Spring ’23 One Room Challenge|Whimsical Parlor| Wallpaper and Paint


Its week SIX of the Spring 2023 One Room Challenge, and we are nearing the finish line! In case you are new here, the One Room Challenge is a biannual online event where home bloggers and design professionals endeavor to complete one room (or two, like I did in Fall ORC ’22),  in eight weeks! Each week we share our progress on our blogs and social media, leading up to the final reveal in Week Eight – which this year will be May 24-28. The ORC is not a competition, as there is no winner, just a supportive group of like-minded design enthusiasts challenging themselves to complete a room in eight weeks. Huge thanks to Linda Weinstein, the creator and director of the One Room Challenge, and Apartment Therapy, official media sponsors of the ORC!

Choosing Wallpaper:

Last week, I shared the sweet little settee I fancied up by painting the frame and upholstering it in a smart black and white awning stripe. This week, I made a lot of progress because, after WEEKS of poring over wallpaper and paint samples, I finally made a decision, and committed to a gorgeous paint color, and an even more jaw-dropping wallpaper! Here were just some of the wallpapers and paint colors I considered:

As I mentioned in Week Three when we refinished our hardwood floors, I find making big design decisions for my own home very difficult, and choosing the wallpaper and paint for this room was no exception. I felt completely confident that I wanted wallpaper on the ceiling of this room, because it seemed like the perfect room for this application. Since there are only walls on three sides, and it’s so open to the foyer, I knew that wallpaper on the ceiling would make an impact. But there are SO many amazing wallpaper patterns to choose from! The first way I went about eliminating them was by color. I already had several large pieces of furniture in the room that I was keeping, namely –

1.One big boat of a sofa, upholstered in an aqua velvet, (holding a boatload of colorful, patterned throw pillows)

2. A colorful, hand painted, Indonesian cabinet

3. A pair of blue and white porcelain garden stools

4. Our zebra skin rug

5. And a pair of black lacquer Ming style chairs, upholstered in a brown and black tiger pattern cut velvet.

Whew! That’s a lot of different colors and patterns to tie together! Here’s a snap of the parlor before I started this challenge:


Oh, and that yellowish green piece of velvet draped over the sofa I had already decided would be the curtains!  So I needed either a wallpaper that included little bits of all the colors I already had in the room, or something that had a lot of one or two of the main colors. I also eliminated any patterns that were very directional – like stripes – as I felt that wasn’t the best choice for a ceiling that could be viewed from many different angles. Lastly, when I reached out to Milton & King to ask if they would be willing to collaborate with me again, (and they graciously agreed – YAY!!), that narrowed down my choices to using a Milton & King wallpaper. But, if you’ve ever stopped by their website, you will know that doesn’t mean I had a few patterns to choose from – their selection is massive – and ranges from fun, pop-art graphics, to dark and moody florals, to murals, and everything in between. They also make it super easy to filter by color, pattern, style, or type of room. And the built-in wallpaper calculator has been spot-on for calculating how many rolls I’ll need every time I’ve used it. So by the time I started this challenge, I had pretty much narrowed the hundreds of selections down to these two:


Milton & King Papilio Wallpaper in pink
Milton & King Flower Pool Wallpaper in full bloom

Both of these patterns happen to be part of Milton & King’s Kingdom Home collection, and coincidentally, so is the Cranes Wallpaper in Midori which I used in my Fall ’22 ORC Butler’s Pantry! I am obsessed with all of their patterns, and I’m thinking I may need to try one of their stunning murals for my next ORC! 

So as a totally visual thinker, I created mood boards using both of these wallpapers with different shades of pink wall colors. The scale got distorted once I manipulated the images in my design software, but they still gave a pretty good idea of how the two schemes would turn out:

So hard to choose! I spent days looking at both patterns taped to my ceiling with various paint swatches on the walls. I asked my husband and kids. I even asked people to weigh in on an Instagram post, but all the votes were about 50/50, so I was back at square one. But a fellow designer, Cristina Mullins of Camino Collective Home, asked a good question (and one that I always ask my clients but hadn’t really asked myself), how do I want the room to feel? Whereas the butterflies are more open and airy, the flowers are more moody and embracing. And since I have lots of other open and airy rooms in this house, I decided I did want this little parlor to give me a warm hug when I spend time in it. I also have always loved a floral pattern with a dark background, and loved the pretty and colorful, yet edgy vibe it brought to the room, so I chose Flower Pool.

Choosing Paint:

Now that my decision had been made on the wallpaper, it was time to choose the right paint to go with it. In the mood boards I had paired Flower Pool with SW6317 Gracious Rose, I wasn’t loving the sample in real life on my walls. It was just a little too pink in my opinion, so I went in search of a slightly “dirtier” pink, that would come across as a little more grown up.

So more large samples were ordered, stuck on the walls, and agonized over and over and over again. And the winner was:

So with the wallpaper and paint color finally chosen and ordered, it was time to schedule my awesome painters (Victory Renovation Services), and amazing wallpaper installer (Cathy Patterson) to work their magic!

Prepping, Papering, and Painting

Although we had only just repainted the parlor last July right before we moved in, I had several things hung on the walls. Victor and Adilson Najarro, of Victory Renovation Services showed up early on Friday morning to start prepping the walls for paint. Cathy had agreed to do the wallpaper only on one condition – that Adilson help her, as hanging wallpaper on ceilings is not easy, and really requires two people! But Adilson was looking forward to learning the trade, and Cathy is an excellent teacher, so together they started the process of cutting, pasting, booking, and hanging.

As the two of them hung each strip, Victor painted, and by 2pm, the room had been transformed! But next came yet another difficult decision – what color to paint the trim!

Choosing a Trim Color

I asked Adilson and Victor ahead of time if we could try out a couple of trim options once the wallpaper and paint were up, and they graciously agreed. I had three choices, keep all the rim white, “color drench” the room by painting the walls, crown moulding, and window trim all the same color, or pull the black from the wallpaper and paint the trim black. Here is a great example of the color drenching effect in this stunning room by Celerie Kemble on the cover of this month’s Luxe Interiors + Design magazine:


But here’s another fabulous room by Celerie Kemble, where she’s painted all the trim, crown moulding, and baseboards black:

Here are both options painted on my crown moulding – Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black on the left, and Ben Moore Ciao Bella on the right:

Both were stunning and unique, but I didn’t have the luxury of time to ask everyone I knew, post it on IG, and stare at it for weeks. I had to make a decision on the spot, and I chickened out. I chose to keep the trim white, and I’m still not sure if I made the right decision. Part of me wants to set up a ladder tonight and start painting all that trim either black or Ciao Bella, and the other part wants to wait until I have the curtains and everything else in the room before I make a final decision. And since the cans of Tricorn Black and Ciao Bella are almost empty, and I’m not sure I trust my trim-painting skills, I think I’ll just have to wait. Taking risks is hard!! But I’m proud of myself for taking the big risk of putting a bold wallpaper on the ceiling, and painting my parlor walls pink! And my favorite addition to the room is the great, big ceiling medallion I ordered from Architectural Depot

So here’s the Whimsical, Pink Parlor for now! Check back in next week to see the gallery wall and accessories!!

And don’t forget to check out this weeks One Room Challenge updates from all the other fabulously creative participants here!


Cheers to Fab Interiors,





Here is my ORC progress

Week 1  ||  Week 2  ||  Week 3  ||  Week 4  ||  Week 5  ||  Week 6 ||  Week 7  ||  Week 8