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A Midcentury “Magical Fairy” Bedroom Project Intro + A Completely Reversible Paint Trend We’re Trying



design by powell architecture + building studio | image via domino

Hey all, Julie from the design team here to quickly intro you to one of our latest projects, but mostly to talk about a new take on a longstanding trend we plan to implement in that space. In case you missed it on Emily’s Insta-stories the other week, we have a very high profile client we are working with…her name is Violet, she’s 6 and this girl knows what she wants. The theme is fairies, there will be wallpaper and some color blocking in a new way we haven’t done before here at EHD. I have a deep love for the mountain house project and all its moody yet neutral moments but this project is the 180 of it and I am pumped.

A little bit about our client’s parents, they are close friends of Emily’s and who I want to be when I finally decide to grow up (I still think of myself as a mature 12-year-old…and I dress the part). They own a store called The Reckless Unicorn which pretty much sums up their design style. Their mid-century home has an unspoken rule: Each room has a minimum of three patterns/colors and it just works. Yes, we did shoot their house for Emily’s new book so you will see sneak peeks of it soon. It is basically my dream home. Will you be my parents? Great, moving on!

Now, let me introduce you to Violet’s space so you can see what we were working with (and to help you envision some of the ideas I’m going to walk you through):

Emilyhenderson Trends Colorblocking Violetsroom Before

There is a lot happening in here: the toys-fairies-color-princess theme covers every inch of the space. The plan is to simplify and unify these elements through larger scale items like the aforementioned wallpaper that will allow all of our eyes to be drawn to a “bolder moment” and then layer in the quieter elements like extra storage pieces and a custom wrap-around headboard which we will dive into another time. During our initial design meeting, Emily asked our 6-year-old client what she wanted the theme of her room to be, princesses or fairies. She chose fairies which I was very pleased with since that leaves more room for design interpretation.

Once that was decided, I spent more than a few hours sourcing and putting together a presentation for our next meeting, which took Violet a total of five minutes to quickly go through and circle her favorites and ‘X’ out the rest. We all need to start taking notes on how to be as decisive as this little one. To give you a some context on where the design direction is headed, here are the two wallpaper options we narrowed it down to which will cover all four walls.

Emily Henderson Friends & Family Annie Violets Bedroom Wallpaper Options
on the left: bahamas by bien fait | on the right: may meadow by rebel walls

These are from two of our wallpaper vendor favorites, Bien Fait and Rebel Walls. Both of them would add so much personality to the space and to be honest the office is pretty split so we might have to throw it to you guys and do an Ask the Audience post soon (with a little more design context so you can make an educated decision).

Let’s talk about that art nook and the design element I think it is begging for (which is why we’re all here today for this post).

Emily Henderson Friends & Family Annie Violets Bedroom Before Photos Art Nook

This nook is already such a special moment but with a room covered in playful prints, this space would feel like a white box afterthought. In comes the color blocking!

Emilyhenderson Trends Colorblocking Inspiration 13
design by racheal jackson | image via domino

During the “let’s pin a bunch of inspiration images” phase of the design process, this entryway by muralist Racheal Jackson popped up on the “more like this” section on Pinterest. Thanks (creepy) Pinterest! I quickly stalked Jackson’s Instagram @banyanbridges and for all of you tired of white walls, this one is for you. Her use of color and how she applies it is like an optical illusion for the eye, and I’m into it.

Emilyhenderson Trends Colorblocking Inspiration 20
design by Holly Becker | image via independent

This trend is coloring outside of the lines (Jess you’re not the only one who loves a good pun) highlighting the architecture of the space in a fresh modern way. I see you blue doorway.

Emilyhenderson Trends Colorblocking Inspiration 1
design by daria zinovatnaya | image via boca do lobo

It also doesn’t have to be age-specific, meaning, this isn’t just for kids. If you’re a person looking for bold and three-dimensional design done in a simplistic way that is easy to change later on (hello paint), bookmark this now.

Emilyhenderson Trends Colorblocking Inspiration 17
design by studiopepe | image via the socialite family

The photo above shows the trend done in a very simple way with the use of just two colors. The design ends purposefully above the doorway to lead your eye into the adjoining space.

Emilyhenderson Trends Colorblocking Inspiration 9
design by julia rouzaud | image via elle decoration

This layered look and the combination of colors is what I ultimately want to bring to that nook. I think letting colors “spill out” onto the walls and the ceiling above the reading alcove would add some dimension, but also make it become “part” of the rest of the room’s design.

What do you all think about this layered color block look? Do you love it for the space? Are you worried about mixing it with such bold wallpapers? Or are you excited for a new color palette? If you have a link to one you love, leave it below, along with any comments (just be kind because this is my first time around here). 🙂

Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the design of this project, mood boards, renderings and the design “works” once we settle on some of these more “out of the box” (ha) elements.

Fin Mark


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Sorry, but I think designing for a 6 year old is silly. She just needs a moment with Marie Kondo.

ha. its really just an excuse to hang out with my friends 🙂 wait, no also to design a room around fairies …


I LOVED my room as a kid – it was such a special place and reflection of my personality and interests. I always really valued that my Mom took the time to do that for us. I love designing my son’s room and he’s four. He is into it!


good example of keep it to yourself 🙂

Melissa Davis

Emily, I hope this comment doesn’t stop you from doing more posts like this one. As a mom I love getting ideas from YOU for kid rooms. I used so much of what you did in your nurseries and kids rooms. I am moving in February and need more ideas for the space so this is perfect!!!


Kids rooms are the absolute most fun! Magical and vibrant and you can let your freak flag fly!


I’m trying to figure out if/how I could incorporate these ideas in my kids’ rooms! Thank you for the fun post!


I’ll follow this up with… and silly is a GREAT thing!!! Silly design is the best design, but so scary to do in ‘adult’ spaces. I love the EHD kids rooms!


Amazing bedroom designs, you know i m living in a pg on rent and now I,m gonna design that room just like the one I am seeing in pictures. Thank you for sharing the designs.


Oooo, this is fun! My daughter’s “closet” is also transformed into an art nook and she would be SOOOO into this. And I love design risks that are relatively easy and cheap to undo!


I love the color-blocked paint, but I don’t think it works with the floral wallpapers you’re considering. I think the contrast between geometric paint and feminine paper is going to look haphazard.


I have to agree. But we will probably all be amazed when we see how well it works.


I’m having scary memories of the time I wallpapered my daughter’s bathroom with a butterfly motif because that was her ultimate favorite creature. That love lasted not quite a year and taught me to select based on what mama likes! Wallpaper is expensive and taking it down to replace (or worse yet, to paint!) is the worst!


I’d almost ditch the wallpaper in favour of these interesting paint trends. I think it will grow with her more than the wallpaper will, plus it will be easier to swap out as she ages.

Cici Haus

Agree! I love both ideas but I’m not sure how they’ll play together, especially if the paint “spills out onto the wall.” The…wallpaper covered wall? Plus it looks like she loves to make her own art which would play better with the geometric paint treatment than with frilly wallpaper.

Bethany R

how have I not seen colorblocked walls before??! Absolutely love it. And I think it would go great with the floral wallpaper. If you can’t mix floral print and colorblocking in a kids room then where ELSE can you do it? And the family does have a 3 print minimum after all 🙂 I say go for it!


I really like the color-blocking idea!! It sounds like Violet’s parents aren’t afraid of a bit of maximalism, given that every room already has multiple colors and patterns, and there are going to be few opportunities to be as extra-yet-whimsical as with a 6-year-old’s room.

I think as long as the colors used for the color-blocking tie into the wallpaper (like corals and reds for the wallpaper on the left, or purples and blues for the wallpaper on the right), it’ll all flow together in a really playful way!

agreed. i think it can be quieter in color, but still give it some interest. I love watching this process unfold. Great job, Julie!


This room is going to be awesome! Violet is one lucky girl!


LOVE the colour block idea – so clever and yet so easy to do! I can’t quite see it with the wallpaper yet (and honestly love the idea of doing a whole room with colour geometry) but I’m sure you’ll make it look great! Also how good is that chandelier? I want that!


I love color blocking – can’t wait to see how you do this.
I need to start pinning some winter paint projects!


I am so into this! Love the wallpaper on the left because it’s much more bold and graphic, the other may feel too buys with all of the other things.
Also, I am obsessed with color blocking in rooms and cannot WAIT to see how you implement it. So. Much. Fun.


I love all white all the time, but I am excited for this color palette. My two young daughters who share a room always tell me I’m too plain, and I’ve promised them a newly painted room. I think the upcoming post is going to inspire me!

Ellen Switzer

I think i am going to incorporate color blocking with paint in my entryway and in my hallway. I REALLY love it.


The color blocking is reminding me of the time that Emily painted her guest room 3/4 up the wall a bright green and did an accent trim. At the time, I thought it was fun and did it myself too. But ultimately it just looked unfinished (I think Em even has that paint in a things she regrets post). I never found the motivation to cover such a saturated color, because that’s be so much paint/my time because I didn’t have money to hire it out. The geometric paint and the wallpaper sound beautiful, love pattern mixing!, but it is… Read more »

Roberta Davis

I think you do design for 6-year-olds and for everyone. I’m certain that whatever you do to this room will be fabulous!

Tina Schrader

I like this! I’d not thought of it! Wow. Great examples — and I’m not usually one for much color on the walls, or at least not all of them.

Vicki Williams

Those wallpapers are really beautiful but also very busy. After seeing her room now I was hoping for something that would take it down a notch. However you guys always do such a beautiful job I can hardly wait to see what’s next.


The Racheal Jackson yellow arch is more playful and youthful to me than the big blocks of color on the wall…like a little door to fairy land!

emily jane

Absolutely wonderful Julie : ) I am loving these elements together -a LOT! Without any more context, the wall paper on the left feels more special to me -the relief drew my eye in and had me looking for creatures within the pattern. Liz Kamarul uses paint and color in all kinds of dreamy ways -here, she wanted arches, soooo: Looking forward to you sharing more on this project!


Love Liz Kamarul’s work & just posted the same thing myself, ha! 🙂

Elizabeth Bear

Can’t wait to see how you use the color blocking in this bedroom. I know it will be really good! xo Elizabeth


The wallpaper will probably look great for the staged shots, but on a daily basis with toys strewn everywhere, I’d be afraid it would only add to the visual chaos! Love color blocking, though.


One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @liz_kamarul & she is a master of color blocking on her walls! Everything she posts, I find super inspirational. Love this idea for your young girl’s room. I think the wallpaper & color blocking could be fun together but I can also see the point of others who commented that the color blocking alone may work great for her fun artworks on the walls. Good luck on this fun project!

Oh yes! I have been seeing her newest project all over Instagram this week (I think first on Clever’s instagram account).

emily jane

: )!


Racheal @banyanbridges is one of my favorite Instagrammers!

just checked her out. SO much fun and what an explosion of creativity! Thank you for sharing.


I think this will work great! Some of the images are basically an abstract painting on a wall, so it will be like mixing modern art with traditional wallpaper.


These examples are pure GOLD. I’ve been seeking inspiration for our basement exercise room, which is long and narrow with a low ceiling. I want darker moody colors as it’s got gobs of bright can lighting. But wasn’t sure what to do about the ceiling. Now I’m going to be playing around with color blocking ideas. Thanks!


As a mom if a 5 year old I would stick to something they can change up (ie paint) easily. I would avoid wallpaper at all costs because it’s expensive and so hard to remove and any mom of a child knows they change their minds hourly. The color blocking is easy and can be changed up without hassle


I don’t think this room needs a redesign… I just think it needs wall color and less STUFF.

I love the paint trend though and would def do it if my SO would let me!


There’s an opportunity to take creative chances with a kid’s room that we don’t often get to try. Hopefully she won’t change her mind until she’s at least 11, which would give this design a good 5 year run. With the fairy theme, a color blocking concept for that nook could incorporate semi sheer colors, referencing an aura emanating from an enchanted area of the forest/meadow. Maybe also play with a few different subtle sheens to give it an almost glow. I’d also consider how the room looks at night, being an enchanted fairy garden, if some details show only… Read more »

Julie S

Ahhh I think I would ACTUALLY love that take on colorblocking and not just the idea of it!


I like the color blocking and think it would be a fun contrast with the wallpapers. My only concern is that the nook is both small and dark so it might be hard to have much of an impact unless you’re going to extend it to that whole wall…or at least part of it.


Yes to color blocking!!! This is one lucky girl!

Also, if she is into fairies and unicorns check out some Waldorf (education) toys websites, really magical. Also the way they paint rooms, they call it Lazure painting.


Oooooo, I’ve spent so much $$$ at the Reckless Unicorn for my infant daughter. Are Violet’s parents looking for a god-daughter? Haha, I love this – can’t wait to see more. Looking for inspiration for my daughter’s room in our new house.


I mean this in the nicest way possible, but I think you mean “simple” not “simplistic”.

Jordan Pace

Yes! Love it! Do it!


I like option 2 as it has all that negative space to integrate with the color blocking idea. Can’t wait to see what you come up with in this regard as I would go with one or the other but not both! I can see the art nook paint color branching out to the room creating a place for the child to hang her art. I agree with some of the other comments that hopefully the room won’t seem too busy with wallpaper, color blocking and all her stuff!


Option 1 wallpaper. Option 1. Option 1, please!


I love the color blocking walls trend! So fun and can easily be changed when you’re ready for something new! Go for it 🙂


Have you considered doing the wallpaper inside the art area, with the color blocking on the main walls of the room? I think that would be really interesting without being overwhelming.


I love that idea too! The color blocking is freaking amazing!


I think this is a great idea as well. My mom wallpapered my room when I was 3 and I selected a ballerina theme. While it was beautiful, it quickly became “babyish” by the time I was 7-8 years old. While I’m lucky that my parents were able to remove it for me by the time I was in Jr. High, I just remember wishing my room was “plain” like other kids’. Long story short, I would be hesitant to put wallpaper in a kids room, and would love to see the paint technique applied instead – much easier to… Read more »


I LOVE the light fixture. I would have it in my living room in a heartbeat. Hope you keep it!


I think color-blocking would be a unique and fun idea for the nook. Because of the boldness of the wallpaper choices, I could see a more subtle color-blocking with several of the lighter colors found in the wallpaper. I am excited to see what you end up doing!


In my opinion colorblocked walls will look great with the floral wallpaper. It is a kids room after all. Also why didn’t I know about colorblocked walls before? They look nice!


I would considering sticking with a removable wallcovering. There are some great options out there and this will allow the space to be transformed easier in the future.


Check out @liz_kamarul for amazing, free handed color blocking!

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