A Scalloped Accent Wall for the Nursery

Today I have a fun project reveal to share! It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment project and got completed about 24 hours after I decided to do it – an accent wall in Vi’s nursery!

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I’ve been struggling with what to do in this room for a while now. Since we didn’t find out Vi’s gender during my pregnancy, we decided to keep the nursery simple by painting it white. We knew we could always add color later. Well, it’s later. She’s almost 8 months old and still has white walls, a white crib, white artwork, white sheets…it’s boring and sterile and doesn’t give off cozy feelings. I’ve been itching to update it for a while and would love to add wallpaper or a fun wall treatment, but there are just too many uncertainties with the room’s future to do a big project. We don’t know if we’ll have a third baby someday. If we do, and it’s a girl, the girls will move to LJ’s room since it’s bigger and he will move in here. So why put a ton of money into a room that could potentially need to be re-done in 2-3 years? But also…why keep a room white and boring for 2-3 years just because I don’t know the future?

After I took this picture of Vi in her nursery on Wednesday afternoon I realized something: I don’t know the future, but I know what’s happening right now. And right now, this is my baby girl’s room. I don’t want to invest in more permanent changes, but I could still make a big impact with a small cosmetic change that didn’t take much time or money. I’ve was inspired by the walls Bre painted in her daughter’s room, so I decided right then and there to just go for it and paint a cute scalloped accent wall!

Indiana’s current stay-at-orders call for people to only leave their homes for essential travel, so I was determined to complete this project using only the materials that I already had. I had about 2/3 quart of paint leftover from the dresser changing table I recently re-purposed for my sister in law, so I decided to use that (Sherwin Williams Fading Rose in Satin) for the accent wall. Truthfully, it’s not the shade or sheen I would have chosen had I been able to go to the store and pick something out. However, I liked it well enough and knowing it would just be something to tide the room over for a couple years (if it stays Vi’s room, I’d love to wallpaper!) made it an easy decision to say yes to.

Here’s one last look at where the room started:

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I wanted the painted section to cover roughly 2/3 of the wall. Since the room has 8 foot ceilings, I kept things nice and simple by marking 5 feet up the wall. Once I had marked it in a few places, I used a level to draw a thin, straight pencil line the length of the wall.

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I placed painter’s tape just above the marked line so that paint would cover it, and I used the level again to verify that the taped line was straight across. I also taped out the side walls and baseboard.

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We just painted the room 9 months ago, so the walls were in pretty good shape, but there were a few small dents that needed to be repaired. I used patching plaster and a joint knife to fill in the dents and let it dry overnight.

In the morning, I lightly ran a sanding block over the places I patched to make sure everything was smooth and ran a damp microfiber cloth over the wall to make sure it was clean and dust-free.

I had our pack n play and Slumperpod set up in our bedroom so Vi had a place to sleep during the day. As soon as I put her down for her morning nap, I turned on LJ’s favorite show (currently, Blippi on Amazon Prime) and got to work. I trimmed out the wall with a 2 inch angled paintbrush and then filled in with a roller. I rolled out a quick second coat after Vi’s nap and just let her play with a few toys in the nursery crib next to me for that <10 minute task.

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As you can see from the various shades of drying paint above, I pulled off the painter’s tape as soon as I finished the second coat. I find this is key to the tape coming off easily and not sticking extra hard to the wall under dried paint.

While both my kids were up and playing nearby, I worked on deciding what to use to trace my scallops. Get ready for some super technical instructions…

I used a ruler to draw two straight lines on the back of the large paper that came in an Ikea frame, and tested out two different plastic lids from our recycling bin to see what size scallop I liked best. Ha!

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I decided I liked the slightly bigger look, so the sour cream lid was the winner! I used a mini level and painter’s tape to mark where I wanted to line up the lid with the painted line on the wall.

I managed to get both my kids down for a dual nap after lunch and started tracing out the scallops, being careful to make sure to line up the tape marks with the painted line.

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It almost worked out perfectly, but the last one was just a little bit too big for the remaining space. I went back to my Ikea frame paper and cut out one of the scallops so I could bend it at the edge – I barely had to bend it but I’m glad I took the extra step to make sure the pattern was consistent.

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Ideally, I would have used a small stiff paint brush to paint over the outlines (something like this) but I didn’t have one so I improvised and used a sponge makeup applicator!

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This worked pretty well for tracing the scallops, but it was a very tedious process.

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Once the outlines were done, I went back to my 2 inch paint brush to fill in the rest. After getting two coats on, the wall was done!

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Even though it’s not the exact color I would’ve chosen on my own, it did coordinate well with the things I already had for the room, and I definitely think it made it much cozier.

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This also inspired me to finally have Justin hang a shelf that has just been propped against the wall for months. He made this triangle shelf several years ago and I think it brings warmth to the space.

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All in all, including the time it took me to gather materials, prep the wall, and paint, I would say this project took about 4 hours of active, hands-on work time. And the best part is – it cost me $0 since I exclusively used items I already had on hand.  Not bad for a spur-of-the-moment project!

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If there is one thing this project reminds me of, it’s don’t wait. Don’t wait years to know for sure exactly how a room might be used – rooms will always be evolving! Don’t wait until you have the exact perfect tools on hand – what you already have might do the job just fine! Don’t wait until you have a room perfect before you deem it worthy of sharing – celebrate the progress! There are still things I want to do here. We’ll eventually need to replace the carpet and trim. I’m waiting on a fun piece of artwork from my sister’s studio to put up a gallery wall next to the closet. The room will keep changing as Vi grows (or as our family changes) so I’m going to continue to just celebrate each step we take in making our house a home. I fall more and more in love with it in each change we make!

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Welcome to your new room, sweet Vi!