Soft stencils If you love the look of all-around pattern, but are reluctant to commit to the expense, hassle and permanence of wallpaper, consider stencils. From boho paisley to graphic chevron, it's now possible to find a range of styles. Tired of the design? You can simply paint right over it.
1. This stencil pattern is inspired by embroidered Mexican textiles, combined with woodland animals. The set comes with two big stencil sheets (about 3.5 ft. by 2.5 ft. each) and instructions. You'll need a roller brush, paint, tray, drop cloth, and tape to secure the stencils while you work.
stencil, $64, stencilboss.storeenvy.com
Read more: 10 adorable decals for the nursery wall>
2. Once you've settled on a name, monogrammed pillows like this one (also available in a frilly script) are a fun accent.
typewriter pillow, $58, serenaandlily.com
3. Shop online sites like Etsy and eBay for vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces that feel like family heirlooms.
wool rug, $60, etsy.com/ca/shop/jolimome
Magical murals Children's bedrooms allow for a little more whimsy than other rooms in the house. A tree mural that stretches from floor to ceiling becomes this room's focal point, and is a fitting metaphor for a growing child. Bonus: this type of wall art won't come crashing to the floor.
1. Much like a mobile, a dramatic, intricate light fixture gives your child something to gaze at when waking up from a nap.
artecnica midsummer light, $96, ellaandelliot.com
Read more: 15 of our favourite baby mobiles>
2. This Inke Heiland tree mural (and the elephant below) are made from precut vintage wallpaper. Use wallpaper paste (included in the kit) to glue the individual leaves wherever you like.
3. Protect hardwood floors with a large area rug. Add a pad underneath to provide a soft landing for rough-and-tumble toddlers.
6x9 stripe rug, $282 dashandalbert.com
1. Remember when kids listened to music the old-fashioned way? Replace your kid's iPod and earbuds with a retro, high-quality tabletop radio.
frost white radio, $200, tivoliaudio.ca
2. Think outside the (toy) box. A handyman's tool chest with lots of drawers is the perfect place to store toys, arts and crafts, and school supplies.
international toolbox, $239, homedepot.ca
Punchy paint 1. Colourful stripes painted onto the ceiling add an element of topsy-turvy circus-style fun. (You'll need at least one ladder, a level ruler or metre stick, a lot of painter's tape to block out the stripes, and another person to help.) This vibrant hue of yellow is energizing for an active kid's room.
sun-kissed yellow paint, $30 per gallon, benjaminmoore.ca
Read more: Find more stripes in our top nursery trends>
Fresh floral wallpaper If your child demands pink (but the idea makes you cringe) choose variations on the commonly used pepto-princess shades. Here, peach, fuchsia and magenta are layered with a flowery, grown-up print to create a feminine yet sophisticated take on a traditional and pretty little girl's room.
1. For a similar (but more affordable) look, try the "Countess" pattern by Graham and Brown.
wallpaper, $75 per roll, grahambrown.com
2. White shag might seem impractical, but flokati wool is durable and wears well. (Small flokati rugs can go in the machine; hand wash larger ones in the tub.)
rug, $129, landofnod.com
1. This desk was repurposed from another room and spray-painted pink. Rent a spray gun or see if your paint store can fill aerosol cans with custom colours.
peony pink paint, $30 per gallon, benjaminmoore.ca
A version of this article appeared in our February 2014 issue with the headline “Wake up your walls,” pp. 53-57.