As a preteen in the early 2000s, Katie Leigh Jackson painted her bedroom bright yellow and stenciled pink hibiscus flowers all over the walls. “I essentially made my first wallpaper—without the paper,” she says, noting that the DIY decor remained there through her college years at Colorado State University.

Today, Jackson points to that childhood project as an early example of her enduring love for wall art. After losing her job as a marketing director in a pandemic-era layoff, she returned to her creative roots, painting nature-inspired scenes that she began to sell as prints via her online art business, Modern Magic. Designing wallpaper patterns seemed like a natural way to expand her offerings, so in spring 2022, she took an online surface-pattern design course. That fall, she launched her first three wallpaper collections, each influenced by a specific theme.

Take Honeysuckle, for example. Inspired by her grandparents’ home in Morrison—“They had this big honeysuckle bush in their yard,” Jackson says—the collection of 12 patterns sports whimsical garden motifs, including lemons, butterflies, bees, and, of course, honeysuckle vines. The Pure Life collection is essentially a painted travel journal from a trip to Costa Rica that Jackson took with her husband.

Each element of Jackson’s patterns—whether a single flower or a colorful macaw—is initially hand-painted using gouache, a water-based paint with an acrylic paint texture. Jackson then digitizes the paintings, cleans up the details in Adobe Photoshop, and arranges the images into a pattern using Adobe Illustrator. Every design is a product of trial and error, and Jackson’s process—shifting this element slightly, adding another image here, adjusting the color saturation there, previewing how the pattern repeats to spot awkward gaps—is instinctual and personal, she says. “I want you to look at [my patterns] and be like, ‘Oh, Katie did that.’ ”

Ranging from mellow and muted to bold and busy, Jackson’s wallpaper designs provide visual interest to a space without overpowering it. “My paint palettes are [colorful but] not fluorescent or overwhelming,” she explains. “There’s a balance [to the designs] so that the spaces [they’re in] still feel calm and inviting.”

Where to Find It

Jackson’s wallpapers are manufactured by Spoonflower, a sustainable home decor company that works with independent artists, and can be accessed through Jackson’s website. All designs are available as removable, traditional, and grasscloth wallcoverings; prices depend on panel size and paper type.