How to Decorate with Wall Paper

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Decorating with wallpaper is a great way to update your space and add visual interest without spending a lot of time or money. With so many options available, it’s helpful to first choose a pattern and color scheme that will work in your space. Once you’ve selected your wallpaper, you can transform the room by applying wallpaper to the walls or ceiling, or make subtle updates by creating your own unique wallpaper décor. 


[Edit]Choosing a Color and Pattern

  1. Go for a subtle pattern if you want your décor to be more neutral. If you’re looking to add just a touch of texture and interest to your space, choosing a subtle wallpaper pattern is a great option. While bright, bold patterns are a great way to add a bit of pizazz, a simple damask or barely-there floral or dot pattern in neutral shades can give your space a touch of elegance without feeling overpowering.[1]
    • Look for patterns with cream and beige tones to help elevate your space without detracting from the rest of your décor.
    • Subtle patterns in neutral shades are a great option if you want to hang pictures or artwork on top of the wallpaper, since neutral colors won’t overpower the space.
    • For example, give your space a softer touch with a muted floral pattern.[2]
  2. Use a high-shine or metallic wallpaper for a glamourous feel. To give your space a glam makeover, try installing a high-shine or metallic patterned wallpaper to one or all of the walls. In addition to giving your space a chic and glamourous lift, shiny and metallic wallpaper will also reflect light and give your space a larger, brighter feel.[3]
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    • For a classically glamourous look, try adding a high-shine silvery option around the entire space.
    • To add just a hint of glam, apply a metallic gold and cream damask pattern to one of the walls in the room.
  3. Select a textured wallpaper to warm up your space. To give your space a cozy, more intimate vibe, try applying textured wallpaper in a simple, classic color. The texture on the wallpaper works like an area rug to warm up the space, while a classic color will keep it from feeling dated or overpowering.[4]
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    • Unlike flat wallpaper, textured wallpaper is raised in sections of its pattern, giving it more dimension and adding some visual interest. For example, textured damask wallpaper often has a flat paper background with a soft metallic material that is raised slightly out from the flat background.
    • For example, a textured grass pattern in a classic dark navy is a great option for a library or cozy reading nook, while a pastel textured damask pattern can add both warmth and a hint of glam to a bedroom or walk-in closet.
  4. Try large, vertical patterns to make high ceilings feel less cavernous. If you have a large room with particularly high ceilings, applying a large, bold vertical patterned wallpaper can be a great way to tame the space. While big patterns can be overwhelming in smaller spaces, they can actually make larger rooms with high ceilings feel a bit more intimate.[5]
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    • When decorating with large, bold patterned wallpaper, try balancing out the space by using furniture and décor in complementary colors and simple shapes.
  5. Pick a geometric design if you’re going for a classic preppy look. Choosing a geometric patterned wallpaper, such as a trellis or Greek key pattern, is a great way to instantly liven up your space. Simple geometric patterns with thin lines tend to work in almost any space, while bright, bolder prints can give a larger room a fresh, modern feel.[6]
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    • For example, try using a bright color, such as a grassy green or yellow, in a thin trellis pattern to give your entryway a splash of color.
    • Try a more subdued light grey Greek key pattern in your bedroom for a preppy yet understated look.
  6. Try a lattice or lace design to add a bit of understated elegance. If you want to elevate your space without making a big statement, try adding an elegant lattice or lace wallpaper to your walls or ceiling.[7] While overusing these delicate patterns could risk overwhelming your space and making it feel outdated, using a timeless lace or lattice option can add a touch of elegance when used sparingly for décor, on one wall, or on the ceiling.
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    • For example, try applying a dove grey and white lace pattern to the wall behind your bed to give your room an instantly sophisticated look.
  7. Choose a Scottish-style plaid for a timeless, rustic style. To give your space a classic rustic vibe, try applying a Scottish-style plaid wallpaper to part of your space. While this bold pattern can make your space feel a bit too dark if overused, it can be welcoming and timelessly elegant when paired with classic wainscoting and rich mahogany furniture.[8]
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    • Plaid patterned wallpaper is a great option for an office, library, or bar area.

[Edit]Applying Wallpaper

  1. Cover a portion of a room with wallpaper to help define the space. If you have one area of a larger room that isn’t separated by walls and you want to give the space its own distinct feel, try adding wallpaper to the walls in just that one section. This will allow you to section off the space and give it its own purpose without having to physically separate it from the rest of the room.[9]
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    • For example, try applying wallpaper over a fireplace mantel or on a recessed wall in your entryway to define the space while keeping it open.
    • If there isn’t an easy or clearly defined stopping and starting point for the wallpaper, you can frame it off with molding to make it look clean and purposeful.
  2. Use wallpaper in small spaces to make a big statement. If you want to get creative with your interior design but don’t want anything distracting in your main living spaces, try adding a bold wallpaper in a small, closed off space. This will allow you to make a big statement in your design without having to commit to anything too bold or risky in any large rooms or spaces.[10]
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    • For example, try adding a textured metallic wallpaper in a small half bathroom, or using an eye-catching plaid pattern in a small library.
  3. Add patterned wallpaper to make uniquely shaped rooms cohesive. Rooms with pitched ceilings and awkward angles can often feel disjointed. To make a uniquely shaped room feel more purposeful and cohesive, try adding a patterned wallpaper along the main walls or the angled ceilings.[11]
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    • Patterned wallpaper tends to stand out more than painted walls, making it clearer that the room serves a singular purpose despite its disjointed layout.
    • For example, this is a great way to make a finished attic or basement feel like part of the house rather than an afterthought.
  4. Place wallpaper on the ceiling to give your room a unique design touch. If you want to subtly transform your space without spending a lot of time and money, placing wallpaper on the ceiling is a great option. While it will certainly catch the eye, wallpapering the ceiling won’t transform your space quite as much as wallpapering the walls. Plus, it will give your room a one-of-a-kind design that’ll help make the space feel completely yours.[12]
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    • To avoid overpowering your space, choose a color scheme and pattern that complements your furniture and wall colors. This will ensure that your space still feels cohesive.
  5. Apply wallpaper to all the walls to give larger rooms a more intimate feel. If you have a room that feels a bit large and cavernous, applying wallpaper to all the walls in the room can help tame the space and make the room feel less hollow. Since the wallpaper will be one of the dominant design features in the room, make sure that you choose a color and pattern that won’t overwhelm your space.[13]
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    • For example, if you have a large bedroom with particularly high ceilings, adding a bold pattern in neutral colors, such as a light blue geometric pattern or a textured pale gold damask print, will give your space a soft, intimate feel.
  6. Get creative with a combination of wallpaper and molding. If you want to decorate with wallpaper but don’t want to wallpaper any walls entirely, try mixing textures and materials by applying wallpaper to half of the wall above a tall row of wainscoting. In addition, by placing a thin horizontal row of molding in the middle of the walls, you can clearly and cleanly fill the top space with wallpaper and paint the bottom, or vice versa.[14]
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    • Mixing materials and textures allows you to add character to your space without overpowering the rest of your space.
    • Similarly, you can also add dimension by mixing wallpaper and paneling instead of molding or wainscotting.[15]

[Edit]Creating Unique Décor

  1. Frame pieces of wallpaper to create one-of-a-kind artwork. If you love wallpaper but don’t want to commit to covering an entire wall, framing panels or pieces of wallpaper can be a great option. Frame larger panels to create a more dramatic effect, or frame several different complementary patterns to add interest without overwhelming your space.[16]
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    • Try using several different patterns in the same color to create a unique gallery wall.[17]
  2. Add wallpaper to your stair risers for an unexpected pop. If you want to add just a bit of visual interest to your space, try applying a patterned wallpaper to the risers under your stairs. Stairs aren’t generally the focus of interior design plans, so this will give your space a truly unique touch.[18]
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    • It can be helpful to tape a few swatches of your favorite wallpaper options to see which color scheme and patterns work best with the wood tone of the stairs and color of your walls. 
  3. Apply patterned wallpaper to the back of a bookcase. For a simple way to add a decorative touch to your room, try applying patterned wallpaper to the backing of a free-standing or built-in bookcase. Use a subtle pattern in neutral colors to keep the design subdued, or go for a fun pattern to make your bookcase look like a piece of art.[19]
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    • For a more rustic look, try applying a woodgrain patterned wallpaper to a simple white bookcase.[20]
    • If you’re decorating a child’s room, use a removable age-appropriate wallpaper that you can switch out as the child gets older and their interests change.
  4. Transform a chest by adding wallpaper to the outside of the drawers. If you have an old or plain chest of drawers, give them an instant update by adhering wallpaper to the outside of the drawers. You can paint the rest of the chest to match, or choose a wallpaper pattern with colors that complement the chest as it is.[21]
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    • If you want to keep the outside of your chest the same but want to transform it a bit, try lining the inside of the drawers with wallpaper instead to add a surprising touch of color.[22]
    • Similarly, you can also transform an old table by applying wallpaper to a tabletop. Add a glass top to protect the paper from spills.[23]


If you have a small room, patterned wallpaper might overwhelm the space. Try using wallpaper on just 1 wall instead to create an accent wall.[24]



  24. [v161384_b01]. 10 July 2020.

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