A typical update for a room might consist of repainting the walls, refinishing the floors (if they need it) and hanging a few new pictures.
But how do you give a room real personality? Adding wallpaper can lend character to a space, but good wallpaper is not only expensive, it's also very labor intensive.
I was willing to spend the money since I was only looking to do one accent wall, but the patterns I loved simply didn't come in the colors I was envisioning. Which led me to stencils.
I discovered Royal Design Studio's Allover Patterns and found the answer to my design dilemma. After much deliberation, I chose the Hollywood Squares stencil.
Using stencils allows you to decide on your own color palette. You get a custom look for a fraction of the cost. The best part is that if you don't love it, or if you want to change the color later, all you need is a fresh coat of paint and you can start over. No stripping paper, and more importantly, none of the guilt that comes with wasting money.
I have a theory on pattern. Go big or don't waste your time. Small prints can be great, but if you are looking to make a small room look larger, or you want a real impact, go with a large, repeating pattern. DO NOT BE AFRAID.
So how do you do it? The hardest part for me was choosing the design. Have you seen the options? They are endless, and they are FABULOUS!
I'll go ahead and get the two questions everyone asks out of the way with a couple of answers:
1. No, it is not hard to do.
2. Yes, it is a fair amount of work. But it is worth it!
Without further ado, here's my method for stenciling an allover wall pattern...
1. GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES
Bubble level (I like a 3' metal one)
Can of spray adhesive ($8.99 at Michael's and INVALUABLE)
Roll of paper towels and household cleaner (just in case)
Q-Tips (for any small bleeds)
Paint (I used Martha Stewart's Tiger Eye Metallic)*
Sponge (I used a flat sponge, sold in the tile section for grout removal, for my paint application and then tapped almost all of it off on paper plates)**
*An important note about your paint. The thicker the paint is, the easier it is to stencil. Watery paint runs. Metallics are watery.
**Yes, I sponged my wall. I never thought I'd sponge-paint anything again, but I had no choice.
2. PREP YOUR WALL
I prepped the wall by painting it with a semi-gloss white. I chose semi-gloss because that's the can I happened to have in my hand (we were painting trim) and I thought the sheen would look cool with the gold (it does).
3. FIND YOUR STARTING POINT
Just like you would when putting up wallpaper or tiling, start your pattern in the most conspicuous spot. I find the center point on the most dominant wall and start there. Your pattern will end equally at both corners of your main wall.
Each pattern is different, and many people like to begin the pattern at the top of the wall and let it end wherever it ends up at the bottom, since most of it will be covered by furniture. I wanted to make going around this window as easy as possible, so I started below and got lucky with my pattern ending perfectly at the top.
4. POSITION THE STENCIL
Spray a light misting of re-positionable stencil spray adhesive on the back of your stencil to keep it flush with the wall and secure. This is critical. I tried tape and it helps, but the adhesive cuts your time in half.
*NOTE: The adhesive needs to be sprayed outside! If you get this on your carpet, even Sears can't get it off and every speck of dirt will forever adhere to it. Please take my word for this.
5. MATCH YOUR PATTERN USING LEVELING AND REGISTRATION MARKS
6. APPLY THE PAINT
You can do this a number of ways, using a low-nap mini roller, a stencil brush (this will take you forever) or a sponge. I opted for the latter, but if I wasn't sleeping in this room and had been able to tape off the floors and woodwork, I would have used spray paint - no question.
Whatever you choose to use, remember that LESS IS MORE. You can add more paint, but too much will bleed under your stencil. This is going to take some time.
The edges weren't all perfect, so this is where the Q-Tips came in.
7. SIT BACK AND ADMIRE THE RESULTS!
What do you think? When I mentioned to friends that I was painting our bedroom wall gold, I got a few quizzical looks, but I think it was just what this room needed.
In hindsight, I would recommend getting a friend to join you and turning the event into a girls' night. A cosmo and a partner would have made this project go a lot faster!
Want to win a $50 credit to purchase a Royal Design Studio stencil of your very own?
(plus free shipping!)
(plus free shipping!)
Simply visit the Royal Design Studio website and choose your favorite stencil. Then come back to Seaside Shelter and leave the name of the stencil in a comment at the bottom of this post.
To get an extra entry, “Like” Royal Design Studio’s Facebook page, then leave a comment there mentioning the Seaside Shelter giveaway and the name of your favorite stencil.
And for a third entry, "Like" Seaside Shelter on Facebook and leave a comment on our page with the words "RDS Giveaway" in it.
The giveaway ends in one week—good luck!