back to school stickers on notebooks

Dorm Room Design

In the college town where I live, the end of August means lots of new students being dropped off at dorms for their first-ever foray into living outside their parents’ house. That means that there are LOTS of fresh-faced students moving into drab, depressing dorm rooms and shabby apartments. Check out this post full of rental-friendly interior design hacks to level up your space. And here are my favorite additions to any student housing situation:

If you’re looking for more dorm inspiration, check it out here and here.

Any time you buy something from our affiliate links, we get a small commission at no cost to you! Hooray!

Where to Hang Art – 4 Tips to Find the Perfect Spot(s)

The Secret to Hanging Art

…is that there really isn’t much of a secret. If it’s in your home and it’s art that you like, you’ll be happier looking at the art on your wall than wondering where to hang art. Yes, really.

a chaunte vaughn photo hanging against a textured green wall above a lamp by a headboard.

Make a decision

Yes, it’s that simple. Just pick one piece (it doesn’t even have to be that good). Base the rest of your pieces from there! Loosely coordinate colors or subjects, or put everything in matching frames. Scratch that – if you don’t want anything to match, let your taste be the unifying factor. Once you’ve decide where to hang your art, it will come together. If that lack of directions drives you crazy, pick a theme like plants, photography, animals, abstraction, portraits, watercolors, you name it. 

Interior shot of a green nursery. In the foreground is a white rocking chair with a few toys on it. In the background is a wooden dresser.on it and in the background is a wooden dresser.

Build Your Collection

Consider this section the inside scoop – if I could select art for your home, these are some pieces I would choose. Abby Low’s pieces offer a shot of color and geometric print and are a great place to start. Flowers are beautiful, and I can never get enough of them! I love Adriana Picker’s work. Also Picker is just the perfect name for someone who paints flowers. Consider the location of your art – these food prints by the amazing Amanda Jane Jones would be so cute over a dining table. Looking for something a little more high-brow? This cubist-style piece is a fave of mine! Photography is oh-so chic, and Chaunté Vaughn’s compositions are drool-worthy. A little bit of cheer is always welcome, and I found just that in Erin Jang’s print!

Put it somewhere fun!

Deciding where to hang art is the last step. And the fun part! I rarely see a piece of art and think it doesn’t belong where it’s at. That’s the fun part about art – it makes wherever it is placed more lovely! Growing up, my dad decided he wanted control over where the art would be placed and guess where he put it. The bathroom. All of his favorite pieces of art, including the pre-k finger paintings went in the hall ball. His rationale went like this: “Where in the house has the highest foot traffic? Where are guests most likely to see?” Though it might seem like a strange place to put your most treasured works, it kinda makes sense. 

Openness is Essential To Creativity print by Lisa Congdon among plants and booksIris Apfel print by Rosie Harbottle against a sage wall surrounded by stationary and paper plants.

Get Creative

One trend that I’ve noticed lately and loved is art just… leaned up against a wall. This is an awesome example because it shows the organization well enough to replicate it. This is another example of art leaned gracefully, nay, artfully, against a wall. I love the way this particular arranging method works with transparency. 

a photo by chaunte vaughn in a bookshelf surrounded by colorful books.

Bookcases are another clever place I love to put art in! Let’s be honest, books are art. Add to the look with a framed piece like this or like this. Perhaps you have a lot of art to show off, and it just won’t fit in a bathroom, bookshelf, or propped up somewhere. The gallery wall is the perfect way to showcase your pieces! My friend Meta Coleman wrote a piece for us a while back on how to style the perfect gallery wall, or salon wall as they used to be called. It is a gamechanger!!

Four illustrations from fairytales hung above a child's kitchen toy set.

So no more head scratching over where to hang art! There’s no need to hire a pro when you can learn do-it-yourself online. 

You can find all the art pictured in this post and much more in our shop! Check it out, and maybe you’ll find a new favorite artist.

I’d love to see how you hang art in your space. Tag us with #LarsAtHome to share. 

7 Rental-Friendly Interior Design Hacks

Rental friendly interior design is important to me because I’m a huge believer in the power of interior design to make you happy. Too often we think that unless we own a home we can’t personalize our space, and I think that’s tragic. Everyone deserves to feel at home, so making a house a home in a rental feels much bigger than a simple penchant for style.

7 Rental Friendly Interior Design Hacks

Living Room Reveal with wildflower wallpaperRemovable Wallpaper

This is definitely not the easiest rental friendly interior design hack, so let’s get it out of the way first. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my love for wallpaper. There’s this archaic idea that wallpaper is a nightmare to deinstall, involving lots of steaming, stickiness, and scraping. Yuck. That used to be true, but now there are so many rental friendly wallpapers, so you can peel and stick to your heart’s content!

I’ve loved using Spoonflower wallpaper in my homes and offices, and you can find my favorite Spoonflower artists and designs here!

In my last apartment I really let my imagination run wild with wallpaper, and I loved how fresh and unique it made the space. Here are my tips and tricks for installing Spoonflower wallpaper (which I love!)

Brittany works on installing blue and white striped wallpaper with text that reads "how to install wallpaper yourself"Interior shot of a bedroom with blue and white striped wallpaper. There's a yellow headboard, green floral bedding, paper staghorn ferns, and wicker lamps.Brittany sits on bed in a room with pine-themed wallpaper. She's wearing a pink dress and holding a dark blue and green pillow, the bed is warm wood with a mustard duvet, and there's a wicker lamp in the corner. There's also a blue art print on the wall.

If you’re still looking for just the right wallpaper, check out this post I wrote about my other favorite places to buy it.

Upgrade Your Lighting

I can’t say enough how important good lighting is! Of course, lots of natural light is best, but it’s not always available. Don’t worry, though! There’s hope for you and it’s in the form of lamps!

A colorful lamp in a room with wildflower wallpaper and a LACMA exhibition posterJust like when I was in college, I still love adding light with lamps. You can always go to thrift stores and upgrade them with paint or new shades (or even make your own shades). I also put together some of my favorite lampshades on the market right now, so browse these!

On top of lamps, you can say “Let there be light” by upgrading your light fixtures. It might seem daunting, but it’s not too tricky and makes a huge difference. So many rentals are chock full of boob lights, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t want reminders to #FreeTheNip every time I look up. 🤷🏼‍♀️ If you’re with me on this, consider this your permission to change out your light fixtures and get a new lease on life.

Check out this DIY light fixture you can make to add whimsy and color to your space.

DIY lampshade in bright colors and funky shapes

Find a Statement Piece

Furnishing your rental with statement furniture can really elevate the space. Once you’ve found a piece that you love, plan the colors and design around it for a cohesive, beautiful look. (For bonus points, spot the light fixture I upgraded this room with)

Brittany adjusts pillows on a beautiful green sofa in a light-filled room

Couches, and rugsare my favorite kinds of statement furniture to base a room off. A few years ago I got a life-changing green sofa and I’ll never stop recommending that people add emphasis with colorful furniture.

Couches

Rugs

Plan a Color Story For Each Space

One of my favorite rental friendly interior design hacks is to make and stick to a color palette. Especially when it’s a space that you don’t own and you can’t control everything about, it’s easy for a space to look makeshift and haphazardly thrown together. With a color palette, though, you can go from scattered and “meh” to really fabulous. It takes some creativity and restraint, but it makes a huge difference.

a room with pine-themed wallpaper. There are pillows in dark blue, pink, green, and black, the bed is warm wood with a mustard duvet, and there's a wicker lamp in the corner. There's also a blue art print on the wall.

You can see I designed this room with a yellow, forest green, and deep blue color palette, and that there are little accents of pink throughout. Especially because the wallpaper is busy, having a solid (no pun intended) color palette really makes the room work.

Plants, Plants, Plants!

Houseplants and fresh flowers are a renter’s best friends. They bring (literal) life into your space and also freshen your air. Just remember to water and fertilize them and give them the right amount of light!

Here are some houseplants that you can buy online!

Mirror, Mirror

I’m such a huge believer in mirrors that I even wrote a whole post about why they’re essential in decor. And I’m sticking to my guns here! They make a space feel bigger and lighter, act as a focal point, and they’re a convenient way to make sure we’re walking out the front door looking great. You can find lots of my very favorite mirrors on the market in this post, and also check out this lovely Rattan mirror DIY here!

DIY Rattan Sunburst Mirror

Add Art

Our print shop is chock full of incredible art that would seriously upgrade your home. I know I’ve loved having it in mine! Adding art to your rental friendly interior design plans is so easy, and my main tip is to use command strips. You and your security deposit will thank me later. 😉

Here’s a collection of some floral art prints to bring some everlasting blooms into your home, and you can also read about lots of the artists behind the Lars Print Shop here.

art prints by Julie Marabelle installed in a wallpapered roomAmanda Jane Jones holding up her prints from the Lars Print ShopDaffodil II print by Rachel SmithRental Living

I lived in a rental for years and years before we bought our house, and by the end of our time there we had made some significant upgrades. You can check out everything we did to that apartment here! Not everyone has the opportunity to do as much with a rental as we did, but I hope it inspires you to make your space your own.

I’d love to see what rental friendly interior design tips you have used! Show me your renting secrets at #LarsAtHome!

Back to School: DIY Whiteboard Upgrade

Because my love of pretty school supplies runs deep, making a DIY Whiteboard felt like a natural step. This would be a great teacher project (can you imagine how cute in your classroom??) or it would also look great in your home office, study space, or bedroom. If you’re a homeschool family, making this whiteboard would be a great project because it integrates math and design. Then you get a great, useful whiteboard in the end! Win win!

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

Make Your Own DIY Whiteboard

Materials

You’ll need a whiteboard, a ruler, a dry-erase marker, acrylic craft paint, and a paintbrush.

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

Instructions

You can make this DIY whiteboard with whatever size of square whiteboard that you have. It will take a little bit of math, but hey! It’s back to school time! You can handle it!

(If your whiteboard is *almost* a square, just proceed as written below and fudge the numbers a bit. You’ll make the squiggle with dry erase marker, so it will be easy to modify. Good news: no one’s grading this!)

Step by step photos in a grid showing how to make the DIY Whiteboard

  1. Measure the sides of your whiteboard. Divide the length of your whiteboard by six. We’ll call this new number “x” in honor of all the algebra classes we sat through.
  2. With a dry erase marker, make a mark around the board’s perimeter every “x” inches, starting in a corner and going all the way around.
  3. Starting at the first mark you made (x inches from the corner), mark a point half the length of x perpendicular to the edge of the whiteboard towards the center of the board and mark. Wait, what? Too much math? Let me break it down. If x is 7 inches, then you’ll mark a point 7 inches away from the corner of the whiteboard and 3.5 inches in toward the center. You’ve got this.
  4. Go to the next mark you made on the whiteboard’s perimeter. From here, mark another point x inches in toward the center of the board. In our example, this point would be 14 inches away from corner and 7 inches toward the center.
  5. Go all the way around the whiteboard marking points. Alternate them half of x inches (3.5 in our example) and x inches (7 in our example) all the way around.
  6. The hard part is over! Look at you, you mathematician! Connect all the new alternating marks by making a zig zag all the way around the board. At this point you’re still using the dry erase marker.
  7. Round the zig zag out and erase any previous markings. Now you have a nice even squiggle around your whole whiteboard.
  8. With acrylic paint, paint the outline of your squiggle design.
  9. Fill in the squiggle design with more paint.
  10. If you need to, do a second coat of paint on your whiteboard. Tadaa! You’re all done and ready for a fantastic school year!

Troubleshooting a Rectangle

If you have a rectangular whiteboard that’s very much longer than it is wide or vice versa, you can still make this DIY whiteboard but you’ll need to do a bit more math (and maybe some troubleshooting). Here’s my advice:

  1. Measure the short side of your whiteboard and divide that number by 6 to get x.
  2. Now measure the long side of your whiteboard and divide that number by x. If it’s close to a whole number, just go with that x value and proceed as above. Your long side will have more squiggles than your short side and it will look great.
  3. If you divide the long side of your whiteboard by x and it’s not close to a whole number, then find another number that divides neatly into your board’s length and width measurements. Just make sure that it goes into those numbers an even number of times, or else your squiggles won’t work.

Wow, have you had enough math for today? I think it’s time for a snack, then recess or reading time. Happy crafting!

A squiggly-painted whiteboard with paint swatches, ribbons, and other mood board-like objects taped to it. It's on wallpaper with a green botanical design.

More Back to School Inspiration

I made these paper lunch sacks with apples painted on them and I think they’re such a cute way to reimagine the classic apple motif. I also put together some creative quarantine homeschool activities for kids, so wherever the pandemic takes us you can be ready.

And don’t forget The School that Lars Built! We have art and art history classes for kids, a flower drawing course for people of all ages, and more coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled!

Tips and Tricks for Painting Chunky Colorful Stripes

With the stairway being a first impression, we had to make sure we were conveying a colorful and fun message to our visitors. One of our greatest sources of inspiration for this project was a candy shop–fun, colorful, and whimsical. I think we checked all 3 with these chunky stripes.  It was a toss up between green and blue, but I think the blue gives a nice fresh welcome and complements the pink floors quite nicely.

How to paint stripes on the walls

If you’ve ever tackled stripes before, you know they are no easy task. Here are some tips to make it easier!

  • Use Scotch® Blue Sharp Lines Painter’s Tape!
  • A laser level.  A laser level projects a temporary line of light on your wall while you mark it off with your tape.  No pencils or chalk needed.  And if you find a suction laser level, then you can easily do the project with just one person!  If not, another helper works just as well;). I did it after the kids went to bed with a podcast (or two ;)and honestly, got so sucked into the project that I kind of wish I had more stripes to paint.
  • Once we had the lines marked off, it was as easy as painting and peeling. A quick tip: peel your painters’ tape off at a 45 degree angle away from the paint. This prevents the tape from tearing.  Once you’ve removed the tape, it’s time to step back and enjoy your work.

How to paint stairs

Because we were also painting over stairs that were once covered in carpet we had a lot of prep before we could actually start painting.

  1. First we had to clean A LOT
  2. Then we had to take out all the staples from the carpet and putty over them
  3. Next we primed
  4. Then we used Scotch® Blue Tape to create clean lines against the ribbon of the staircase.
  5. Then we painted them with a high gloss white (easier for cleaning and we liked the shiny look!). One tip for even more durability is to get a patio paint. They didn’t have it in the color I wanted so I’m risking it with white. 
  6. Then we moved onto the walls

We loved how this project turned out. And even better, we’re not as embarrassed to invite visitors into our studio, ha!

This post is sponsored by Scotch® Painter’s Tape though all opinions are my own.

Our Office Makeover with Spoonflower

You’ve seen our house slowly coming together, but what about the teams’ office spaces?  Fun Pink floors? Check. But along with those fun pink floors? Boring white walls. We knew we wanted some more pattern and color down here so that’s when we started looking at wallpaper.  (Have you seen our studio mood board yet?)

This is what we were starting from:

Well, first when we moved in, the pink epoxy floors took a week to dry and cure so we had to work from the living room of our house. NOT ideal! Here’s a little glimpse. Poor guys.

Interior shot of a rom with office tables and chairs shoved in. There's clutter around and someone is sitting in a chair.

The foundation: Pink floors

Once the pink floors were in we could start moving everything down. A couple of months later though we added in baseboards and painted all the walls white. It became a nice white canvas.

The team added in some things we already had to make it feel better like the chandelier and floral rug that I got on sale from like 15 years ago. 

Shots of a basement space with pink floors and bare unfinished walls, then shots of the space with a plant, then with a rug, some simple furniture, and a brass light fixture. Some of the team is working in the background of the images.

Inspiration for the new office

This is what we sent over to Spoonflower to give the vibe of what we were going for:

A mood board featuring the floor color, an image of the office, some wallpaper samples, and images of other eclectic, colorful rooms and office spaces.

We ordered a few samples from various artists:

Five wallpaper samples in shades of green, gold, and yellow. There's an overall botanical theme.

From top left

Wallpapers we considered

  1. Holli Zollinger vines in rust. I love this print and wanted it to work but thought it didn’t go great with the pink floors.
  2. I LOVED this floral print of native Australian flowers but it was a bit too romantic for the vibe we were going for. By Das Brooklyn
  3. The lemons by Holli Zollinger were super on brand but it felt a little too contrasty.
  4. Loved the simplicity of the green pattern by Holli Zollinger (big Holly Z fans here!). I love green and pink together! 
  5. Vines in green by Holli Zollinger.
  6. You can see the rest of the patterns we debated over and still might use somewhere in our collection here. 

Once the samples arrived, we added them to the wall (they were peel and stick!) so we could think about them. We had a few factors to consider like the pink floors (everything must go with them!), scale, liveability (we didn’t want something so busy because Jane and Hailey work in there).

Two photos of the wallpaper samples stuck to the white office wall. In one you can see a bit of the doorframe and in the other you can see the top of a broom and some exposed light switches.

Foliage as a neutral

Our biggest limiting factor was, surprise surprise, our bubblegum pink floors. Who knew it would dictate so much of our design going forward, ha! 

We decided on the Green Vines. Anything with green foliage tends to act like a neutral since it’s in nature, yet it was also interesting, modern, and whimsical. A good vibe all around!

A sample image of Holly Zollinger's La Ville Vine Mint, which we used as our wallpaper in the office.

Coordinating trim colors

Next, the tricky part was figuring out what to paint the trims. I knew I wanted a few colors going on but when working with color, you have to be careful not to go overboard. I picked out a palette of a blue, yellow, green, and pink with a dash of tomato red, which you can see in these photos here:

Progress shots from testing out various paint colors. The green vined wallpaper is taped up with paint samples in pink, green, yellow, and blue around it.

I literally tried out dozens and dozens of different colors and got a few samples to try along with them. As you can see, I did it all at night (the bad lighting!) so we evaluated the next day. I decided to keep it to the same pink as the floors so that it would feel simple. 

Hailey got to work putting it up and she did a terrific job!

Hailey stands on a stepstool and installs the green vined wallpaper. She's wearing a striped t shirt and a tan skirt.

Removeable wallpaper

The best part about this wallpaper? It’s removable! And I know we’ve all had bad experiences with removable wallpaper, but this isn’t the case with Spoonflower’s. It’s sturdy enough to not stretch when pulled on and it’s quite simple to apply.

Interior shot of the finished office. The wallpaper is up, the doorframes are painted pink, there's a blue art print with colorful flowers on the wall, and yellow chairs are in the desks. It's vibrant, light-filled, and fun.

Interior shot of the finished office. You can see the wallpaper, the blue art print with colorful flowers, and the desk with an orange paper house and yellow chair, and you can also see a shelf installed in the closet that's filled with a rainbow of books.

Some of our application tips are shown below:

  1. line up 2 feet of the right edge first before working your way down. This prevents the piece from accidentally getting crooked. 
  2. 2 is better than 1! Grab a partner!
  3. Always measure, then cut a couple inches extra before putting on the wall. When you’ve got it all lined up, use an Xacto knife to cut off the excess.
  4. Don’t pull off the entire backing or you are sure to get into a sticky sticky situation. Unroll it as you go.

If you’re looking for more help installing your peel and stick wallpaper, this video that Spoonflower made goes through all the details. Check it out!

And there you have it! Some instant art and color in our offices, and we didn’t even need to call our wallpaper guy in!

Interior shot of the finished office. The wallpaper features prominently, as does the bookshelf with a rainbow of books and a poster from Craft the Rainbow.Shot of the finished office. On the left is the wallpaper and a corner of a desk with an orange paper house. Then theres a pink painted door frame, then a bookshelf full of rainbow books and objects.

Interior shot of the finished office. The wallpaper is prominent, and you also see the edge of a rainbow-filled bookshelf. Theres a desk with some office supplies and a yellow chair, and a poster from Craft the Rainbow. Interior shot of the finished office, featuring the wallpaper, a desk with a yellow chair, a laptop, and an orange paper house, a paper plant, and a blue poster featuring modern colorful flowers.

A brightly colored office. There's green floral wallpaper, a pink floor, a yellow chair, a white table, pink-painted doorframes, an orange paper house, a blue poster with colorful abstract flowers, and office supplies.A brightly colored office. There's green floral wallpaper, a pink floor, a yellow chair, a white table, an orange paper house, a blue poster with colorful abstract flowers, and office supplies.

As relieved as I am to finally get another room in my house done, it doesn’t compare to my team’s relief of not having to work in a white walled office anymore, phew! 

Thanks to our sponsor Spoonflower, for making this room happen! All opinions are my own.