Okay, as you could probably tell from the title of today’s blog, I love wallpaper. I do. I unapologetically love wallpaper. Actually, I love GOOD wallpaper, the kind that can transform any room into a work of art and adds that wow factor! From chinoiserie to art deco, there’s a pattern for every taste and style, from textured types to hand-painted, to full wall murals, there is a wallpaper that can work for any room.
We don’t see wallpaper too often in modern homes, though, do we? While it was a vital part of decor throughout the past two centuries, it hit it’s last big resurgence in the 1980s – cabbage roses, faded stripes, and borders that featured golf motifs or sunflowers. (Let’s be honest, this was a dark time in interior design.)
But it’s these memories of ugly wallpaper that have so many people are scared of using it! By the 1990s, wallpaper sales were crashing, and they stayed pretty flat through the early 2000s. As vintage decoration styles come back, including arts and crafts, French country, and art deco, we’re seeing a resurgence of wallpaper in interior design, and I couldn’t be happier.
Unfortunately, I talk to people frequently who still never want to consider using it in their home!
Whether they’re afraid of getting tired of a pattern, the pattern going out of style, or it will be a hassle to hang or remove (secret: Paper Tiger and Downy fabric softener), too many homeowners refuse to even explore their options, preferring to go with paint instead.
But that’s not you, right? You’re ready to embrace the possibilities that beautiful patterns and prints can offer! Or at least you’re ready to learn a bit more about it, and that’s okay, too!
Modern Wallpaper – What Goes Up CAN Come Down!
Let’s tackle the first obstacle of wallpaper – it seems hard to hang and a BEAST to remove! Whether you’re breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of pasting and hanging for hours or the thought of hours spent scouring and scraping wallpaper, take a deep breath!
First, most wallpapers come pre-pasted or pasting them isn’t too bad and hanging is much easier than you probably think, especially with these easy-to-follow directions from HGTV. But if you want to make it even easier, temporary, removable wallpaper is an absolute breeze! While some are peel-and-stick, others are soaked in water to activate the adhesive before it’s hung up. Then, to remove, you spray it with water with a spray bottle and easily pull it down.
Like to change your home decor up every few years? Renting a house or apartment and don’t want it to feel like a rental? Easily removable wallpaper is your solution, and they have amazing options at Chasing Paper and Spoonflower.
Wallpaper as Wall Art
Don’t think you have to go floor to ceiling with wallpaper, especially on your first time out. Though I will tell you, once you start, you may want to wallpaper ALL THE THINGS! It’s like eating Pringles – you can’t eat just one. Only with wallpaper. And you don’t eat it.
With more “freeform” varieties that don’t have such linear patterns, such as chinoiserie or watercolor styles, turn it into wall art in no time! You can purchase a roll and create a stunning focal point either by repurposing an ugly picture (check out the easy tutorial here), or buying an empty frame. Got a contemporary design theme? – a large wallpaper-wall art piece is a great way to bring this look into your home.
This is a simple, inexpensive project you can do in a few minutes that will absolutely transform the look of a room! If you love a gallery wall, buy samples of wallpaper in a similar theme and hang them in small frames. Line the back of a bookshelf. Whether you go big or small, you’ll have a stunning display!
Accenting Your Space with Wallpaper
Ready to step out of the frame but not ready for a full room of (beautiful, handpainted, absolutely AH-MAZING) wallpaper? There are plenty of ways you can incorporate it into your room without it overwhelming, especially a small space.
First, there’s the tried-and-true accent wall! Select one wall to be your statement and design your room around it. This is great in an art deco or mid-century modern design, especially where a bold, vibrant print with metallic accents or a geometric look may overwhelm an entire room. But one wall? Perfect!
If you prefer a more traditional design, use wainscotting on the bottom of the wall or a chair rail, and paper the top half. It will be lovely, while the lower half will ground the room and break up the color and design. If you love coastal, cottage, or French country, consider using beadboard instead of the traditional wainscotting!
Dancing on the Ceiling (but with Wallpaper)
How’s your ceiling looking? One of my favorite trends that’s been growing in popularity is decorating your ceiling with wallpaper! It makes a HUGE statement, even the most subtle design, because it’s such a major shift from boring, white painted ceiling.
Wallpapering the ceiling brings interest to your entire room without overpowering it, and it’s such a surprise when people enter the room for the first time. This works with a larger print because a small design or pattern may get “lost” on the ceiling. Or, if you want to keep your room light and airy use white, embossed or textured paper instead.
Keep in mind, if you have textured ceilings or…popcorn ceilings (okay, you should remove the popcorn ceiling, I don’t know why those were ever a “thing”) wallpaper doesn’t work. But if you have a clean, flat surface overhead, give it some life!
A Designer’s Tips for Using Wallpaper
Okay, now that you know how you want to wallpaper your space, what you want to do, now you have to put the rest of the room together. Whether you’re using a small pattern or a bold print, wallpaper does make a statement. Bringing in lots of colors and styles can make the room feel like a mish-mash and VERY overwhelming.
Instead, take a more light handed approach with the rest of your decor – think solid, neutral upholstery and wood furniture to “ground” your space. Then add the details slowly, trying to tie them into the wallpaper without being overly matchy. Consider a contrasting color to your curtains or a different geometric design in your couch cushions.
Add one element at a time and see how it works.
You can do this.
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2 Krista Lewis Design https://www.instagram.com/p/BFxQcTHmKrZ/
3 de Gournay http://www.chinoiseriechic.net/2016/08/orange-chinoiserie.html
4 No reference picture
5 Roxy Te Owens @societysocial
7 Kady Dunlap https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/34441970?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u835&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery8
8 Interior Design by Tiffany
9 No resource picture
10 Courtney Blanton Interiors http://www.chinoiseriechic.net/2016/04/blue-and-white_12.html