Before doing anything, pat yourself on the back and celebrate that you’re not afraid of commitment! Next, clarify your objective — is it to make a bold statement or merely to add visual texture to the space at hand?
Adding visual texture
Consider a raffia or a textured grass cloth, or even a raw silk, depending on how formal the space is. There are even wipeable vinyl versions of all of these textured options for those of you that need the option of taking a sponge to a wall after an active day with the kiddos.
You’ll see how in this D.C. sunroom, left, the grass cloth adds depth that paint could never achieve. In this guest room in Drew’s house, right, we get the best of both worlds by having a grass cloth with a subtle graphic to make for a pleasing refuge of a guest room.
Making a bold statement
If you’re in the bold camp, congrats! You only live once! There are so many dynamic options on the market right now, it can be overwhelming to the newbie. What are some wallpapers I’m dying to use right now? Anything by Voutsa, Maison C and Porter Teleo. My past go-to’s are Schumacher, Scalamandre, Hygge and West, and Phillip Jeffries, among many others.
I tend to favor more restraint in main living areas, but welcome going bold in secondary spaces, like powder rooms, guest rooms, and kids’ rooms. I find most people are more willing to take risks in spaces they aren’t confronted with every day.
Not overdoing it with pattern play
- Go halfsies or limit the use. Do you have a lovely chair rail or paneling in a room? Applying wallpaper exclusively above the chair rail is a lovely option. This is often done in dining rooms and powder rooms where such trim work is common.
- To accent or not to accent, that is the question. I typically am not into accent walls with paint or wallpaper, but yes, I’ve done it before, especially with extremely bold or geometric patterns that could get too visually cacophonous if done on every wall.
- Be aware of the other patterns being used in your space. If you have a bold trellis pattern in tile on the floor, you probably don’t want to do a similar geometric with your wallpaper. It takes a pro to effectively be a maximalist with pattern!
- View all of your finishes together to confirm the palette works. Design choices should never be made in a vacuum!
- Make sure to work with your installer to determine quantity – it’s particularly important when you’re dealing with a pattern with a repeat! The pattern should always be continuous when wrapping around the room. Are there any walls that should not receive wallpaper? Textured walls or anything with cracks in it as these imperfections will telegraph through the paper.
For you weekend warriors out there, removable wallpaper has gotten better and better over the years. Everyone from trade vendors to big box stores offer great and often affordable ones. We even used adhesive paper in Linda’s craft room in Drew’s Honeymoon House! (How do you like them lemons?!)
The 5th wall
Don’t forget about the 5th wall – the ceiling! This can be an especially dynamic way to use wallpaper, though I would only consider when you have the luxury of high ceilings and I would likely focus on large scale patterns to avoid too much busy-ness overhead.