before and after

before & after: kate spade-inspired child’s room

by Kate Pruitt

This post was perfectly timed for Father’s Day. I want to give a shout-out to John and his partner for whipping up this amazing room for their two-year-old daughter in just four days! For the amount of cutting, wallpapering and painting involved in this room, that’s pretty impressive. It’s so bold and bright, with a glamorous fifties vibe to it — a very whimsical reinterpretation of a Kate Spade interior. Well done, John! — Kate

See more of John’s Kate Spade-inspired bedroom after the jump!

Time: 4 days

Cost: $145

Basics: The wall was already painted white. I knew that wallpaper was too expensive, and I couldn’t find anything like the Kate Spade flowers. I took a picture on my cell phone of the wallpaper flowers at the Kate Spade store and then printed out the picture at home. I then went to Kinko’s and printed out larger color copies. I did three sizes of the flowers. The image didn’t need to be crystal clear, as I wanted a soft, fuzzy sort of look. So the image worked out perfectly. I then cut out all of the flowers and put them in a big pile and purchased a colored glue stick. The purple color of the glue helped me make sure I was getting all of the edges glued down. I didn’t really have a plan on how to put the flowers up; I just stepped back after I glued down each flower and made sure that a pattern was slowly making its way onto the wall. After applying each flower, I pushed down to make sure there were no air bubbles or loose edges. Any flowers that were in corners or that needed to be trimmed to fit an area, I just hand-cut and then glued on.

The next night, I put Elmers glue and a bit of water into a bowl and made a paste. I then used a small foam brush and painted over each flower. The glue dries clear, so you don’t have to worry if it will mess up the image. Again, just make sure you don’t get any bubbles, or use too much water, as it will make the paper wet and tear the image. After that was done, we purchased one can of yellow paint for the stripes. My hubby started with one stripe in the middle of the wall and then kept cutting the wall in half with each stripe. No tape measure; he just eyed the stripes. We were not looking for perfection. We added a disco ball, some black and white pictures, a mirror and some tissue paper balls in the other corner of the roomMy advice is not to think too much about it! Pick an image that would look neat blown up, and pick a wall that is broken up (windows, doors, cabinets) rather than just one big wall. It will look better with your image. — John

Suggested For You


  • This is a gorgeous room and I love the technique behind putting the flowers on the wall. However, I can’t help but wonder if Kate Spade wouldn’t be a teensy bit annoyed that her/ her brand’s image was repurposed. I could see doing this with an image with an expired copyright, but I think I’d feel bad copying an image from a store.

  • Isn’t printing a copy of a picture of Kate Spade’s flower an extreme copyright violation?

  • Wow you made an incredibly chic and whimsical space! I’m going to remember this next time I’m decorating!

  • Very cool! I love kate spade and never considered how perfect her aesthetic is for a children’s room. While I very much admire your thrifty adaptation of kate spade wallpaper, you may find some people in the design community are a bit uncomfortable with the thought of directly reproducing their design like that. I hope your daughter enjoys her room!

  • I love reading DIYs like this. When you’re looking for something specific and coming up empty handed, it really gets the creative juices flowing. Great job! The florals and stripes are so fun together, but the disco ball might be my favorite unexpected detail.

  • I have to say, I agree with Meg. I wish they had used the Kate Spade flowers as inspiration and then found a similar old wallpaper pattern or image that wasn’t copyrighted. The flowers look similar enough to patterns I’ve seen before, so I know they are out there.

  • John would only risk a copyright lawsuit if he tried to mass-produce and sell this look. Don’t let the thought police cramp your DIY projects.

  • what an ingenious idea! i absolutely LOVE this kind of design project. so creative, and totally DIY. thanks for the idea!

  • Copyright protection does not apply in a private home. Otherwise my teen bulletin board full of photos of River Phoenix and James Dean would’ve been subject to a cease and desist order.

  • Really??Does anyone understand copyright infringement …people work hard at their job of design and attempt to make a living and you come in with a cell phone camera and “steal” their work and then openly post your results… You should be ashamed!

  • inspired or stolen? not cool. buy the wallpaper, don’t steal it. major copyright no-no and I’m glad to see other artists out there peeved by this. surprised that design sponge didn’t see this as inherently wrong.

  • I think the designers here who see this as wrong aren’t as concerned with the legality of copyright infringement so much as the thought of someone directly taking someone else’s design instead of just being inspired by it. It’s a constant battle as an artist since the product we sell is often an intangible idea (until it gets produced, of course). I don’t blame the couple here because the idea of artistic possession of ideas isn’t a concept property taught to people outside the industry, which is something that I wish would change.

  • I think it’s beautiful and would love to have my daughter in room like this. I also find the copyright discussion highly amusing. For anyone who actually understands copyright law it’s clearly not a legal issue in this instance, but I understand an artists gut reaction to having his or her work recreated in such a manner.

    Personally, I praise this couple for finding an innovative way to get a similar look at what’s clearly a rock bottom price!

  • As if Kate Spade’s Rose was original! That company has hired people who are interns for the wrong positions to save money so the poor interns have no idea what they are doing in x dept. No tears for KS.

  • To all who were so concerned about the kate spade flower, get over it and stop being so self righteous. It’s not as if they used “the flower” as a business logo or for commercial purposes. I say rock on to the clever and cost saving efforts of John! Well done

  • I’m so charmed by this! So lovely and creative. I’d love it for my home office. And I don’t see anything wrong with copyright infringement since KS doesn’t sell the pattern as wall paper (right?) and the couple isn’t intending to profit from this.

  • I found this article on the Creative Services Director of Kate Spade, and how she used Vintage Wallpaper. It’s the exact same wallpaper that Kate Spade has used in her stores and stationary. It doesnt look like Kate Spades team came up with the design of the flowers.


    who: Theresa Canning Zast, senior director of creative services at Kate Spade New York

    in her closet: A vintage skirt that I bought at New York Vintage, a shop across the street from the Kate Spade offices. It was the item that I wore on my first day back to the office after returning from maternity leave. I LOVE the combination of florals and stripes.

    in her casa: A detail of a wall in my guest bedroom. The yellow rose wallpaper is vintage, and I have hung black frames with various photos {each with their own story} on top of it.

  • The flowers are an awesome idea! It opens up so many possibilities for my daughters room! Thanks for the great idea!
    And, no, it’s not a copyright issue. It’s private use, no one is profiting from it and they aren’t selling the flower as theirs or misrepresenting where they got it from. People take things way to seriously! It’s a post with a beautiful idea and a lucky little girl!
    Thanks again for the inspiration!

  • Love this- And apparently the Kate Spade team does as well, because they just posted it on their Tumblr. I would imagine if they had any issue with it, they wouldn’t have posted it.

  • I know this is an old post, but in case anyone is still reading:

    Would this have to be done on a wall with no texture? Our walls have knockdown texture on them and are not flat. I’m assuming this wouldn’t work, correct?