Step by Step: How To Turn Inspiration Into Decoration

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Once a week on Apartment Therapy we have an "On The Wall" post, where we pick out a particularly excellent poster, print, artwork that would look great in a kid's room or nursery. These pieces of art make great starting points for a room, too. However, sometimes it can be hard to work out: how do you turn a piece of art into a plan for an actual room? Well, here is how I go about it, starting with a poster I own: Charley Harper's "Space for all Species".

1. Determine the color palette of your artwork. Working out what colors are used in your artwork will help you pick the colors of furnishings for your nursery. Don't fret: there are online tools to help you with this! You can use the Chip It! tool from Sherwin-Williams or a more tech-y tool like this one from CSS Drive. After using the Chipit! tool, my poster now had these 10 possible colors along-side it. (shown above)

You can see pretty clearly that the tool hasn't selected every color in the poster, so I may still want to do some adjusting of the palette of my own. Don't forget you may also need a neutral color to work with in your nursery. The grays in this palette can work as neutrals, but I could also choose white, the background of this poster, to be a neutral for the room. 

2. Take a closer look at the shapes and textures in your artwork. The poster I am using is composed of stripes, polka dots and strong lines. This means I will be looking for those elements in objects that I will add to the room. Maybe your artwork has fuzzy edges, or girly-swirls. I took a look for a few stripey, polka-dotty pieces in my color scheme and came up with this:

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3. Next, include references to what your artwork is about. This will probably be super easy, since it's usually what draws us to a piece of art in the first place. Is your artwork nautical? Beachy? A forest? A party? Or like mine, something from nature? Reference the theme from your artwork in at least one other place in your decor.

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4. Last of all, don't forget to add something surprising. No one likes a matchy-matchy room - it will appear too sterile and forced. Choose something small that is completely outside of your scheme to add to the nursery. Maybe it's a family heirloom, or a wacky knick-knack you saw at a flea market and just had to bring home. For me it would be some of these printed reclaimed wood signs from Wood & Wool Stool:

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Well, there is my first pass at a "Space for all Species" room. What do you think? I would probably go back now to my original color palette and assess whether or not I feature enough of a particular color. In this case, I might want to add a little more gray somehow, perhaps when I am choosing my paint, or I might switch out the green rug for a gray one.

If you are looking for artwork to try this with, don't forget to check out our "On The Wall" series of posts, starting here. Simply click through to view the whole lot.

Items pictured in my final image are (clockwise from top left):


(Images: as linked above)