How to Highlight a Focal Point With Stencils
Use a medley of motifs to frame a headboard—or a mirror, a window, even a cased opening—with style
Stencils lend themselves to wallpaper-like repeats. But combine a few different ones and you can create a custom pattern shaped to surround and highlight a favorite feature of your room. Once you've practiced stenciling on paper—or in a spot that's easy to repaint—the work goes quickly, with results so magical that you may end up stenciling around every bed in the house. Want one more custom touch? Use fabric paint to stencil a coordinated pillow sham.
Round up three stencils with motifs of roughly the same size, plus a stencil with one or more smaller details that can be slipped in. The stencils we used are JA114, JA138 and JA47A, TP31 by The Stencil Library, a British maker (from $26 each; stencil-library.com). Arrange the stencils on the floor to see how they might flow, keeping in mind that this type of pattern works best when strong vertical elements, such as branches, are oriented toward a focal point, like this headboard. To maintain that orientation, you may need to flip the stencils when moving from one side to the other for a mirror-image pattern. Consider filling in small areas with a special detail from one of the stencils, such as the birds-on-bamboo here.