This Reading Room Was Made to Feel Like It’s Under a Whimsical Canopy


When Marianne Brown, the principal designer of W Design Collective, met the couple who owns this home in Midway, Utah, they had a straightforward request. “They wanted a home that reflected their creative personalities,” she says.

The property is set among barns and lakes with views of soaring mountains, and it has enough square footage for the pair’s five young children. Brown had been hired at the beginning of the nearly three-year project in 2017, and since it was a new construction, she knew that it was possible to carry the family’s tastes into every little corner. They came across an image on Instagram from House 24, which featured a room lined with mint green bookshelves that served as inspiration for their own cozy hideaway. “They sought a spot for their piano, a desk, and bookshelves,” Brown says. “We also wanted to add more patterns than just a coat of paint.”

A custom bookcase was installed around tall windows, which were then finished with cubby-like seats so the couple could sit and admire the view. An oversized desk was brought in for an adjoining wall, while the piano resides on another. And since the couple and Brown had already determined that the theme for their home would be “vintage quirky,” the details were made to reflect that. “We painted the walls in Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue, including the storage under the window seats where they keep their piano books and sheet music,” she says. “The biggest challenge was finding a balance between creating a colorful, creative space without feeling too theme-y or trendy. We wanted to add a pattern on the walls, but thought that the paint color plus wallpaper would be too busy.”

The solution they came up with brings in an eye-catching element of fun: They put wallpaper on the ceiling. “When I was thinking of what pattern would be both pretty and practical, I thought about something that would make them feel as though they were under a tree canopy or maybe rolling clouds,” she says. “As we searched, we fell in love with the leafy, mural-esque Sandberg Raphael wallpaper.” Paired with a chandelier that resembles floating balloons, the effect creates a whimsical atmosphere for fostering expression and togetherness.

“The reason why it works is because the client had a point of view but also wanted us to be creative,” Brown notes. “Trusting the process, and knowing how to combine old and new with pattern and color is what makes a room successful. As designers, it’s a skill we work hard at honing.”

Get the Look:

Light Blue Paint

Farrow and Ball

This light blue paint is surprisingly complex, making it a fitting hue not just for kids’ rooms, but also refined home offices and libraries. Pair it with rich wood tones and antique brass fixtures.

Leafy Wallpaper

Sandberg Wallpaper

To introduce the sophisticated canopy look into your own library, bedroom, or powder room, consider installing this lush wallpaper on an accent wall or ceiling.

Brass Desk Lamp

Circa Lighting

Cue the collegiate reading room vibes with this elegant brass lamp. The bright brass looks especially regal when paired with a light blue backdrop.

Bubble Chandelier

West Elm

To get the sculptural look of the bubble chandelier floating from the ceiling in the reading room, consider this milk glass and brass light fixture. The shape is striking, while the frosted glass creates a subtle glow.


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