Stenciled Walls Are Making a Comeback, and They're Cooler Than You Remember

Hadley Keller
Photo credit: Rikki Snyder

From House Beautiful

Hear the phrase "stenciled walls," and your mid may well turn to bad '90s accent trim. But, in one Hudson Valley Airbnb, where 10 designers redecorated for the Kingston Design Showhouse, designer Marla Walker proved that the technique can be a pretty—and personalized!—alternative to expensive wallpaper.

When tasked with decorating the entryway of the 1890 home in historic Kingston, New York, "I wanted to do something that reflected the area," Walker explains. So, she enlisted artist and friend Ruby Palmer to create a custom design incorporating local elements (an apple for the region's many orchards, tree motif for its forests, and local squirrel), and then transferred it onto a stencil.

Photo credit: Rikki Snyder

She and Palmer worked together to paint the stenciled design onto the home's walls—a task the designer had never attempted. Turns out, it's easier than expected to pick up. "You get the hang of it pretty quickly," Walker says. "The first ones aren't perfect, but I like that that gives it a hand-painted feel." The two also created a simple rose design to complement the larger motif, painting that on in rows between for an added pattern.

Love the look? Try it at home by cutting out your own stencil design, then measuring out evenly-spaced placements on your wall and painting on with your choice of color. Want an allover pattern? Stencil over the whole wall, for a wallpaper look that's a fraction of the price—and infinitely more personalized.

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