'W' for Wallpaper Dining Room The Victorian House

Grisaille Wallpaper

I know what I want to do in the dining room. Problem is, I probably can’t.

Nuvole Cole & Sons Wallpaper, Barnaba Fornasetti, Elle Decor
Barnaba Fornasetti, Elle Decor

Hand-painted de Gourney Wallpaper
Sasha Bikoff, Domaine Home

The first design above is Fornasetti’s Nuvole mural, from Cole & Sons. The second features a hand-painted wallpaper design by de Gournay. There’s a reason you tend to see this style in high-end shelter magazines, and not, say, in the homes of bloggers. Grisaille wallpaper tends to be ridiculously, prohibitively expensive. The only relatively affordable version I’m aware of is the Etched Arcadia mural from Anthropologie, which I’ve wanted for a good two years now.

Etched Arcadia Mural Grisaille Wallpaper from Anthropologie

Kristin Perers, Etched Arcadia Mural
Kristin Perers, House & Garden

I’ve thought a lot about the flow from room to room downstairs and determining where I’d like to go bold with color, where I want to be more restrained, and where I want to add pattern. I love the black walls in the second parlor, and an amazing wallpaper to play off of that in the dining room would be perfect.

Dining Room

I’d go for the Etched Arcadia Mural, but it’s only 9’x12′ and the ends don’t match up to form a repeating pattern. The design’s 9′ height would work in the dining room because the baseboards and ceiling beams shorten the 10′ vertical wall space by just enough, but the problem comes in from the 12′ length. Even the two shortest walls are a couple of inches too long, and the longer walls would definitely have a visible seam somewhere. I like the look of a framed out mural, but the room is chopped up with doorways and windows, so there isn’t a good blank wall for it.

I’ve been looking around the house, wondering if there’s an alternative spot that would work. Maybe the bathroom design goes in this direction instead of floral? That’s still a bit up in the air. As for the dining room though, I think it’s back to looking at more wallpaper options.

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  • Sarah
    May 27, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    You have the best ideas! By the way are you a fan of Kinsey Millhone?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 27, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      The Sue Grafton character? I haven’t read any of her books. Why do you ask?

      • Sarah
        May 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        You titled your post “W is for Wallpaper” and that’s how she titles her books :)

      • Making it Lovely
        May 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm

        Oh, right! :)

  • Curious
    May 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Just curious, how expensive IS “ridiculously, prohibitively expensive”?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 27, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Depending on the design, most of the ones I’ve looked at would at least $5000-10,000 for a room. I spent $500 to do the similarly sized dining room at our old house, and even the Etched Arcadia would probably be $1500 to do all four walls (not that the pattern would line up).

      • Curious
        May 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

        Wow, that really IS ridiculous. Thanks!

  • Vanessa
    May 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Can you find a local artist to do something similar? Then it would truly be one of a kind.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      I like that idea, but I can’t imagine it would be a more affordable option. I used to do murals (for kids’ rooms — not in this style), and they’re pretty time-intensive.

      I did just have a flashback of doing black and white stippling projects in high school, and copying the art on the back of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. High school me would have been all over this project for cheap (with likely questionable results!).

    • Jessica S.
      May 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm

      I was just about to suggest the same thing. Couldn’t you hire a muralist to recreate this look?

  • Mudrick
    May 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    How about Spoonflower? Do they do murals?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      They do sell user-created wallpaper, and you can make your own, but I don’t have a design to use and I don’t think they have anything in this style for purchase.

  • ColeBern
    May 27, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    What about a company like: http://www.designyourwall.com/ ?

    • Making it Lovely
      May 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      That’s a good option, but it runs into the same problems as with Spoonflower.

  • Vanessa
    May 27, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    If you found an image you could always do the overhead projector thing and trace it on the walls. Those images look like etchings or prints. I’m sure you could find something in an art book.

    • Making it Lovely
      May 27, 2014 at 2:42 pm

      True. Maybe I’ll start looking around. I can give it a try, and if I mess up, it’s easy enough to just paint over and do something else.

      • Sandra
        May 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm

        Love that idea! But remove the “Maybe” it will creates a more positive sentence! And change your I can to I will! :)

      • Making it Lovely
        May 27, 2014 at 3:11 pm

        “I will start looking around, and give it a try!”

  • Janine
    May 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Maybe you can “fake it til someone makes it”.


    I mean, that approach provides you with the friendly trees and hills, and you would create your own grisaille scenes. To be honest, I think you could pull it off really easily, I think you have the talent.

    Maybe paint the walls a pale grey (BM November Rain, maybe?) and then choose a darker grey and white as a highlight. If you bought a small, smooth canvas you could try it first just sitting at the dining room one evening. It doesn’t have to be perfect, not even close.

    • Janine
      May 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Bwaaaahahahaha! I feel this is appropriate!


      • Making it Lovely
        May 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm

        OK, now I want to channel my inner Bob Ross.

    • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
      May 27, 2014 at 4:42 pm

      Ohwow. That is so beautiful. The various murals. Same shades are really gorgeous. For whatever reasons they trick the eye. Makes a room have amazing depth. This will be a great new project to tackle Nicole. Can’t wait to take a few peeks!

  • Jennifer Laura
    May 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    You should have someone quote you to do a custom mural, it’s probably not as expensive as you would think.

  • Catherine
    May 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Have you thought about getting large samples of your favorite wallpaper and maybe framing those? It would be a less expensive option. And I really love Ellie Cashman’s wallpaper. She made the paper that Cupcakes & Cashmere has in her bathroom, but she has lot of other gorgeous floral styles, too.

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators
    May 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Have you seen the hand-painted mural that Christine Dovey had installed at one of her client’s homes:

    And, I believe, that home is in Chicago ;) Might be worth looking into!

  • Marcee ... ILLINOIS
    May 27, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Not kidding …. I watch Bob Ross repeats! What a soothing voice. Wish I could paint. Sadly no. Previous comment posted was regarding Janine’s suggestions. Really nice store. So many lovely things to consider. Hey Nicole, I absolutely l-o-v-e Fornasetti’s designs! Owner of 2 pillows, and 4 plates! Wish I could purchase that painted cabinet …. my favorite things to collect over the years. Everyone should have at least 1!

  • Mara
    May 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    Did you see the Oh Happy Day blog today? You may find your answer there :)

  • Ruth Thomas
    May 27, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Hi,It’s my first time to ever “comment” on anthing on a blog (*I’m always just a lurker)
    I was looking for something to cover the closets (full wall worth) of my son’s room.
    I wanted to use pattern but also make the room look bigger….
    I am going to buy this jaguar in the tree mural (but they have others)..it’s kinda the same price as Anthro’s
    one (that I have been coveting for 2 years too)
    AND the green watercolor for the main bedroom
    Take a look and let me know if you like it….
    (*if you want “after pics,also let me know♡)
    ***from a fan in JAPAN♡

  • Andrea
    May 28, 2014 at 4:10 am

    This company produce the most amazing wallpaper murals and look great on one wall.



  • Xenia
    May 28, 2014 at 10:05 am

    I have been IMMENSELY DESIRING this wallpaper ever since I saw it, so I know how you feel.

  • Jennifer
    May 28, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I can’t wait to see what you do. You do well at having an affordable High End design aesthetic so it will be fun to see how you accomplish what you want.

  • Mandi
    May 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    I would talk with a local printer. I am a graphic designer and i have partnered with a printer numerous times to create wall covering. It would come out like the anthropologie one in strips and you would apply it like wallpaper. You could have a designer to do something for you – or you could do it yourself and then print it. Shutterstock would have options. I am glad to answer any questions you have as I have done it quite a few times.. :)

  • Lesley
    May 29, 2014 at 4:31 am

    First one is mindblowing. Not only the wallpaper all the things use to decorated the room are unique. Chair with the floral work and the chest at its best. Love them all! Great ideas.

  • Antonella
    May 29, 2014 at 6:15 am

    How about this possibility? I’m thinking of the last photo as a guideline for a wallpaper-like solution

  • Sarah's Fab Day
    May 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

    This made me think of the bedroom of Joni from Cote de Texas. Might be worth a look for her source.


  • DawnV
    May 29, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Maybe you could go with a more affordable wallpaper option? I am putting these in order of not too expensive to not too affordable:
    http://elliecashmandesign.com/webshop/wallpaper-collection/dark-floral (I actually can’t tell how much this is per roll…)

  • Kate
    May 30, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Hey Nicole! This post reminded me of some wallpaper I saw on Pinterest. I’m not sure if the style is what you want or what the total price would end up being, but it seems like it may be more reasonable: http://www.jarlathmellett.com/?page_id=913

    Some of the patterns are really not your style from what I can tell (or mine), but I am wondering if the tree-like pattern at the far bottom right would appeal to you.

  • Melissa de la Fuente
    May 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I love this idea and that first wallpaper is so gorgeous. I love the Arcadia mural too and have been stalking it…..I wonder…I am sure you have already thought of this but, what if someone were to take a photograph of the sky ( clouds and all, print it out in black and white and have it produced by one of those companies that will print out your own wallpaper for you ( http://www.designyourwall.com/store/favoritedrawing.php) …would it maybe be like the first image? Would it be prohibitively expensive as well? Could you have Staples print out a dozen poster size copies ( or however many you needed) and over lap them? Just brainstorming….Such a great idea for your space!

  • Elizabeth
    May 30, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Chiming in late, but Erin at Design Crisis recently “revealed” a room with a similar but bolder/more abstract wallpaper. It’s Bain de Minuet from Designer’s Guild, and it comes in a couple of black/white/gray colorways. It might give a look similar to grisaille, but at less expense?

    This is her post with pictures of how she used it: http://design-crisis.com/one-room-challenge-week-six-reveal-2/

    And here is the DG site: http://www.designersguild.com/fabric-and-wallpaper-showroom/view-all-collections/belles-rives-wallpaper/bain-de-minuit

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  • Jennifer
    June 5, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I found this today and thought this post. This painted desk kind of reminded me of the cloud wall paper (more abstract and green version) I didn’t know if you could use this method (with black, greys and whites and in a grander scale) to recreate that wall paper. I like what you are thinking of now too. Whatever you do it will look great.


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  • Honor Roll - Making it Lovely
    February 8, 2019 at 11:11 am

    […] Back in 2014, I had my eye on Anthropologie’s Etched Arcadia Wall Mural for this house, noting that I had been wanting it for years. I’m not a big accent wall person (I think it works better in photos and for the ‘gram) so I couldn’t think of a place to use a mural. Then, bing! I realized I have an inset wall by the back door that would be perfect. I’m finally going for it. […]