One Kings Lane One Kings Lane

Weekend Decorator

Give Your Closet a Colorful Makeover

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When creating a home that you love, it’s all about the details. For instance, when good friends of mine bought an 1840s brownstone with a small built-in closet, they asked me to give it some new life. With the addition of a bit of paint, wallpaper, and nail-head trim, the storage space became a stylish showcase for their linens.

Here’s my step-by-step guide to this project… 


I begin by painting all the surfaces in the closet that would not be covered with wallpaper. I chose Summer Blue because it’s a bold color that’s a close match to one of the blues in the paper.

I also painted the inside of the door for added drama and color. I chose to leave the sides of the door white so that the blue would be invisible when the door is shut.

Adding the Trim

I like the look of nail heads, but the idea of hammering every single one in is intimidating (and tiring). I was thrilled to find out you can buy strips of nail-head trim. You simply cut the strips to the length you need and attach each strip with a few matching single nail heads.

What You’ll Need:

  • Several lengths of nail-head trim (enough to cover the shelf edges)
  • Scissors (not pictured)
  • Individual nail heads in a matching finish (enough to secure your trim)
  • Hammer

1. Begin by removing the shelves if possible.

2. Cut your nail-head trim to length with scissors.

3. Hammer the trim in place with the loose nail heads using the holes already in the trim.

Nail heads and trim from Zarin Fabrics.


Hanging Wallpaper

If you have never wallpapered before, a small space like a closet is a great place to try it. If you would rather leave it to a professional, ask your local paint store for a recommendation. Wallpapering on a small scale, though, requires less skill than you might think—honest!


What You’ll Need:

  • Wallpaper
  • Wallpaper paste and brush
  • Measuring tape or yardstick
  • Box cutter
  • Plastic wallpaper smoother

1. Measure your wall to determine the length and number of wallpaper pieces you will need. Keep in mind that you will need extra length on the top and bottom of the paper to allow the pattern to match at the seams.

2. Cut the paper into the desired lengths.

3. Apply wallpaper paste generously to the wall with a coarse brush. Working in sections, apply paste only to the area of the wall where you plan to hang the next piece.

4. I prefer to work from left to right to position the paper on the wall. Use the corner of the adjacent wall to help keep the paper straight.

5. Once the paper is in place, use your smoother to remove any air bubbles by working them to the edges. Because the glue stays wet for a few minutes, it’s fairly easy to adjust the position of the paper and work out any large bubbles that may appear. (Don’t worry if all the bubbles don’t come out immediately. As the paper dries, it will tighten up, and the surface will smooth out.)

Tip: It’s also a good idea to have a damp sponge on hand to wipe up any excess glue.

6. Using your smoother as a straight edge, cut the excess paper from the top and bottom of the wall with the box cutter.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 until the entire surface is papered.

Tip: Prepasted wallpapers are simpler to work with but require slightly different steps.

Plastic wallpaper smoother and wallpaper paste from Aubuchon Hardware.
Wallpaper is Margarita Floral from Kreme Life.

Eric and I placing small bath items in a basket for tidy storage as Sheriff looks on.

And there you have it… happiness in a closet. Just think how inspired you’ll be to keep things tidy! We’re dying to see what fun projects you’re up to! Send along some snaps using the hashtag #weekenddecorator and happy DIYing.

Photography by Lesley Unruh

Picks Worthy of a Pretty Closet

Wool Blend Storage Basket, Gray
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S/2 Iron Branch Hooks
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Solid Cashmere-Blend Throw, Camel
Every linen closet should have a ready-to-wrap throw stashed inside. Solid Cashmere-Blend Throw, Camel Shop Now

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