Hand-Painted Modern Chinoiserie Mural: One Room Challenge Week 4

Hi, everyone! I’m back for WEEK FOUR of the One Room Challenge.

If you’re finding me through the One Room Challenge, welcome to my home on the internet! I’m Avery and I live in rural Iowa with my husband. You can learn more about me here, and see some of my previous design work in my kitchen. My design style is cozy, whimsical, and collected. I’ll be sharing my One Room Challenge progress on my Holland Avenue Home Instagram. Thanks for following along!

Here’s a recap of my posts for the One Room Challenge so far.

Week 1: Cozy Eclectic Master Bedroom Design Plan

Week 2: Moody Accent Wall

Week 3: DIY Throw Pillows and Vintage Artwork

And here’s a reminder of my vision for our colorful, cozy, eclectic Master Bedroom Update. master bedroom moodboard

Because I am also a crazy person and don’t know how to do things halfway, I decided to include the attached sunroom in my Master Bedroom update! You can read about my design plans for the sunroom in the Cozy Eclectic Master Bedroom Design Plan: One Room Challenge Week 1 post, but the main thing you need to know is that I am hand painting a mural.

I wanted the mural to be inspired by the floral bird fabric that I used to make pillows for our bed. (Pictured in the moodboard above!) I decided this about a month ago (wait where did October go?) and in my head I was just calling it my “floral bird mural inspired by my floral bird fabric”. Which brings me to my next point.

Have you ever heard the term, “chinoiserie”? I hadn’t until this week.

If you asked me what “chinoiserie” was before I knew, I probably would’ve guessed that it was a French boutique that sells either lingerie or baked goods. Or both. I don’t know. The French have some pretty crazy boutiques.

I was still in the sketching and planning phase of my floral bird mural, when I saw a new post from the Queen of design herself, Emily Henderson. The post is called Is Chinoiserie Making A Comeback? Let’s Discuss. Not knowing what the heck “chinoiserie” was, and assuming it could have something to do with pastries, I sat down to investigate.


I didn’t know they left, because I didn’t know they existed and were a whole category of design. So now my burning question is: does this put me ahead of or behind the trends? I have no idea! I had the idea before Queen Henderson’s staff said it was back, which either means I’m way ahead of the game or that I decided to incorporate something that was dated and “out”. Either way, florals and birds are two of my favorite elements to use in art, so when the post asked if I was “on board the chinoiserie train”, I could confidently say that I’ve been riding that train for my whole life without knowing where it was going or what it was called.

Chinoiserie is back, and I’m on board.

Here are some examples from Emily Henderson’s blog post of what her team is calling “modern chinoiserie”. The traditional interpretation is the definition of maximalism, with decadent prints and colors and textures and drapes that were probably on the Titanic. Modern chinoiserie is sophisticated and can work brilliantly with more minimal design aesthetics. (The following four images are from Emily’s blog and you can find the original sources there!)


I want to give that blue wall a hug. That will always be my favorite color.


This room just radiates “cool”. The chandelier. The cane barrel chairs. THE FLORAL BIRD MURAL AKA CHINOISERIE AKA MY NEW FAVORITE THING.


This smaller scale wallpaper is gorgeous, and is the perfect feminine contrast to that statement light fixture.


I have a soft place in my heart for blue kitchens, and that tiny little mural might convince me to paint my own next to my pantry. We will see how the first mural goes, though. I might have a new favorite hobby or I might want to retire from painting forever. We’ll see.

After falling in love with my new favorite design element, I was ready to start sketching.

I grabbed my pencil and a stepladder, made my way up to the sunroom, and decided to just go for it. After studying the elements of my fabric and many examples of chinoiserie wallpaper, I found a pattern by Rifle Paper Company that is basically their take on chinoiserie. Some of my floral shapes will be based on their pattern, but I’m going to stick to my own creativity for creating the pattern and color palette!

I’ve been sick this week, so 100% of my Week 4 progress has taken place in the last two hours. I’ve been intimidated to start actually sketching out my mural on the wall, so I’ve been putting it off. But we’re going out of town this weekend, so I knew I needed to make some serious progress tonight!

I had to edit this image so you could see my fine pencil sketches, but there is progress! I didn’t fill in the details on the flowers or branches or leaves, and my sketch isn’t finished, but I started! That’s all the progress I have for this week, but I have a feeling that it will be easier to make progress now that I took the scary step of putting pen to paper (er… pencil to wall).


It wasn’t a decorating update, and it won’t be part of my before and after post, but I did spend some significant time “updating” our Master Bedroom this week. I cleaned out our closet and dresser! After purging all of the things we didn’t wear, we suddenly had way more space for our clothes to breathe. Instead of being way too full of things we don’t wear, with the things we do wear not having space after laundry, we’re just left with the things we love and wear on a regular basis! It has cleared my mind so much to know that everything has a home in our closet and dresser, and getting dressed is so easy because I only kept the things I absolutely loved. (I put some exclusively summer blouses and dresses in a rubbermaid box in a guest closet, but even without taking those away we had so much more space).

Ben and I decided we could use more drawer space for sweaters that take up a lot of room and can’t go on a hanger, so we are going to buy a small dresser when we go to Ikea on Monday. (Ps. I get to go to Ikea on Monday!!!) Our current dresser is quite large, but the drawers are not very deep and we don’t want to shove sweaters in drawers that are too small.

It will go in the empty corner of our bedroom and I plan to work out some kind of jewelry storage situation on top of the dresser, because my jewelry currently does not have a home.

I’ll share mural progress and details about which dresser we chose next Wednesday in my WEEK FIVE POST. I AM STRESSED JUST SAYING THE WORDS “WEEK FIVE POST” but we will get there, friends. This is all just for fun anyway, and I’m enjoying the crazy train that is the One Room Challenge!

That’s all for this week! Be sure to check out all of the other Guest Participants in the One Room Challenge to follow along with their progress!

I’ll share behind the scenes sneak peeks on my Instagram Stories this week, so follow along there if you want the inside scoop on mural painting before next Wednesday! If you’d like to be reminded when new posts go live, enter your email in the “Brighten my Inbox” tab on the right side of your screen. 

Thanks for following along with me here on Holland Avenue Home, and don’t forget to follow along with the rest of the One Room Challenge Blog to see all of the Featured and Guest Designers!

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one room challenge logo

(Update: Follow along with the last two weeks of the challenge!)

Ikea Dresser Makeover: One Room Challenge Week 5

Cozy Eclectic Master Bedroom Before & After: One Room Challenge Week 6



HomeMade: Does Your Home Have A Recipe?

You walk into Target for toilet paper and mascara. You spend an hour and $15 in the home section but you get to your car and realize you forgot the toilet paper and mascara. (again? crap. maybe next time.) You get home and realize that the thing you bought for your home doesn’t really fit with your decor, but it was at Target so it must be trendy… right?

Does this sound like you? I know I’ve been there way too many times. My friend Briee and I both love Target, but we live in rural Iowa and the closest one is over an hour away. One time we drove there to just wander around. To walk through every aisle. To breathe the sweet Target air. (That last one was a joke… kind of). We don’t even really like Starbucks, but we bought drinks to walk around with while we shopped aimlessly. I don’t remember if I bought anything on that trip, but if I did it clearly wasn’t something I remember, and it probably cost more than $15.

$15 at a retail store can buy you a fraction of a pillow. (Or maybe something from an end cap, or the mascara you came for, but probably not both). Sure, you can guarantee these things will be trendy on some level, but your dollars won’t get you very far. This photo is what $15 at a thrift store looks like.


A floral tablecloth that could be in an Anthropologie catalog ($2), an iconic framed “Grace” print ($3), an ORIGINAL framed oil portrait of a woman named Mary ($1), two vintage metal canisters ($5), and four coupe cocktail glasses ($4).

(Important Side Note: Did I need any of these items? No. This post isn’t about shopping for your home’s basic needs like food and toilet paper (and mascara 😉 ) You don’t need to decorate your home, but you probably do. I want to encourage thoughtfulness and resourcefulness in all areas of homemaking, including decorating. If we’re already going to be doing certain things (like decorating and meal planning and dressing ourselves), we might as well be doing them as thoughtfully, intentionally, and frugally as possible.)

$15 is on the higher end of what I would usually spend at a thrift store. I don’t go thrifting super regularly, but when I do I try not to spend more than $5-10.

I was a little hesitant at first to spend $15 at the thrift store, but then I thought about how easy it is to drop $15 at Target like it’s no big deal.

You put one pillow and some nail polish in your cart and suddenly you’re out $40. My husband, Ben, came up with a brilliant analogy as we discussed this strange phenomenon last night.

He said that retail stores are like restaurants. You go there and pay more for the convenience of a meal that is already prepared, when you could buy the ingredients for much less at the grocery store.

The struggle with grocery stores is that you have to know your ingredients beforehand (and how to combine them when you get home). A trip to the grocery store requires intentional planning and thoughtfulness in order to create the meal you want to make. You can’t go to the grocery store to get the ingredients for a Caesar Salad and come home with M&M’s and bread.

I thought this was brilliant.

This might make restaurants look more appealing. There is a menu full of diverse options that are guaranteed to be prepared and presented with no effort on your part. Sure, it’s more expensive than a trip to the grocery store to make the same meal, but you’re paying for convenience. Someone else is doing the planning and the preparing for you.

Walk into any big-box store and you’ll get your home styling already prepared- for a price. You’ll find new, trendy, curated collections of home decor that are priced for convenience.

Walk into a thrift store and you’ll find aisles of “ingredients” that require discernment and thoughtfulness to put together, but for a fraction of the cost you’d pay for retail.

I think the convenience and trendiness of big-box stores are why some people struggle to find their style. “I wanted a Caesar salad, so why does my home look like M&M’s and bread?” It doesn’t go together. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t taste good.

This analogy gave me an idea for a new perspective on thoughtful homemaking and resourceful decorating. To get your wheels turning… if the way your home looks and functions is a unique recipe, what are your ingredients? And can you source your ingredients from thrift stores for a lower cost and the same result? Have you been buying meals instead of ingredients? And if so, do these meals belong in the same restaurant?

Decor trends change as quickly as retail stores can get new products on the shelves.

It’s how they keep you coming back for more, more more. Example A is the farmhouse trend. A year ago, you would find chippy white knick knacks and “simple farmhouse” decor on the shelves of any retail store. But now? Women that have entirely redecorated their homes in the “farmhouse” style are coming to me and asking how they can “get out”. The trend is over, and women are stuck with decor that isn’t their style.

The number one question I get from readers is, “How do I know what my style is? I like so many different styles. My house feels like a crazy mess.”

I’ve thought about how to answer this question so many times in so many different ways. This analogy of restaurants vs. grocery stores and retail vs. thrift stores has given me clarity in my answer.

I think that women don’t know “what their style is” because they depend on retail stores to have style for them, and retail trends are always changing.

This is why your home might feel like a crazy mess. Last year it was “farmhouse”. But the year before that it was “industrial”. Maybe the year before that it was “boho”, but this year everything is “minimal modern”. If you exclusively decorate your home with trendy big-box ingredients, it’s going to feel dated and crazy really fast.

Maybe you’re thinking, “There has to be a better way!”

I’d like to suggest that a better way exists, and is accessible to everyone.

The “better way” is filling your home with things that make you smile, instead of following pre-packaged trends.

I’m not suggesting you scrap everything in your house and start over. I never want to promote unhealthy consumerism or “buying” your way out of a design problem. I don’t think it’s wise. I don’t think it’s good stewardship of resources. And frankly, it’s just not as much fun. Your home is about so much more than “things” from stores.

How your home feels and functions is more important than how it looks, but how it looks is inevitably part of how it feels

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing posts with tips and questions to help you find your unique home style (and guidelines to shop accordingly.) The goal is not to go on a shopping spree when we’re finished. The goal is to make more thoughtful and resourceful decisions as you inevitably encounter opportunities to purchase “ingredients” for your home. We will work together to write our “home recipes”, and talk about how to go “grocery shopping” at thrift stores. We will talk about when to pay extra for a “restaurant” experience, and when to opt for the “grocery store”. We will explore examples of common “home style recipes” that can be tweaked to serve your family’s unique “dietary needs”.

Thanks for following along with me here on Holland Avenue Home. This blog is an invitation to thoughtful homemaking, and it is my goal to encourage resourcefulness and good stewardship in all areas of home life. I want to use my love for design as a way to serve others, and your support of this blog makes that possible. Thank you.

If you want to be notified when new posts go live, click the “follow” button on the sidebar under the “Brighten Your Inbox” header. You can also follow Holland Avenue Home on Instagram for post announcements and daily encouragement toward thoughtful homemaking. 

With so much love, 

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