How-To Choose Wallpaper – And How to Avoid Mistakes!

Wallpaper can be a fantastic addition to your home, adding instant colour, personality and style to your space. It can make a dramatic difference, and create a talking point in the room.  However it can also feel overwhelming to choose from the thousands of different designs, colours and patterns available and, when it’s used in the wrong way, the results can be dramatically underwhelming.

We often get asked for advice around choosing the right wallpaper, so here are our top tricks of the trade to help you avoid the pitfalls.

Consider the feel of the room first

We always ask our customers, how do you want the room to feel? Are you aiming for warm and friendly, bold and daring, lively and unexpected, or calm and restful? This is the first thing to consider when making your wallpaper choice. Different patterns and colours will lead to the room feeling very different.

  • If you’re after a calm, relaxed space, then you’d be looking at muted tones, and gentle, soft patterns, perhaps florals or a limited colour palette.
  • Maybe you want to feel lively and invigorated – then you might look at large scale designs, bold colour combinations and more zesty shades.
  • If it’s a more traditional and formal feel you are after, then stripes and geometric repeating patterns are going to work well.
  • Or if you are looking for a contemporary, modern feel then textures like concrete, marble or seagrass will look great.

Think about which walls to wallpaper

Next you want to figure out where to use the wallpaper. What do you want to draw attention to? How much drama do you want in the room? 

  • You could wallpaper all the walls. This looks great if you want to add a bold look with a large scale print. Or if your wallpaper is textured in muted tones, it can feel like it wraps you in calm. If your space is small, a dark wallpaper on all the walls would create a moody, intimate feel.
  • You could choose a feature wall to wallpaper. This could highlight one area of the room, the obvious one being a chimney breast, but you could also use it to help define an area in an open plan space, perhaps a dining area in a kitchen. Or you could use it in place of a headboard in a bedroom. And with the increase in zoom calls right now, you might want to add wallpaper behind you to create an interesting backdrop.
  • If you have a dado rail or picture rail that divides the wall, you can try different combinations together. We’re seeing lots of panelling around at the moment, and a dado rail provides a great opportunity for panel style wallpaper below and a large scale floral above. Or try combining a dramatic colourful wallpaper up to the picture rail and a strong colour taken from the wallpaper above the picture rail and on to the ceiling. Instant character!
  • And don’t forget the ceiling! Wallpaper can look amazing on the ceiling, and provides a unique place to add texture or pattern. It could be a jungle scene over the bed or a bold metallic geometric design over the dining table.

What pattern should I choose?

Pattern can help draw attention to areas – and hide other areas. It can make a room feel bigger, smaller, taller, brighter, but the wrong pattern in the wrong place can have the opposite effect from what you are trying to achieve.

  • Don’t always think a small print is easier to live with. A small print repeats more often so can appear busier than a larger print design. Consider the contrast between the colours in the pattern, for instance a black and white print is going to feel much more busy than a soft grey and white.
  • A textured wallpaper adds depth to a wall, and also hides imperfections whereas a glossy metallic will show up every lump and bump.
  • A metallic finish pattern will help bounce light around and make a room feel brighter.
  • Trailing designs that run vertically from floor to ceiling can visually extend the walls to make them look taller – great in rooms with lower ceilings.
  • Large prints feel dramatic and work well in large rooms to show them off, but they can also make a small room feel intimate and cosy.
  • Stripes and smaller scale botanical prints have a more timeless appeal and will date more slowly.
  • Murals are gaining in popularity and can be seen as art for your home as much as wallpaper. They are made up of several widths of wallpaper and do not repeat. They do not need to fill the whole wall, but can be framed by paint to make an amazing statement and draw your attention to that area of the room.
  • Do consider any patterns in your adjacent rooms. Can they be seen in different rooms? Do they need to compliment this room? Are you looking for a flow throughout the house? If you are, it might be best to stick to a theme, either with your colour choice or type and scale of pattern.

Do your research and get samples

Always search for wallpapers you like on Pinterest or Instagram to see examples of them on the wall. It is really difficult to imagine how they will look in a large area, and the best way to check it out is to see how other people have used it. And always request large samples of the wallpapers you like. Colours aren’t accurate enough on a computer screen, and the wallpaper can look very different depending on the light levels in your home, and other colours in the room.

If you are unsure, ask an expert

The designers at The Living House can help you to avoid any wallpaper disasters. We love helping our customers find the perfect wallpaper from subtle to stand out!

At The Living House we make interior design accessible to everyone, no matter what your budget or style. We can shop the best of the high street and independents for bargains and make sure you get the results you are looking for.

If you don’t know where to start, or need some inspiration, let us help you! We will listen to you, select the perfect items and show you how beautiful your home will look. Our designers have years of experience and enthusiasm to bring your project to life! 

Our prices are surprisingly affordable, starting at just £25. To get started on your next project take a look at our website  and Instagram #the_living_house and contact us today.

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