Metallic Gold and Soft Green Walls - a DIY paint alternative to pricey wallpaper

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by Robin

We've never had a powder room before.  I've always wanted one - they just sound classy - a room just for POWDERING things!  How decadent!  I hardly know what to powder (my nose? my wig? donuts?), but I wanted to join the powder room club.

But beyond that silly thought - I've often admired the advice from decorating shows: the powder room is the smallest room in your house - treat it like a jewel box - you can splurge on an expensive wallpaper - even on a small budget!  Splurge on a budget!?!  That's right in my wheelhouse.

Last month when we turned closet (with no rough-in!) into a basement bathroom I was thrilled to follow that advice.  I went searching for the perfect wallpaper - price be damned!  I'm making a Jewel Box.  After careful searching, I found one I loved.  It was this Farrow and Ball Wallpaper.  It was going to look lovely: graceful, organic, classic but still modern.  I was sold.

And then I checked the price.  $350 per roll!  I'd need at least 2.  That's $700 just for wallpaper!!!  What?!?!  That's not going to happen.  I couldn't even afford enough of this wallpaper to decorate an actual jewel box.

So, it called for some creativity.  And after some searching, I came up with a much more affordable alternative - which I love even more!  Home Depot liked my idea too and gave us a gift card to cover our costs!

Our project turned out more beautiful than I even pictured.

Here are the details on our budget-friendly alternative to elegant designer wallpaper.  It's modern and graceful and soft green and shimmery gold...


gold paint

BEHR MARQUEE 1 gal. #T18-10 Wabi-Sabi Eggshell Enamel Interior Paint and Primer in One

NEW! ⇒ If a Video Tutorial is more your style - scroll to the bottom - we've got a video there for you!


Tape off anything you don't want to be painted. 
What I wish I knew: the gold paint is VERY splattery.  Cover all surfaces you don't want gilded.  We were able to scrape splatters off the sink and toilet - but the floating wood vanity countertop was much more difficult.  Don't make our mistake!

Paint your gold base coat. 
The coverage is very thin - it took 3 coats and it still wasn't "perfect".  But, we weren't going for perfect, we liked the handpainted look - it's Character!  (If that's not your thing - 4 coats will do it.)

I started in the middle of the focal wall.  The goal was to have the pattern centred. 
I knew if the pattern went around the two corners asymmetrically it would bug me forever.

This large stencil was very floppy.  What worked best was to spray the repositionable adhesive on the back and hold the top up with painter's tape.  I then smoothed out the design by hand. 

I tried a stencil brush - but the space was pretty large to cover and it took way too long.  So a small roller did the job best.

Corners!  My nemesis. 
I may have had to send our daughter upstairs while I did the corners.  I was so frustrated and invented swear words that would make a drunken sailor blush.  

I didn't even know I had such crassness in me.  ;) 
(Kidding...I totally knew.)

What I learned about stencilling corners:
  • Watch a video for tips.  
    • I watched this one.  (But, know that it is so much harder than it looks! If I'd known how hard mere mortals find stencilling corners, I think I would have been less frustrated with my lack of skill.)
  • Repositionable adhesive is your friend.  
    • Don't leave the store without it.  (Our beautiful large scale design was floppy, a smaller rigid stencil may not require it.)
  • Line up your stencil pattern on either side of the corner.  Paint as close as you can into the corner - and expect to touch up the lines with a small paintbrush afterwards.
  • Better yet - consider just doing an accent wall!  
    • Then you just tape the wall alongside your accent wall and you won't cry while you do this.  (Yeah, this stressed me out tons and I may have teared up from acute stress.  But - it was WORTH IT!)

Corners need touch ups.  Some other spots will too. 
Accept this as a fact and you'll be less frustrated. 

An artist's brush will help with touch-ups
This takes the pressure off getting it perfect in process.

For our windowless powder room - the shimmer of this metallic gold paint is a welcome sparkle.
You can watch it twinkle while you tinkle...

New! Here's a Video Tutorial of all the steps:

 For more about how we turned this basement closet into this stylish powder room - keep reading here.

All the details...

  • And we'll share about how we did all the finishing touches on our Classic, Modern, Natural Powder Room


  1. are you kidding me? This is so gorgeous!!! Having stencilled before, I feel your pain...but girl...it looks so lovely!!

    1. Thanks, Lynn! I glad you like it - you've got great style - it means a lot. :)

  2. It looks fantastic!!!! Amazing job and well worth the cursing ; )

    1. Thank-you, Meaghan! I'm really happy with it - it saved a ton of money on wallpaper. Though I made up for it with payments to the swear jar. ;)

  3. Holy moly! What a difference. I can't believe that's stenciled! Amazing job.

    1. Thanks, Michelle! I LOVE that stencil. Thanks for commenting. :)

  4. Gorgeous! This turned out beautifully.
    I almost laughed out loud at, kidding, I totally knew! I thought you were going to say kidding, I'm not that crass. Which was way more amusing than I was expecting. DIY comes with swearing, there's no getting around it.
    Love, love, love your powder room walls.

    1. Haha! Ed loved that joke too. :). Thanks for your kind comment. I love how it turned out!

  5. No kidding: Most beautiful powder room I've ever seen. Every choice you made works exquisitely. Jane in Tucson, AZ

    1. Oh Jane - thank you so much for your kind comment! You’ve made my day! :)

  6. I just ordered the same stencil and found your blog extremely helpful! Hopefully mine will turn out as beautifully as yours did!!!

    1. That’s awesome, Mai! I’d love to see how yours turns out. :)

  7. This really is beautiful. I was surprised you stenciled the green on top of the gold (instead of gold on top of green,) but It looks professional and I think it was the right way to do it! How did you convince Home Depot to give you free supplies?

    1. Thanks, Rebecca! Yes - hold on top of green would have looked odd. I wanted green leaves for a more natural look. :) We’ve worked with Home Depot a number of times. We shared the idea and they wanted to help us do it. :)


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