Before you click away, clear your mind of the wallpaper of your childhood in the 70s and 80s! I promise this is not your aunt's shiny paper or your mom's chintz. Wallpaper is back, it's modern, and it can make a huge impact in your family's home!
While I'll never recommend that you paper your entire house, I do recommend it to clients in spaces where they want to make a statement. I have 9 simple rules of thumb I'll share with you so you can confidently use wallpaper in your home.
1. Wallpaper adds Whimsy in passage spaces
Today's wallpaper can serve you in lots of different ways. You can use a medium or large print in a powder room, a texture in a dining room, or even add some whimsy to a ceiling. No longer does one papered room leading to another cause print overload. In fact, it’s a sophisticated and elegant option that can be used to dress up a space and elevate the whole house!
2. Wallpaper Packs a Punch in Small Spaces
I often recommend clients start by wallpapering a powder room. There are a few advantages to this: it's a small room so the cost of goods and labor are kept low, plus it's not a room you're in for extended periods of time. You can treat it as a little jewel box and take that risk!
3. Wallpaper is Varied and Visually-Stunning
While your grandmother may have had all those dainty florals, that's not wallpaper's only look anymore! There are geometric patterns, abstract prints, and beautiful designs that will keep your home looking modern and timeless. While some options feel a bit trendy, I will steer you toward timeless patterns you'll love to live with for years to come.
4. Grasscloth Wallpaper is Timeless
I love recommending a grasscloth wallpaper to clients who are looking for something more than paint, but not something that overwhelms the room. The natural texture of the grasscloth gives a luxurious feel and texture, adds some variation, and feels luxurious. Grasscloth never goes out of style, so if you're worried about installing something that doesn't hew to trends, grasscloth may be for you.
5. Patterned Wallpaper Can Read as a Neutral
If you're nervous about adding a pattern on the wall, don't be. When I work with clients, we mix patterns all the time and a patterned wallpaper can read as a neutral! The trick is getting the scale right and a good rule of thumb is to use a small, medium, and large pattern in each space. Bold wall art might mean a less busy wallpaper, and a busy wallpaper works beautifully with textured upholstery in a solid.
6. Wallpaper is Lovely as an Accent
In my own kitchen cabinets, I've added wallpaper to dress up the backs and add a pop of color to my all-white kitchen. It's easy to change out and adds one more element of design to the room. If you're nervous about committing to an entire room, consider adding wallpaper to the back of a bookcase or cabinet - grasscloth really shines here, too!
7. Wallpaper is Easily Cleaned and Maintained
One other great application for wallpaper in homes of busy families is in a mudroom. A vinyl paper (Thibaut has some great ones!) can be scrubbed down if it gets muddy, and some can even be bleach cleaned! A vinyl paper can be a real workhorse and still look amazing. Also consider vinyl in kids' bathrooms - if your little guy misses, it's not a big deal. The other option is to put a paper above trimwork, as we did in this mudroom with a Kravet pattern. Up high it's protected from wet boots and muddy paws!
8. Wallpaper is Not as Expensive as You Think
When factoring in the labor of a good quality painter or a good quality wallpaper hanger, often the cost per room isn't vastly different. The prep level for paint sometimes bumps up the cost, while wallpaper can often go up in a day and has less drying time. Wallpaper can also hide a world of sins in older homes with imperfect walls. Ask friends or your local designer who they've used in the past to get the names of some great paper hangers. It's definitely an art, so be sure to vet your installer. I have a few who I adore!
9. Wallpaper Can Be an Eco-Friendly Option
There are some great materials used in modern wallpapers and wallcoverings. Kravet has a gorgeous line of cork, as does Weitzner. You can think beyond printed paper. Many of these materials are renewable and biodegradable and have less off-gassing at installation than traditional paints. This one is a wood paper from Philip Jeffries that we installed in a luxe bar area.
I hope this inspires you to consider wallpaper in your home. It's one of the best tools in my designer's toolbox to elevate a space and add luxury. Whether in a whole room, an accent wall, or even just in a cabinet, it's a fun pop of color, pattern, and texture.
To get a professional eye on your walls before deciding on paint or wallpaper, reach out to us!