Creative Uses of Wallpaper in Small Nurseries

Written by Lee Orlian
Interior designer & co-founder of Teepee Joy.

Imagine stepping into a small nursery and feeling an immediate sense of openness, comfort, and style—a space that, despite its size, breathes with creativity and warmth.

This dream can become your reality with the strategic use of wallpaper. In the world of nursery design, wallpaper is not just a backdrop; it’s a transformative tool that can turn the smallest of rooms into a spacious haven of imagination and tranquility.

In this guide, we’ll explore the art of maximizing every inch of your compact nursery through creative wallpaper applications.

From optical illusions that expand the walls beyond their physical confines to strategic placements that define and enrich the space, we’ll uncover a myriad of ways to enhance the nursery’s aesthetics and functionality.

Prepare to be inspired by innovative strategies that will not only beautify your nursery but also make it feel larger and more inviting, creating a perfect world where your little one can grow and dream.

The Power of Wallpaper in Small Spaces

Galactic Explorers – Kids and Nursery Room Wallpaper by Teepee Joy

Wallpaper is more than just a decorative element; it’s a tool for space transformation, especially in the compact confines of a small nursery.

When used thoughtfully, wallpaper can significantly alter the perceived dimensions of a room and play a crucial role in shaping its atmosphere.

In the context of small nurseries, where every design choice can impact the feel of the space, selecting the right wallpaper becomes pivotal in creating an environment that feels both spacious and welcoming.

With the right use of wallpaper, it can make a nursery appear larger and more open. Light-colored wallpapers, for instance, reflect natural light, enhancing the sense of airiness and space.

Similarly, wallpapers with vertical stripes can create the illusion of higher ceilings, while horizontal stripes can make walls seem further apart.

This visual trickery is invaluable in small spaces, where the goal is to maximize the perception of volume without the need for structural changes.

Beyond its spatial benefits, wallpaper introduces texture, depth, and character into a nursery.

A carefully chosen pattern can add layers of visual interest, drawing the eye and diverting attention from the size limitations of the room.

Whether it’s a serene, nature-inspired scene that extends the room into an imaginary forest or a geometric pattern that adds sophistication without overwhelming, wallpaper can set the tone of the nursery, influencing its overall atmosphere.

This emotional impact is crucial, as it transforms the nursery from a mere sleeping area into a sanctuary of comfort and inspiration for both the child and the parents.

Wallpaper can delineate different areas within a small nursery, creating multifunctional spaces without the need for physical dividers.

A distinct wallpaper design can mark out a reading nook, play area, or changing station, effectively organizing the room and enhancing its functionality.

This clever use of wallpaper not only optimizes the available space but also enriches the nursery’s aesthetic appeal, making it feel like a cohesive collection of mini-environments tailored to your child’s needs.

In essence, the power of wallpaper in small nurseries lies in its ability to deceive the eye, elevate the mood, and define the function of the space.

Through thoughtful selection and application, wallpaper becomes an indispensable ally in transforming a small nursery into a spacious, atmospheric haven where imagination and comfort know no bounds.

Choosing the Right Wallpaper

Elephant Parade – Kids and Nursery Room Wallpaper by Teepee Joy

In the cozy confines of a small nursery, the right wallpaper can truly make all the difference. It’s not just about picking a pattern that speaks to you; it’s about choosing a design that opens up the room, making it feel airier and more spacious.

As someone deeply passionate about creating beautiful, functional spaces for little ones to thrive in, I’ve discovered a few key tips for selecting wallpapers that visually expand a small nursery.

First and foremost, consider light colors. Just as a soft, pastel-hued sky stretches wide and far, light-colored wallpapers can push the walls of your nursery outward, at least to the eye.

Soft whites, gentle grays, and muted pastels reflect natural light beautifully, contributing to a sense of openness and airiness.

Subtle patterns have a magical way of adding depth and interest without overwhelming the space.

Look for designs with fine details or minimalistic patterns that invite the eye to roam, creating the illusion of more space.

The trick is to find a pattern that adds character without demanding all the attention, allowing the room to breathe and feel uncluttered.

Wallpapers with vertical or horizontal lines deserve a special mention. Vertical stripes can draw the eye upward, making ceilings appear higher than they are, while horizontal stripes can elongate the walls, making the nursery feel wider.

This simple yet effective visual trick can dramatically alter the perception of your nursery’s dimensions.

When choosing wallpaper for your small nursery, remember that the goal is to create a backdrop that supports the overall theme and atmosphere you’re aiming for, without making the room feel cramped.

By opting for light colors, subtle patterns, and strategic lines, you’re not just decorating a space; you’re crafting an environment where your child’s imagination can soar in comfort and style.

Creative Placement Ideas

Summer Daisy Dream – Kids and Nursery Room Wallpaper by Teepee Joy

In the charming realm of small nurseries, strategic wallpaper placement can work wonders, dramatically altering the perception of space. It’s an art form that, when done right, not only beautifies but also cleverly manipulates the dimensions of the room to our advantage.

Let’s dive into some imaginative placement ideas that can transform your nursery into a visually larger and more enchanting space.

Accent Walls: An accent wall is a fantastic way to introduce depth and focus in a small nursery without overwhelming the space with pattern or color.

Choose one wall to showcase a bold, beautiful wallpaper that captures your theme or desired ambiance. This focal point draws the eye, creating a sense of expansiveness.

The other walls can be painted in complementary colors to maintain balance and cohesion.

Ceiling Wallpaper: Often dubbed the fifth wall, the ceiling offers a unique canvas for creativity. Applying wallpaper to the ceiling can draw the eye upward, making the room feel taller and more spacious.

Opt for sky themes, fluffy clouds, or starry patterns to open up the room—literally giving your child’s imagination the ceiling as its limit.

Partial Wall Coverage: Utilizing wallpaper in a partial wall coverage, such as halfway up the wall or in framed panels, can create interesting visual layers that enhance the perception of space.

This technique allows you to play with patterns and colors without committing to full walls, and when paired with a chair rail or wainscoting, it adds architectural interest and a sense of elegance to the nursery.

Each of these strategic placements not only serves to draw the eye and alter perceptions of the nursery’s size but also injects a dose of personality and style into the space.

By thoughtfully considering how and where to apply wallpaper, you can craft a nursery that feels both cozy and spacious, a perfect haven for your little one to grow and dream.

Optical Illusions to Enhance Space

Puppy Playdate – Kids and Nursery Room Wallpaper by Teepee Joy

The beauty of designing a nursery lies not just in creating a space that looks good but in crafting one that feels like a boundless sanctuary for your little one.

By employing optical illusions through wallpaper, we can trick the eye, visually enlarging the nursery and transforming a compact area into a seemingly spacious retreat.

Let’s explore how certain wallpaper patterns can work their magic, creating depth and perspective that give the illusion of more space.

Stripes are a classic choice that never fails to impress. Vertical stripes draw the eye upward, making ceilings appear higher, while horizontal stripes can make a room seem wider.

This simple pattern can have a dramatic impact on the perception of your nursery’s dimensions, especially when used on a focal wall or throughout a smaller space.

Nature-inspired scenes, such as forests, open skies, or under-the-sea vistas, play a wonderful trick on our perception. These scenic wallpapers invite the outdoors in, extending the walls beyond their physical limits.

A wallpaper that depicts a distant horizon or a path winding through a lush forest can create an illusion of depth, making the nursery feel more open and airy.

Geometric patterns, when used thoughtfully, can also enhance the sense of space in a nursery. Designs that feature repeating shapes or perspectives (like tunnels or archways) can trick the eye into seeing a room as larger than it is.

The key is to select a pattern that’s not too overwhelming in scale or color, allowing the geometric illusion to subtly expand the room without dominating the decor.

Incorporating wallpapers with these kinds of patterns is more than just a decorating decision; it’s a strategic choice that leverages the power of visual perception to create a nursery that feels both cozy and expansive.

By selecting wallpapers that offer depth and perspective, you’re not just decorating a space; you’re opening up a world of imagination and possibility for your child, where the walls stretch far beyond their physical boundaries.

Combining Functionality and Style

Safari Soiree – Kids and Nursery Room Wallpaper by Teepee Joy

In the snug quarters of a small nursery, where every inch is precious, combining functionality with style becomes paramount. Wallpaper, in its versatile glory, steps beyond mere aesthetics to play a practical role in organizing and defining the nursery space.

Let’s delve into how wallpaper can serve dual purposes, enhancing both the utility and charm of multifunctional areas within your nursery.

A distinct changing station is essential in any nursery, but in a smaller space, it needs to blend seamlessly without cluttering.

Using a different wallpaper design or pattern in the changing area can visually demarcate this functional zone, while keeping it integral to the nursery’s overall theme.

Opt for calming patterns or colors here, to soothe both parent and baby during change times. This not only adds a layer of functionality but also injects a burst of creativity into the space.

Similarly, crafting a cozy reading nook becomes an opportunity to use wallpaper as a functional decor element.

Choose a wallpaper that stimulates the imagination—perhaps one with literary themes or whimsical characters—to highlight this area as a special corner for storytelling and dreams.

This not only encourages a love for reading from a young age but also smartly utilizes limited space by creating a dedicated nook that feels both enchanting and separate from the rest of the room.

Incorporating wallpapers with textures or interactive elements can further enhance the nursery’s functionality.

Textured wallpapers can stimulate tactile exploration, while wallpapers with writeable surfaces or interactive designs offer a canvas for creativity as your child grows, blending playfulness with practicality.

By thoughtfully selecting and placing wallpaper in these multifunctional areas, you transform mere walls into active participants in your nursery’s design.

This approach not only maximizes the utility of every square inch but also ensures that the nursery remains a stylish, cohesive space that adapts to the changing needs of your growing child.

In small nurseries especially, where space is at a premium, such innovative use of wallpaper to combine functionality and style opens up a world of possibilities for creating a nursery that’s as practical as it is beautiful.

Wallpaper as Art and Focal Points

Zoo Day Doodles – Kids and Nursery Room Wallpaper by Teepee Joy

In the intimate setting of a small nursery, wallpaper offers an extraordinary opportunity to infuse artistry and character into every corner.

By transforming wallpaper into a statement piece, you can create a focal point that not only captivates attention but also imbues the nursery with a unique touch of personality.

This approach elevates the wallpaper from a mere background element to a central feature that defines the room’s aesthetic and atmosphere.

Selecting bold, artistic wallpaper designs allows you to make a daring yet deliberate statement.

Imagine a wall adorned with a large-scale, abstract mural or a vibrant, illustrative scene—it becomes an instant conversation starter, drawing the eye and setting the tone for the entire nursery.

This singular focus can make the room feel larger by drawing attention away from its size to the artistry of the design.

For a truly personalized touch, consider custom wallpaper designs that reflect something meaningful to your family.

Whether it’s a pattern inspired by a favorite storybook, a landscape from a place close to your heart, or an abstract design that plays with color and form, custom wallpaper can create a backdrop that is deeply personal and visually stunning.

Creating a focal point with wallpaper also allows for more restrained decor elsewhere in the nursery, maintaining a balance between bold expression and the serenity suitable for a baby’s room.

Pair your statement wallpaper with neutral tones and simple, clean-lined furniture to let the art take center stage without overwhelming the space.

Another creative idea is to frame sections of wallpaper, using them as large pieces of art within the nursery.

This can be an especially effective strategy if you’re hesitant to commit to a full wall of bold pattern or if you’re working within the constraints of a rental property.

Framed wallpaper art can provide the visual impact of a mural with the flexibility to change or move pieces as desired.

By treating wallpaper as art and focusing on creating captivating focal points, you can dramatically enhance the visual appeal of a small nursery.

This approach not only maximizes the aesthetic potential of the space but also creates a nurturing environment filled with imagination and wonder, where every glance reveals something beautiful and inspiring.

Installation Tips for Small Nurseries

Prehistoric Playtime – Kids and Nursery Room Wallpaper by Teepee Joy

n the cozy confines of a small nursery, proper wallpaper installation is crucial to maximizing the visual impact and ensuring the longevity of your design choices.

Precise application can transform a compact space, making it feel inviting and well-curated.

Here are some practical tips for installing wallpaper in small nurseries, focusing on preparation, avoiding common mistakes, and achieving a seamless finish that brings your vision to life.

Preparation Is Everything:

  • Measure Accurately: Before purchasing your wallpaper, carefully measure your walls to determine how much you need. Consider doorways, windows, and any architectural features that might affect the layout. It’s always better to have a little extra than to run short.

  • Surface Preparation: Ensure your walls are clean, dry, and smooth. Fill any holes or cracks and sand down uneven areas. A smooth wall surface is essential for a flawless wallpaper application.

Avoiding Common Mistakes:

  • Don’t Skip the Primer: Applying a primer specifically designed for wallpaper can greatly improve adhesion, especially in small spaces where every detail is noticeable. A primer will also make future wallpaper removal easier.

  • Mind the Pattern Match: Pay close attention to the pattern alignment between strips. In a small nursery, mismatched patterns can be more pronounced and disruptive to the overall aesthetic.

  • Avoid Bubbles and Creases: Use a wallpaper smoother or a dry roller to gently press the wallpaper against the wall, working from the center outwards to eliminate any air bubbles or creases as you go.

Seamless Application Techniques:

  • Book the Wallpaper: For traditional wallpapers that require paste, “booking” the wallpaper (folding it paste-side-in without creasing) allows the paste to activate and the paper to expand before installation. This step is crucial to avoid bubbling and to ensure a smooth application.

  • Use a Sharp Blade: When trimming excess wallpaper at the edges, ceilings, and baseboards, always use a sharp blade for clean, precise cuts. Change your blade frequently to maintain sharpness.

  • Seam Rollers Are Your Friend: After applying each strip, use a seam roller to gently press down the edges. This ensures tight, virtually invisible seams, contributing to the overall polished look of the nursery.

Lighting Matters:

  • Check Your Work: Natural daylight is the best way to spot any imperfections or misalignments in your wallpaper application. Review your work during the day to catch and correct any issues.

By following these installation tips, you can ensure that your chosen wallpaper not only enhances the beauty of your small nursery but does so in a way that feels deliberate and professionally executed.

Proper installation sets the stage for a nursery that’s as functional as it is enchanting, creating a backdrop for countless memories and moments of growth.


1. Can wallpaper make a small nursery feel bigger?

Absolutely! Choosing the right wallpaper can significantly affect how spacious your nursery feels. Light colors, vertical stripes, and certain patterns can create optical illusions that make the room appear larger.

2. How do I choose a wallpaper theme for a small nursery?

Select a theme that reflects your aesthetic while considering the room’s size.

Opt for designs with light backgrounds or subtle patterns to avoid overwhelming the space.

Themes that offer growth potential are ideal, so the wallpaper remains relevant as your child matures.

3. Is it recommended to wallpaper all four walls in a small nursery?

Wallpapering all four walls can work beautifully, especially if you choose a light color or a minimalistic pattern.

However, creating an accent wall with a bold wallpaper design while keeping the other walls more neutral can also effectively enhance the space without making it feel cramped.

4. Can I use dark or bold wallpaper in a small nursery?

Yes, but with caution. A dark or bold wallpaper can serve as a stunning focal point if used on one wall or a section of the room.

Balance it with lighter colors and simple decor to maintain a sense of spaciousness.

5. How can I ensure seamless wallpaper installation in my small nursery?

Proper wall preparation is crucial—ensure the surface is smooth, clean, and primed if necessary. Measure the space accurately and allow for extra wallpaper for pattern matching.

Consider hiring a professional for complex patterns or if you’re unsure about the process to achieve the best results.

Final Thoughts and Next Steps

As we wrap up our exploration into the creative uses of wallpaper in small nurseries, it’s clear that wallpaper is more than just a decorative element—it’s a transformative tool that can significantly enhance the look and feel of your child’s first space.

Through strategic selection and placement, wallpaper can turn the smallest of nurseries into a cozy, stylish haven that appears more spacious and inviting.

Remember, the journey to a beautifully wallpapered nursery is one of both heart and precision. It involves not just choosing a design that you love but also ensuring it’s applied in a way that maximizes its beauty and impact.

Proper installation plays a crucial role in this process, turning your vision into a flawless reality that you and your little one will cherish.

Now that you’re armed with knowledge on selecting the right wallpaper, creatively placing it, and even using it as art, the next step is to embark on this exciting design journey.

Whether you’re starting from scratch or planning to revamp an existing nursery, let the ideas and tips shared here inspire you to create a space that reflects your unique style and meets your functional needs.

If you’re feeling unsure about any step of the process or need a bit more inspiration, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional advice or seek out more resources.

The world of nursery design is rich with possibilities, and with the right approach, your small nursery can become a big dream come true for you and your baby.