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Design

Sara’s Main Closet Makeover – A Story Of Four Wallpapers

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A lot of projects have been slow moving, or even have come to a grinding halt recently. My primary closet is not one of them. We are moving full steam ahead on this project, and I am GIDDY about it because we’ve been living off a metal garment rack, and a too small front closet for a year and a half. But even that is a big improvement over what used to be in the primary bedroom, which was an added on box that used to be where our new bedroom door entrance is:

The space that is now the closet used to be a strange square space “through room,” that connected the kitchen to the primary bedroom, and also housed the primary bathroom entrance. Here is the floorplan so you can see what I mean:

Here’s what it looks likes right now:

Is it ideal? No, but it hasn’t been AWFUL. When we first moved in I was actually living out of a single suitcase, and it really proved to me how FEW clothes I actually need to dress myself. So, I’ve been able to whittle my wardrobe down significantly.

This is great for three reasons: First, my clothing just takes up less space. I still need a little bit more room than Mac, but overall, we’re pretty evenly split. Secondly, I actually wear more of what I own. I used to horde so many pieces, but the truth is I’m not a fashion risk-taker and I end up wearing the same pieces over and over. And lastly, already having a small wardrobe helps me keep my wardrobe small.

a trip down memory lane, back to when the closet was just a box of dry wall . . .

But now we’re super lucky to be working on designing a primary closet that really functions for what we want and need! I think the best part about this closet is that, since we designed it from the ground up, we were able to add in a Velux sun tunnel in the ceiling, and a small window on the right-hand wall. These two things bring in SO much natural light, which is rare in a closet. And they make the closet feel more like a “room” than a “closet.”

The other detail in here that makes this space feel super special is that custom, vintage-inspired, brass sconce over the window from Light Work Design Co., an independent lighting shop on Etsy that created for me my DREAM sconce after I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for anywhere online. Seriously, if you want something special and want to support a talented independent maker please check Light Works Co.!

The closet really is almost done, it just needs the actual CLOSET system to complete it.

We worked with The Container Store to design a custom closet plan using their Elfa Decor line, and even though we haven’t installed it yet, I’m already in love with it. The design process was wildly easy and Barb, our designer, literally pulled together the closet of my dreams right before our eyes over a video conference call. In full transparency, I was totally blown away by how easy and happy I was with the design process. Here’s where we landed:

There are enough hangers, hooks, and drawers to satisfy both Mac and I. And there’s the sweetest little vanity moment happening under the window and dream sconce. My vision for that area is displaying all of my perfumes there, along with a little vintage piece of art, and a view to our newly stuccoed back wall that will be soon covered in climbing greenery.

We could stop there. The closet, with the sun tunnel, window, dream sconce, and perfect closet system would all make for an awesome closet. But . . . what is a closet without a minor existential design crisis? I mean, truly. So, I’m having a bit of a traditional maximal moment right now. What does that mean? I’m still working that out, but essentially I’m really missing some bold risks in our house. A few exciting moments, like our TV room. At the same time, I want those bolder moments to feel period and natural in our home. So I’m thinking wallpaper, moody paints, and more color.

That’s why I want to wallpaper our bedroom closet from top to bottom. All four walls, and the ceiling too. We wallpapered our vanity nook at our old apartment, and it was my favorite moment in the whole space. I truly feel, at my core, I’m a wallpaper person. And our house needs more wallpaper in it (help me convince Mac that we need to wallpaper the ceiling in our TV room with this). The only question is WHICH WALLPAPER? After hours of looking online, and staring at 20-30 samples, I narrowed it down to TWO options. Willow in Japser Green from Bradbury & Bradbury or Bachelor’s Button in Ecru from Morris & Co. Both wallpapers were actually designed by Victorian-era textile design icon William Morris, who had a big thing for medieval motifs. He’s a favorite designer of mine, and his work just happens to fit perfectly into a Craftsman home.

But then PLOT TWIST. After talking about my deep desire for a bold wallpaper moment in my closet, the EHD team told me that the ones I had picked out were ummm… not very bold and I might be sad that I didn’t take a bigger risk. Fine. They might be right. So here are my new top four “bolder” contenders.

OPTION 1 – Strawberry Thief

This is SUCH A SWEET WALLPAPER. I’m in love with these little bird friends. This pattern was designed by Victorian-era textile design icon William Morris, who had a big thing for medieval motifs. He’s a favorite designer of mine, and his work just happens to fit perfectly into a Craftsman home. My only quandary is if this paper is a touch too whimsical and playful, and difficult to design around with the master bedroom.

OPTION 2 – Pimpernell

Another William Morris design, and this one he actually used himself in his own dining room. COMPELLING. I love the earthy colors and the super classic design. It feels a little more “refined” than his Strawberry Thief motif above. But is it snoozy?

OPTION 3 – Chiavi Segrete

Another green option, this one covered in a pretty green foliage with hidden keys throughout. I really like this one, and feel like it’s a touch whimsical, a touch refined, and all green which is just my eternal favorite color. I also think this design could transition with a lot of design directions we take for the main bedroom. Mac likes the pattern as a concept, but isn’t sure he likes it as a whole.

OPTION 4 – HONEYSUCKLE & TULIP

One more William Morris paper to round out the options – but this one is all light, neutral, and very subtle. I like that it still has a lot going on in the design, but maybe doesn’t scream “LOOK AT ME!” It’s definitely not bold though . . .

So what do you think friends – whimsical and fun, traditional and refined, bold and green, or neutral and subtle? Help me, please.

And if you too are in need of some wallpaper boldness in your life head to our online wallpaper resource post.

Fin Mark

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Carol

In order: 3 – 1 – 2 – 4. That green, and the keys, are the perfect statement/whimsy/flex that you’re looking for, I think. Since you want bold, 4 will not do at all. 🙂

Colleen

My thoughts exactly.

Addie

What Carol said. The green seems like a good backdrop for your clothes, kind of like a decorated forest seen through an imaginary window.

Molly

Carol nailed it. Number 4 is…. what just happened, I fell asleep for a moment. 😉
It’s a closet, punch it up! Love 3 and 1!

Ditto!

Maria

YESYESYESYES. Love a wallpapered nook area! The only thing I would advise is that, since you have a mirror setup in there, pick a wallpaper that works with your coloring (I’m very into the spring/summer/autumn/winter thing). I’ve definitely been in front of mirrors with painted walls/wall papers around them that would look dynamite on someone with icy blue eyes, but the colors made me look sallow. But maybe this doesn’t matter at all! My fave wallpaper option is #1.

emilyj

has to be strawberry thief

Laura

Number 1 Strawberry Thief!

Kristine C.

#1 is bright, bold and beautiful and has plenty of different colors that could play well with the rest of your bedroom colors (and house colors!). The other ones are quite ummmm uneventful, and #2 and #4 might end up making you look sallow with their paleness, so be sure to check your coloring with them as another commenter mentioned.

Jenny

Go bold! #1

Shannon

Option 3

Jules

2!!!

Emily

#3 for sure. While I love #1 in theory, I think it will look too chaotic with all of your clothes. #3 is a little bolder than the others, but more uniform in color than #1 so it works better as a backdrop.

Daniella

I second this! It’s important that it works as a backdrop for lots of clothes without giving off a messy vibe, and that it’s easy enough to find stuff when you’re looking for something. While #1 is absolutely beautiful and would probably be gorgeous on a feature wall, I can imagine it could turn into an attack on the eyes in a closet, plus all the color would make it harder to locate items. So my vote goes to #3 – beautiful, bold, yet still calm enough to work. And it would feel like entering a forest!

Kari

I agree with the chaos theory. It’s one thing to decide with TCS’s cartoon mock up of matching clothes (in a tight color way and no pattern and with plenty of space between them) and quite another to deal with your own clothes in reality (that may be more tightly packed and in a hodgepodge of patterns and colors). Is there a way you can photoshop your own clothes rack and shoes to really see? How does a camo jacket, next to a striped t shirt next to a plaid button down, next to a polka dot dress, etc look against a busy wallpaper? Consider this, every time you walk into your closet you have a decisions to make – what to wear today? Complicated by many other factors – event, weather, season, MOOD that day, etc. For me, I want that to be as simple and smooth a process as possible because it usually happens earrrrly in the morning. Would a busy pattern on the wall make it easier or harder for your early-morning-eyes to make decisions about what to wear?

karen

Strawberry!

Daisy

strawberry thief! one of my all time favorite patterns!

question about Elfa: I am considering it for my master closet but what bugs me is that all the weight is on a wall mount… I am worried that my unreliable drywall won’t hold it. Anyone had issues with that?

Emily J

mount on studs only

isabelle

You really shouldn’t rely on drywall to bear weight at all. Maybe a towel hook or a small piece of art but that’s it. Use a studfinder to locate the framing elements and use those to attach the system.

Kelly

I’ve used Elfa in many places, installed in drywall alone. Never had any issues. Not sure what you mean by ‘unreliable drywall’ – if your drywall has issues then you might not want to install closet system on it. but for regular old drywall, the design of Elfa is perfectly capable of handling weight. It’s not that hard to install either, I’ve installed several smaller closets on my own and I’m not terribly handy.

Kim

Number 1!

Polkadink

Strawberry thief, hands down.

While I love #1, I think it might feel too busy with the colors of your clothes. I would go for #2 because it is a good marriage between #1(louder) and #4(the most quiet). I think #2 is such a classic design and the colors are fairly neutral so it should be easy to design the master around it.

A.B.

chiave secrete!

Amanda Hughes Martinez

#2. I think it works seamlessly with the color story you’ve created in the house so far. It’s bold but errs on traditional. Simply lovely.

Rebekah

I agree with this! 2 really seems to suit the rest of your house while still adding a bit of a punch. They are all pretty tho – excited to see what you end up with. What happened to the striped option? Or was that for somewhere else?

Donna

I like the original Willow in Jasper Green and Bachelor’s Button. Unlike in a room, the closet has little unobstructed wall space and it would bother me to see just parts of a bird friend or large blossom (as in 1-4). But, I wouldn’t mind seeing one of those bold patterns on the ceiling!

Maxine Becker

Go for drama! You’ll never be sorry. Container Store designed my closet and it works beautifully. I put cork tiles on back wall to display my jewelry. Can send you a photo if interested.

Debra

What a fun project! One thing I’d like to point out from having windows in my closet — both windows and light tubes fade clothing, even with UV protection. Protect dark colors and delicate fabrics from as much light as you can.

Brenda

Strawberry Thief!!!

Brenda

Number 1, Strawberry Thief

Kristi

Strawberry Theif for suuuurrrre

Frances

Strawberry thief, no question.

Kap

I really enjoy no. 3!

I know you didn’t ask for suggestions so feel free to disregard but I wonder if you would consider going in a totally different direction (just because it seems like a lot of bloggers are rediscovering vintagey floral wallpaper). Think astronomy, witchy, magical like this one from anthro:
https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/cocorrina-planetary-magic-wallpaper?category=wallpaper&color=001&type=STANDARD&size=One%20Size&quantity=1

(Though also not this one because as we know anthro has a history of bad practices when it comes to race and their customers).

Danielle

Honestly I think Willow is the best option for what you’ve described wanting. Strawberry Thief would be my second if I had to choose one.

Alice

I actually like #4. I wouldn’t want to select clothes against a background that competes for my attention.

Lisa

I love strawberry thief as a pattern its so playful and just iconic (I mean I know what its called, what??) but I’m with you in that I too think it might be a bit too busy – especially peeking out behind different height shelves and your clothes that I’m guessing are also not all one colour. Personally I love Option #2 Pimpernell! It just feels so lush and rich but less demanding then Strawberry thief and I think it could make that room really cosy yet exciting – good luck I’m sure it’ll look great!!

Emily J

check out apothecary’s garden too

Maggie

What about paint on the walls(so your clothes will show)…and the bold paper on the ceiling?

Molly

Yes!

Def the birds

Dana

I think you need some birdie friends in the closet! Go with Strawberry Thief. Besides, it also has the best name. 🙂

A

Have you seen @thegritandpolish’s dining room wallpaper plans! You’re considering almost the exact same papers as they are! Small world!

Ellie

#1!!!!!!!!!!!

Leslie

Without a doubt #1 🙂

Karyn

Green is my favorite color hands down. I love the Chiavi Segrete – so pretty and whimsical. But the Honeysuckle and Tulip one stopped me in my tracks. Much more muted, but stunningly gorgeous and I think it would be fantastic in your closet.

Emily

Go neutral – all of the clothes and shoes will be competing with it – it will feel messy, and maybe claustrophobic – and if you want it to coordinate with your bedroom, this will give you more flexibility. What about Strawberry Thief in the neutral color way. Go for a bold paper where you can really appreciate it – utility closet? Front bedroom?

Elizabeth

I love Strawberry Thief so much! But I wouldn’t put it in my closet, because I own a lot of wacky bright prints and I think they would clash. And if my clothing clashed with that stunning wallpaper, I would give away all of my clothing. Then I’d be stuck buying new clothing while sitting naked on the floor of my closet, holding my laptop screen up to the walls to see if my potential new yoga pants could be brought into the strawberry kingdom. But possibly you have a neutral wardrobe already, or maybe the clash wouldn’t bother you? In which case, please do make your closet the strawberry kingdom!!! And sit in there naked shopping for new yoga pants because you *can* and not because you have to.

Jennifer

Hands down, NUMBER 1!!!!

Heidi

#1 definitely

Bre

Love Strawberry Thief. BUT it is a lot with the clothes. I would do the back/mirror wall + the ceiling, and color match the dark blue background of the paper to paint the rest of the walls. Saves some money too.

Kim B

This is brilliant.

I really don’t understand spending all that money to wallpaper BEHIND hanging clothes.

Grace D

LOVE LOVE LOVE William Morris wallpaper! (Sara have you seen the Victorian Arts & Crafts show on Prime?? I’ve watched almost all the ‘go back and live in the old days’ on there by now.) The 2nd one I think I saw either Amber or Studio McGee use in a bathroom fairly recently–so good! Also have been in love with that Cole & Son key and leaves wallpaper for years and I want someone I know to use it so bad!!!! The blue gray color way is the one i’ve been coveting but might’ve been pulled from the main site now. xx

Mandy

Strawberry Thief is one of my all-time favorite patterns. In fact, I just ordered a sample of that and Blackthorn by William Morris for a dining nook. Have you looked into Blackthorn? Like you, green is my true love color and I think that pattern may look awesome in a closet 🙂

Fern

definitely 3! its bold but doesn’t have too much going on (#1 is gorgeous but feels too busy with clothes). How lovely to wander into all those leaves in the morning with your coffee, while trying to pick out your outfit for the day

CJH

Strawberry Thief wins running away….

CJH

Strawberry Thief romps home well ahead of the pack…,

Strawberry Thief all the way. It’s super fun and happy and would love to see a closet DECKED OUT in it!!

Suzanne

Option 1: I really love Strawberry Thief. I’ve been coveting the pillow in the same print at Rejuvenation.

Sonja

Strawberry Thief Forever!

Annie

Option #2 is my favorite!

Maria

Option 1 – strawberry thief!

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