Punching up the the built-in.

I picked a the "greige" shade of my living room + music room with intent. I wanted something classic and fairly neutral without being beige. The plan was to have that as the canvas and then add punches of pattern strategically to punch up the look in a non permanent way. Kind of like throw pillows on a classic couch. But since I don't have a couch on which to throw pillows just yet, I'm turning my attention to the finally finished (but not to my specifications but Ive given up and let it go, sort of) built-in unit.
Built-in complete!

So one way I'm going to carry that concept is to wallpaper* the back of my built-in unit. I got several samples from graham & brown . I discounted half of the samples right out of the envelope because I didn't like the pattern up close as much as I liked it online. That left me with 4 options.
Option 1 (starting at left side) - Beige damask with gold pattern. I like it but it doesn't have much impact. Good b/c it will be subtle and not compete too much with what's on display. Bad because it doesn't have wow factor.
Option 2 - Flocked Victorian pattern - brown on bronze background. Has wow factor but is in a bit in the wrong color family for what I'm going for. Its definitely the nicest choice of paper but I'm sorry to say I don't think it will work for me.
Option 3 - Silver/Charcoal damask - Has wow factor and punch and has the right color scheme. Might be too much to put behind display items.
Option 4 - I liked it out of the envelope but its just not right for this so scratch that.

What say you?

*Actually I'm not going to wallpaper it in the typical way since I want to be able to remove it really easily when I'm sick of it. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do this in a way to looks like its been pasted on but really is not affixed. My first idea was to affix it to poster board cut to the size of each shelf but b/c the unit shelves aren't perfectly straight (another reason to be angry but as you can plainly see, I'm letting it go :) ), that would look wonky. I could use double sided tape but that probably will look like a poster hanging up. Open to ideas on this one.


  1. Anonymous10:00 AM

    i like the first one. i think you have to go very subtle b/c once you add display items it might compete like you said.

    i have no clue how you could affix such that it could be removed later though :-(

  2. If you are going to place books on the shelving... you will have quite a bit going on already with different colours, sizes, and shapes... my feeling is that any more pattern and colour behind will be too "busy" and detract from the overall look of the unit. If it was me I wouldn't put anything in at all...but...that is me.

  3. They're all fabulous, but I think I like option 3 the best. I had a friend who used sticky tack... that yellow stuff they use in elementary schools. Somehow it worked, but it left little greasy smudges behind that would have to be touched up with paint if you ever took it down.

    Everything looks wonderful!

  4. Love option 2 but it is too much for this project. 4 would probably work best. Try cutting a piece of luan to fit each area. And paper each piece prior to installing it. They might fit snugly in place without having to nail it in. Good luck.

  5. Anonymous12:05 PM

    I would have to say for what you intend to do with it, #1 is the best bet. It is a subtle way to add some elegance without overpowering or competing with whatever is displayed.

    That said, #3 is absolutely gorgeous and you should find a place for this in your house. I am in love with the over sized demask.

  6. Anonymous12:16 PM

    I think I'd go with the first one...it's very subtle you don't want to compete with everything else you'll be putting there.

    I like the idea of being able to take them down easily.

    Nice touch,
    Kathy :)

  7. I like number 3. It has the most wow without being garish.

    Not sure how to advise on application. I was thinking poster board as well, but with crooked shelves, I'm not sure.

    Great idea, though.

  8. I was waiting to see what the others would say , although you know my vote it should be said I vote #3 I think the scale is good not to get busy and I like the bold color.
    That being said your style and taste is very glamorous and tasteful whatever you choose will be superb , as it has always been in all your numerous decisions.
    Thank you for your take on my wall issue.

  9. I am so glad you visited me, it reminded me how much I love reading your blog! Thank you, I am now adding you to my new google reader! I caught up on all the posts I missed, WOW it is just looking amazing at your place! What a dream to be able to renovate something like that!

    As far as the wallpaper, I think the first one would give you a bit of subtle pizazz. While I love the others, if the goal is to show off your collections then you want to be subtle in the background. It would also depend on what exactly you were going to put on the shelves, if it is all creamy ironstone or something you might want a darker color background.

    Thanks so much for sharing all of your progress, I drooled over your kitchen (I love my soapstone, but I only have a little bit, the rest is wood). I drooled over your closet, divine! I guess I just drooled over everything here. Love it all! Keep up the good work!

    Happy day,

  10. #1 for sure - have you tried Farrow and Ball - they have new grey colorways in their line.

  11. Anonymous8:00 PM

    I think #1 would fit in best with the rest of your choices which all are tasteful, elegant and subtle. The others are very nice but would compete too much with any items displayed.

    I'm sure whatever you choose will end up looking fabulous, just like everything else in your house.

  12. I like the first one. You could use spray adhesive to stick it up. Another idea that I've seen that might work is to use fabric and stick it to up with starch. Here's a link with a how-to (http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/dc_fabrics_other/article/0,,HGTV_3390_4077541,00.html). I can imagine that it would be messy but you can get some fabulous fabrics that would really give you a pop but would also be temporary.

  13. I like the 3rd one but agree that it might compete with your "stuff". It might be wiser to pick a more neutral pattern that doesn't compete, but then the *punch* is gone! I'd go for the gusto and do #3...to hell with your accessories. ;)

  14. I've already posted a message on your photo album. What I'm wondering is just how did you decide which "greige" color to go with? Your pics all look so great and was delighted to see you had used Silver Fox. I already had painted a board that color, at night it's great, during the day it looks purple in my house. It seems alot of my things have a yellow/green cast. We were at an idea house where they had used BM Wythe Blue (bedroom) and Stardust (bathroom), when I got home and checked the BM fandeck I thought that (stardust) can't be the right color. So, do I sell all my art or go with a more tan color? What's a girl to do?

  15. Spudderbud: I knew I wanted gray but it had to be on the warm side b/c of the wood tones and the furniture I like. I had seen Silver Fox mentioned in a magazine and did a google search for it. I was lucky to find another blogger (http://katek.wordpress.com/) who had painted her living room Silver Fox. I loved her photos so much, that made the decision for me. Its the perfect shade for me.

    I would STRONGLY suggest not going with Stardust (which is one shade darker than Silver Fox). I painted one of my bathrooms in that color and its not gray at all once its on the wall. If you look at my earlier posts about repainting the bathroom, you can see its very brown. A nice color if you want brown, not so nice if you want gray.

    Thanks for everyone weighing in. I thought I was pretty set on the third one but everyones comments definitely give me pause. I did a really bad mockup using photoship and the first one definitely looks better but for some reason Im still drawn to the third option when Im looking at the samples in person. Decisions, decisions.

  16. You can also try mounting the wallpaper (using spray glue) on foam core (the thin styrofoam architects use to make their models). The foam core can be cut to fit your 'wonky' spaces, but it is just thick enough to provide a nice flat surface for the wallpaper.

  17. on the topic of Silver Fox, here's another interesting entry...

  18. oops, meant to attach this:

  19. Thanks. I saw that before I painted (I googled all my colors like the crazy person I am) but it doesn't look silver fox to me at all? The description is right but the photo must be a mistake.

  20. Even before reading your pros/cons of each, I was immediately drawn to option #3. It just "looks" the best to me.

  21. paint in a metallic - a silvery fox, silvery gray would be gorgeous and perhaps less money than paper.
    love the patterns but perhaps in a rug or art would be a wiser investment.

  22. Pve - Hmmm...silver would look pretty fab. I think silver leaf is out of the budget and not very easy to cover up later. Is there a silver paint you suggest? I used the silver radiator paint on my clawfoot tub and its pretty lackluster. The only other silver paint I know about are the tiny little jars but I'd need so many of those!

  23. Anonymous1:13 PM

    I'm drawn to number 3.

    That being said, maybe there would be a way to selectively place this so that it will NOT compete with special pieces? I.E. stagger or pattern it somehow?

  24. I have kind of the same project, and have landed on a similar to the one on the left b/c it (in my opinion) will be too much with too much color and pattern when I'm displaying books and things on the shelves.
    I think I'm going to staple mine top and bottom, and cover the staples with trimmings that I glue in place. Easy to remove, if (when) I change my mind.

  25. On installing the wallpaper temporarily - I would use white matboard which is found at any art supply store. Around $10 for 32" x 40" sheet. It will offer a smooth, even surface for applying the paper. It is approx 1/8" thick and more sturdy than posterboard. Foamcore can become creased or dented which will show up when you adhere the wallpaper, especially if the paper has any sheen to it.
    3M spraymount (aka spray adhesive) will, I think, give the best results for applying the wallpaper to the mat board. I highly recommend the repositionable kind which allows for "do overs". Measure the backs of the shelves as best you can and using a scalpel and metal ruler cut the matboard to size. If you are a bit off, matboard can be filed with a nail file to get the edges perfectly fit to the back of the cabinet. It will take some extra time, but very do-able.
    I have created numerous presentation boards, therefore I am intimitely acquainted with these products (and many others that don't work). This is what I would do to affix the wallpaper without permanently adhering it to the back of the cabinet. The edges may not be quite as perfect as they would be if you were to do a traditional application, but I don't think anyone but you would ever notice. Especially when you have your display items on the shelves. I completely understand not wanting to do anything permanent, I wouldn't either. This way you can have to look you desire while maintaining the ability to easily change it.
    BTW - house is absolutely gorgeous! I like the first wallpaper sample best, but as always a photo always looks different than in person. Good luck!! :)

  26. Jann Neiers3:33 PM

    I LOVE number 4....beautiful.

  27. 6 years late, but for future reference... starch.


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