I just love wallpaper. The opportunity to wrap a room in wall to wall pattern just fills me with joy! It reminds me when I was first dating my now husband, and he said to me “I hate wallpaper” and the thought of breaking up with him really did go through my mind. I thought this was possibly a hurdle that was going to prevent our happy homemaking future together. Eleven years of marriage later and I have him well and truly on board as you will witness from my own home renovation!
So with the ‘feature wall’ officially dead (or is it, more on that later), I thought it’s time to talk about new ways with wallpaper and how we can incorporate it in our homes.
If like me you love a big and bold designer wallpaper you may be faced with two hurdles. First the price, some of these amazing papers can be eye-wateringly expensive. Secondly, the fear that the print could actually overpower the room. Creating wall panels is a great way to address both. You cut down on the amount of paper you need and if you are remotely handy, you can then attempt to paper the panels yourself as there is no awkward cutting in or going around corners, which is another saving on hiring a professional. And by some of the walls remaining plain you dilute the impact of the print. You can create multiple panels around the room or simply create a dado rail and paper just above or below it. There are lots of ‘how-to’s’ on how to add wall panelling over on youtube but you can see my friend Wayne (who you may recognise off the telly) here.
Using wallpaper in unexpected places an be a real head-turner. Pinterest is awash with ideas and inspo when it comes to papering your stairs and given the expense of stair runners, this can be a really effective upgrade to painted stairs. I love this design as shown as it really drawers the eye up. Tip is to just paper the up-risers, using a specialist floor paint on the treads, as they take serious wear and tear. However, in lighter traffic areas, you can even wallpaper your floor! Who knew? Well, I didn’t until I stumbled across the resourceful DIY expert Medina from Grillo Designs. If this perks your interest, you can read more here.
To make a room feel really bespoke I love to incorporate mural wallpapers. These are papers that are not just simply a repeat pattern but create a whole scene. You can even create your own murals from artwork or photography (if you have the rights). This is where I think a feature wall can still feel relevant. There are companies like Surface View who have a wonderful database of designs to choose from or can help you create your own. However, with the trend for larger scale wallpapers, many of the brands are creating more mural-esque designs that are bought in panels. This one above from Little Greene mimics those hand-painted Chinoiserie designs, popular in the grand houses of the 18th century. I’d still want this on all four walls though wouldn’t you, it would make an amazing bedroom!
As we have already established, wallpaper is not just for walls. It can be cunningly be applied to furniture too. It’s a real interior designer’s trick to add textured wallpaper coverings to bespoke joinery, like fitted wardrobe doors for example. Choose a grasscloth for a more understated look. Or how about matching your furniture to your walls. I love the visual trick of papering this chest of drawers the same as the walls. Simply use a strong adhesive, I use watered down PVA glue to stick down the paper and then protect the whole thing with decorators varnish. On wardrobe doors, it’s helpful to place an edge of beading or trim all around otherwise the edges can lift and curl.
This is probably the most out there idea and does take quite a big dose of commitment. Mostly because hanging wallpaper to the ceiling is back breaking and definitely one that should be handed over to the professionals in my view. I’ve had great success papering ceilings, as its a wonderful way of adding pattern without it overwhelming the room. It is a particularly great trick in small bedrooms or even the downstairs loo where you need to make an impact in a small area. In larger rooms, it can start to take over and I’d avoid it if your large room also has a low ceiling. High ceiling rooms look great, however, especially if you take the paper all the way down to the picture rail. Your biggest hurdle is finding a paper that works on the horizontal surface as most are designed for vertical walls and travel in a direction. So make sure the wallpaper print you choose makes sense when viewed in any direction.
Featured image at top: The Pearwood Collection, Midsummer Bloom 116/4013 by Cole & Son