While Stephany Kropman was awaiting the birth of son Zane (her sixth child!), she found inspiration for the nursery in a catalog shot of a room with a tree mural. She sketched the tree in chalk first. "If you don't like it, you just wipe and redo." To add dimension to the branches, she hung them with six wood crafts-store birdhouses—one for each of her children—that she painted.
Previous projects had left her with half-full cans of loden green and deep red latex. So after painting the crib wall white, she called on her husband, Scott, for help taping off 8-inch-wide stripes. Still, she says, adding the green stripes was easier than she thought. "The trick is to pull off the tape slowly—at an angle—when the paint is still tacky." Stephany chose a grayish blue for the other walls, tying them to the striped wall with horizontal bands of green and red, plus white polka dots dabbed on in between with the end of an artist's brush handle.