While certainly not a new trend, wallpaper has been increasing in popularity over the years, and is even working its way into some unexpected spaces. With so many options and opportunities to introduce prints into our interiors, we asked five scouted designers across the country for their advice on how to best embrace the power of wallpaper throughout the home. Here, they offer a variety of tips and inspired ideas. To find an interior designer in your area, consult The Scout Guide directory here.
Interior Design by Lizzie Cox Interiors. Photography by Laurey Glenn.
Create a high-impact first impression. Wallpaper in an entryway is a great way to instantly introduce your design personality, Lizzie Cox, owner of Lizzie Cox Interiors in Richmond, Virginia, says. It’s an ideal place to make a statement, and can even help inform other design choices throughout the home. Plus, your pattern of choice can reflect the overall feel of your home. For example, the image above is of an entryway Cox designed for a country home surrounded by acres of forest. Utilizing a tree pattern firmly established the home as a country getaway while setting the tone for the other rooms in the house.
Take advantage of angles. Spaces with archways and angled ceilings, like in an attic bedroom, are great areas to incorporate wallpaper, Cox explains. “I love wrapping a ceiling in a small-scale pattern and painting out the trim so there’s a breaking point,” she says. But take note: such projects are decidedly not DIY. “Since this kind of wallpapering involves serious precision, it’s key to employ a skilled installer to match the pattern.”
Interior design by Z Properties. Photography by Stephen Allen, of Winter Park, FL.
Add a room-enhancing accent. Wallpaper is an excellent way to extend or frame out a wall, or accentuate an aspect of a space. For instance, Emily Williams, lead designer at Z Properties in Winter Park, Florida, explains that wallpaper with a strong vertical print allows you to play up height. In the room above, Williams used a large-scale palm pattern to bring the outdoors in while drawing the eye up.
Consider the fifth wall. Often overlooked, ceilings are an excellent place to add paper. According to Jessica Geller, co-owner and lead designer at Toledo Geller in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, wallpapering the ceiling is one of the biggest interior design trends of the year, and can be translated in many ways. She’s seeing wallpapered ceilings paired with rooms that are papered either in the same pattern or a different but complementary one, and has advised clients to paint the walls but paper the ceiling to create an unexpected moment of enchantment when guests look up.
Interior design by Toledo Geller. Photography by Jacob Snavely Photography.
Mix it up. The use of multiple wallpapers throughout different rooms (as illustrated above) requires skill and talent, but according to Geller, when done right, it can be transporting. “Wallpaper used this way immediately signals you’re somewhere special, but it’s not pretentious or untouchable,” she explains. To pull it off, she recommends using an interior designer you completely trust. It’s also important to vary one paper enough from the next, meaning if you have a floral paper in one room and you can see into the room beyond, use a stripe or slightly geometric pattern in the adjacent space. “If that feels too challenging, a texture is always a safe bet as an intermediate layer,” she advises.
Create a personality-filled powder room. For anyone dipping a toe in wallpaper for the first time, all our experts agree that a small room is the perfect place to start. “Powder rooms are the spaces to go with wild or daring patterns,” Geller says. “It’s an easy place to take risks because you don’t spend much time there, so the impact can be bold but it’s not long-lasting.” She adds it’s also an unexpected delight to your guests. Williams notes this a great place to bring in another trend, wallpapering the back of a door, which wonderfully encapsulates a small space.
Interior design by Melissa Rufty. Photography by Kerri McCaffety, as seen in House Beautiful.
Consider your design goals. “Wallpaper is a great way to give a room depth and color. Think cozy dormer bedrooms engulfed in toile or boring hallways dressed in repetitive patterns,” Melissa Rufty, principal at Melissa Rufty Design Studio in New Orleans, Louisiana, explains. When working with a room that’s naturally light-filled (such as in the space Rufty designed above), opting for a wallpaper that has an open pattern and lighter hue allows light to bounce around and lends an air of spaciousness, the designer says.
Try something scenic. Scenic wallpaper has been around for ages, but as of late it’s become a frequently used favorite. Rufty surmises the recent uptick in popularity could be due to travel plans being disrupted over the past two years, but regardless of its origins, it’s a welcome return. According to Rufty, these types of patterns tend to look best in rooms with lots of wall space, like a dining room or formal living room. “Typically, these papers are hand-painted, customizable, and beyond gorgeous but come with a hefty price tag,” she explains. Recently, however, companies like Schumacher have partnered with Iksel to produce printed versions of various scenes, making the scenic trend more accessible to more people. She adds that Paul Montgomery Studios, known for their hand-painted scenic wallpapers, now has a sister company called The Mural Source, where they offer some of their scenes printed rather than painted, reducing the cost considerably.
Interior design by Walltawk. Photography by Lauren Winter of Inside Stories.
Opt for a mural in lieu of artwork. Unlike the traditional repeat patterns, Batya Stepelman, principal/owner at Wall Tawk in Denver, Colorado, suggests using a non-repeating mural, a single scene that’s printed based on a wall’s specific dimensions. You can either wrap a small room, creating an enveloping, transporting experience, use one on a feature wall where the mural acts as the artwork. The only place Stepelman advises against its use is in a space where you have many drops, soffits, or dormers that would interrupt the visual flow.
Tip 418 from Lizzie Cox, owner of Lizzie Cox Interiors in Richmond, Virginia; Emily Williams, lead designer at Z Properties in Winter Park, Florida; Jessica Geller, co-owner and lead designer at Toledo Geller in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey; Melissa Rufty, principal at Melissa Rufty Design Studio; and Batya Stepelman, principal/owner at WallTawk in Denver, Colorado. Lizzie Cox Interiors appears in The Scout Guide Richmond. Z Properties appears in The Scout Guide Orlando. Toledo Geller appears in The Scout Guide Bergen County. Melissa Rufty Design Studio appears in The Scout Guide New Orleans. WallTawk appears in The Scout Guide Denver.