How to Choose the Right Wallpaper for Your Interiors

Sally Painter
Bathroom with luxury wallpaper

Choosing the right wallpaper for your interiors can sometimes feel daunting. Colors, styles,, patterns and textures are all factors to consider. Knowing what to look for will help you make the best choices for your rooms.

Tips for Choosing a Great Wallpaper

There's no shortage of wallpaper styles, colors and textures. Decide if you want to cover all walls or if an accent wall would look better in your room design.

Wallpaper Styles

The wallpaper style should go with the rest of your décor style. It should flow naturally with the rest of your space. Some examples include:

  • Formal: A formal interior benefits from various elegant wallpaper designs, such as a hand-painted print or damask.
  • Glam: The choices for glam wallpaper include embossed, flocked, crystal or glitter embedded or dramatic reflective designs.
  • Casual: Your décor can be enhanced with different patterns, such as a plant, floral or textured print.
  • Country: A plaid, gingham or country motif pattern may be a good choice for your country décor.
  • Rustic: Select a textured wallpaper, such as a grasscloth for depth, plaid for warmth or a wildlife pattern to fit your theme.
  • Victorian: A baroque floral damask makes a good wallpaper for this period style.
  • Modern: Select a geometric or abstract pattern for a more modern décor.
Green floral wallpaper in bedroom

Wallpaper Colors

The colors you select for an interior wallpaper should be a good match to your window treatments, flooring and furniture.

  • You can get the color saturation of a bold paint color by selecting a colored wallpaper with a pattern that's a few values lighter. This approach gives an elegant touch to a bathroom.
  • Choose colors from the color palette of rest of your décor. Repeat one or more of the colors with your wallpaper choice.
  • Use the accent color as the main color in your wallpaper to create drama and contrast.
  • For a smooth easy transition, repeat the wall paint color as the main wallpaper color.
Blue and white themed bathroom

Pattern or Plain Wallpapers

You aren't limited to using a plain wallpaper even if you've used different patterns in your décor. The key is to select the right colors and pattern size.

  • If you have patterned draperies and upholstery, an easy choice is a tone-on-tone pattern or textured wallpaper.
  • If you opt for a patterned wallpaper, go with a smaller or larger pattern than the drapery fabric or upholstery pattern.
  • A plain wallpaper offers a nice visual break for a heavily patterned décor.

Large and Small Patterns

It's a myth that you must select patterns that are the same scale as the room, such as small patterns for small rooms and large prints for large rooms. You can certainly do this, but your design may be rather mundane. A large wallpaper pattern in a small bathroom can be a dramatic design choice. You may decide to use a small pattern in a large den where the space is broken up by windows, doors and built-in furniture. In this scenario, a small pattern creates a great visual with teasing breaks and hints of colors and pattern.

Textured Wallpaper for Design Depth

If you're looking for something to add a layer of texture and greater design depth, opt for a textured wallpaper. Select a grasscloth for a home office, for instance. Choose an accent wall behind the desk or use above a wainscoting or chair rail. In a cozy living room or den design, you might opt for a textured wallpaper, such as grasscloth, embossed or flocked.

Textured wallpaper in contemporary bedroom

Metallic Wallpapers

A room with poor natural light is an ideal candidate for a shiny metallic wallpaper to reflect light deeper into the room. A small windowless half bath benefits from a reflective wallpaper, and a vintage kitchen or dining room is an ideal candidate for faux tin ceiling wallpaper.

Gold metallic wallpaper design

Make Rooms Appear Smaller or Larger

The pattern size can make a room appear larger or smaller. Visually decrease the size of a large room by using a large print with a darker background. The pattern and color contrast will give the optical illusion of drawing the walls in closer for a cozier feel to the room. Conversely, depending on the color and pattern, a small patterned wallpaper can make a small room appear larger or a large room appear even larger.

Make Walls Appear Taller and Longer

Horizontal stripes make a wall appear longer while vertical stripes give the illusion of height. You can use wide or narrow stripes, and stripes can be irregular, such as vine or paisley patterned stripes.

Blue and white vertical stripe wallpaper

Where to Use Wallpaper

There are all kinds of ways you can use interior wallpaper in your home. You can apply it to every wall in every room or only on an accent wall. Wallpaper can be used to break up a wall space or highlight wall space broken up by built-ins.

Red flowered wallpaper in dining room

Accent Walls

One of the greatest things about wallpaper is the ability to transform a room into a design with depth and style. The most economical and easiest way is to choose a solid wall for a wallpaper accent wall.

  • Choose the wall behind the bed for an elegant and warming design visual for the master bedroom.
  • Use two different wallpapers in the same room, such as a stripe for an accent wall in a bedroom and a jacquard print wallpaper for the other walls.
  • Go dramatic with your accent wallpaper, like with a zebra print or lush tropical leaf pattern.
  • An Art Deco geometric wallpaper design might be the "wow" factor you've been seeking for the wall behind the dining room sideboard.
Gold wallpaper in luxurious bedroom decor

Chair Rails

Wallpaper above or below a chair rail brings warmth and depth to a dining room or breaks up a long hallway. You might mix and match wallpaper patterns for above and below the chair rail. Alternatively, you may prefer to paint the wall below the chair rail and use wallpaper above it or vice versa.

Wainscoting

Using wallpaper above a wainscoting is another decorative way to highlight a décor. You can choose a pattern that goes with the style and colors of your dining room, den, kitchen or even a bedroom.

Transform Interiors With the Right Wallpaper

It's easy to choose a great interior wallpaper for your rooms when you follow design tips. Transform a plain room into a dramatic or lush tropical retreat with the right wallpaper treatment.

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How to Choose the Right Wallpaper for Your Interiors