Interior Paints & Finishes

11 Reasons to Reconsider Wallpaper

Safe, simple-to-install wallpaper is easy to come by these days. So what’s keeping you from experimenting with a little pattern and color on your walls?

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Wallpaper for All

For years, all-white walls and simple one-coat paint jobs have dominated the domestic scene. But move over, neutrals—decorative wallpaper is making a comeback. Living rooms spring to life with graphic accent walls, bedrooms soften with romantic florals, and even the most mundane of interior spaces like laundry rooms are swathed in exuberant motifs. No matter where your own style lands on the spectrum of understated to bold, the wide range of available patterns and colors on the market ensures that you’ll be able to find a print that’s right for you. Here are a few wallpaper ideas and clever strategies for integrating it into your decor.

Amp Up the Drama

Whether hung on all four walls or limited to one, wallpaper can enrich any room. The pattern you choose—and the accent wall that you paper—will depend on your style and the room’s layout. Coordinate wallpaper with the colors of other furnishings that will share the space, like a sofa, headboard, or carpet—and don’t be afraid to go bold.

Add a Little Romance

Especially when placed in a bedroom or bath, floral prints from delicate rosebuds to oversize poppies can create a romantic escape. Carry swatches of fabrics that will share the space when choosing a pattern for the walls and opt for muted colors over more saturated shades to keep the overall look calming.

Related: 7 Essential Wallpaper Tools Under $20

Make a Grand Entrance

Zillow Digs home in New York, NY

Foyers and entrance halls are ideal spots to let guests know what you’re all about, so what better setting for an eye-catching print? Whether you choose to go playful, bold, sophisticated, or subtle, underscore the visual impact of a pattern by adding a complementary color on interior molding, carpeting, or picture frames.

Energize a Small Space

If you’re timid about using wallpaper in a larger room, experiment with patterns in tiny spaces first, like a guest bathroom or reading nook. Go small-scale print for a traditional look or try an edgy, oversize motif in a bold color palette. Or, line the inside of a closet or cupboard—you’ll smile every time you open the door.

Related: 10 Wallpaper Options to Trick the Eye

Play With Pattern

If you love to mix and match patterns on your upholstery, throw pillows, curtains, and rugs, wallpaper makes perfect sense for your next decorating project. To keep an arrangement from overpowering a room, choose a color scheme that unites all the patterns and allow one print to take center stage while the others play a supporting role.

Appreciate Historic Interiors

Vibrant wall patterns adorned Colonial dwellings, grand Victorian manors—even 1970s homes! No matter what era you’re drawn to, a historically inspired wallpaper will help you re-create the look in your own house. Seek out exact replicas for period-perfect rooms, or choose a pattern that simply captures the spirit of the past.

Elevate a Humdrum Spot

Utilitarian spaces like laundry rooms and mudrooms are often overlooked in the larger scheme of interior design, but enlivening such spots with a playful wallpaper can brighten your day every time you use them. Try a print or color here you might not typically consider—no guests will come around to judge!

Put Your Home Office Walls to Use

Sure, more of us work from home than ever before, but that doesn’t mean we have to discontinue our corporate whiteboard brainstorming sessions. Hang peel-and-stick dry-erase wallpaper on a wall in your home office to help you brainstorm, keep to-do lists, or even make Zoom presentations.

Add Whimsy to a Playroom

Though some wallpapers have traditionally contained VOCs, flame retardants, and other health hazards, it’s not difficult these days to find wallpaper that’s manufactured using healthy, eco-friendly practices. KEK Amsterdam, for example, makes food-approved, OEKO-TEX Standard 100 wallpaper that’s free of formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds. Roll some whimsical, kid-safe wallpaper on the playroom walls or in the kids’ rooms to bring a smile to the little ones’ faces every day. (Pro tip: Seek out wallpaper that can be scrubbed, too.) If papering a whole wall is more than you want to take on, try tacking on wall stickers in your kids’ favorite themes.

Related: 13 Places to Buy Temporary Wallpaper

Look (Up) on the Bright Side

Wallpaper on the ceiling can be an impactful, surprising design element. It allows you to maintain neutral painted walls, but still adds interest and excitement to the room. Whether you go with bold colors up above or choose a pattern that quietly complements the rest of the room is up to you, but either way it’s super fun when guests look up and finally notice your ceiling.

Cut Kitchen Chaos

Your home’s kitchen is a gathering place, but it’s also where a lot of logistical magic happens. Many of us keep calendars, recipes, and notes to family members in this space—why not post these things in an impossible-to-lose place? Hanging chalkboard wallpaper in your kitchen may be the answer. If you’re not ready for a bold, charcoal-gray wall, experiment with a small space, such as the inside of a pantry door. (Pro tip: A kitchen wall that’s papered in chalkboard wallpaper is a good way to keep tots occupied while you’re cooking, too.)