We have this thing with wallpaper at Havenly. But we also understand that, while wallpaper is beautiful and fun, it’s not always an option. “Wallpaper can become a headache quickly if you don’t have smooth walls, proper materials, or experience,” says Havenly designer Brady Burke. Plus, a home’s architectural features — think angled ceilings, windows, and crown moulding — can all make applying wallpaper feel like an impossible feat.
Enter: wall stencils.
Stencils are perfect for DIYers and allow you to create a wallpaper-like effect using spray paint or standard pain. It’s a cost-effective solution that allows a similar wallpaper look — for less (words we love). Today, we’re sharing a peek inside a stunning stenciled space that you’ll never believe is not wallpaper, plus Brady has shared his top tips to make the process seamless (trust us, you’re going to be inspired to try it).
Stenciled Accent Wall IRL
Havenly designer Marie Lacote knew how to make a stylish statement for her client, Juli Bauer of @paleomg. Instead of opting for wallpaper or a traditional painted accent wall in Juli’s bedroom, Marie chose a large-scale stencil in bold black and white. The overall effect looks ornate, but the stencil made it oh-so easy. Plus, by using a monochromatic palette for the accent wall, Marie was able to suggest lots of glam, jewel-tone colors for her client. The stencil sets the foundation for a boho-meets-midcentury retreat we’d all love to call our own.
Double the DIY
One beauty of stenciling is that the sky’s the limit when it comes to patterns. “If you can print and cut out the stencil, you can have it on your walls,” Brady says. Of course, you can always select a premade stencil instead from retailers like Home Depot, Amazon and Michael’s. We’re also fans of StenCilit, a company specializing in handmade, simple stencils in large sizes; you can shop StenCilit on Amazon, too!
If you’re new to stenciling (or haven’t done it since grade school), Brady suggests starting with an accent wall or smaller space like a powder room. These are natural places you’d apply wallpaper anyway, creating a bold, eye-catching statement.
Pick a Simple Pattern
One of the toughest parts about wallpaper is figuring out the math for patterned papers that need to be lined up across the wall. While you’ll avoid this with stenciling, Brady still suggests using a pattern or repeat that is easy to align. This way, you’ll guarantee a cohesive look.
But keep in mind, while some patterns, like Juli’s, benefit from a structured application and attention to detail, others you can feel free to get a little playful and embrace your inner Wabi Sabi, going for a more freeform aesthetic that celebrates beauty in imperfection (so ditch the measuring tape).
Don't Sweat It
Perhaps the best part about stenciling compared with wallpaper is that you can easily correct a mistake by painting over it. You can also practice (we hear it makes perfect) on a piece of wood or even posterboard to get the hang of things before you start stenciling your space.
Looking for statement ideas to customize your space to your taste? We know some designers who can help. Find your perfect match with our style quiz.