One of my favourite things about this pregnancy has been the slow decoration of the kid’s room. Because of getting pregnant only a couple of months after moving into the house, it has been the only room in the house to receive a creative touch… so far. The ability to work on this room slowly, over time and evolve the way it has come together has been so creatively satisfying. I’d love to go gangbusters and get the rest of the house decorated but this will also happen slowly over the years to come, room by room. Working on a budget to transform a room is really just a ton of fun and scratches my bargain hunting itches.
Now first thing is first. I used to paint murals in all kinds of rooms professionally; nurseries, bedrooms, pubs, entry ways, home bars, etc. I painted murals freelance after college and I did my fair share of Winnie the Pooh, scenery, and gardens. These murals usually have a limited life span and when setting out to get an idea for our nursery I wanted something that could last a little longer than your average mural but still customized the room for our little guy.
I found THIS post of how to paint an argyle wall and BOOM – I was in love with the idea. I browsed around to see if there were other ways to paint argyle but weeks of internet browsing and I kept coming back to this soft tone-on-tone application. All I needed to do was to choose colours that would work with our room, and decide on accent colours.
Once we cleared out all of the boxes we have yet to unpack from the move, our starting room looked like this:
The giraffe and the palm tree were likely here with the original owners of the house as the folks we bought the house from did not have any kids (we are the 3rd owners).
While quaint, it was my opinion that we could probably do a little better. N was sad to see the giraffe go.
I considered for a while what fandom we might want to use to decorate the kid’s room. Themes seem to be really popular among people who are planning a wedding, decorating a nursery, planning a birthday party, and so on. I’m not really big on ‘themes’ but we did entertain the idea. I knew that doing a video game themed room would appeal to N, I think his vote was for a Legend of Zelda inspired room. Woodland themes are really popular these days and while I can totally get behind including animals in the decor, a lot of the decor I browsed and inspiration boards I looked at included things like teepees and arrows and paddles. Somehow some of these things made me feel uncomfortable. At some point I feel like cute decor items get too close to cultural appropriation. I am a believer of child lead learning so hopefully one day the kid and I can talk about these items and learn about what they are used for and by whom, perhaps even make some ourselves! but for now something about it just didn’t sit right with me so I decided to look for ideas that were a little less ‘theme’.
As I usually so, I started out by selecting colour. My initial colour palette was grey, beach blue, and orange. Orange being N’s favourite colour, one of our wedding colours, and something neutral enough to reuse. As i got going, however, this colour palette changed. The greys I chose looked even MORE blue when I put the colour swatches on the wall. Soon enough I was taking a home depot sample colour and mixing my own acrylics to alter the pigment to something closer to ‘my vision’. This is a very slippery slope and I do not recommend it. It’s really easy to get caught up in the tones, times of day, the light, and other factors. Your eyes play tricks on you in an attempt to interpret colour. At the end of the day you need to go by your overall impression. I could talk to you at length about which of these swatches is warmer or cooler, bluer or greyer, vibrant or dull, but I’m colour crazy. I had to step away for a few weeks and glance a couple of times in passing before choosing a base coat.
One tip to make sure you don’t get stuck with a colour that is COMPLETELY wrong for the room is the put your swatches next to non negotiables. That is to say, whatever aspect of the room that is not going to be changed is what you want to work from. This may include flooring, window treatments, bedding, or trim. Anything that is staying the same will want to be considered with your colour choice; otherwise don’t sweat it.
The next step for me was to tape everything off and apply the base coat. Being pregnant, standing on the ladder was- at times- dizzying but I took my time and spent a few hours per weekend on painting the room and spreading it out over a number of weeks.
I planned out my math on the computer by measuring the width and height of the wall, and creating a diagram to scale (which I of course can not find anymore) to guide my pattern.
My intention was to paint all of the diamonds at once but again because of the dizzyness and extreme fatigue that comes with pregnancy my plans took a back seat and I worked one diamond at a time, doing about 4 or five each day I worked on the wall, untill the whole wall was full.
After the diamonds it was time to paint the lines. For this I measured the center of each diamond, applied a middle strip of tape, then one on each side and removed the middle – leaving me with a mask for the width of the tape.
I can not stress enough that for this step DO NOT skimp on the tape. I didn’t but still had nothing but problems with the painters tape peeling from the wall before I could get from top to bottom. This was the ONLY frustrating part of this process. If I were to do it again I would find a good painters tape that works with our textured walls and buy it in bulk. This type of wall uses a LOT of tape.
There’s a bit of wonky math in there because by the time I was at this stage not only was dizzyness still a symptom but ‘pregnancy brain’ was also starting to set on. Somehow I ended up with some negative space where the math did not quite work out. Thankfully the only ones who know about it are me, my husband, and now you or anyone else I point it out to. I wish I had stuck to my diagram but overall it turned out pretty okay! If you plan to attempt this you may want to refer back to the HOW TO post I linked to earlier. That girl was on her game and did it the correct way!
We’ve started to decorate and put furniture together. There are still a few touches that need to happen but overall the kids’ room is ready to function. I suspect that as we start to use this room the placements and items contained inside will adjust to fit our needs but for now this was a VERY therapeutic projects that helped both myself and my husband get used to the idea of a new person in our house, our lives, and our hearts.