A secret interior design tip: wallpaper a closet


WANT TO GIVE your decor a touch of personality that is both discreet and powerful? Take wallpaper inside your home, a favorite trick of interior designers that is fun, surprising and economical. However, you still need to consider the context. When adding a pattern to a room, Jewel Marlowe, an interior designer and handyman from Washington, DC, categorizes patterns into stripes, dots, watercolors, organics, and geometrics. “If my closet is in a striped room, for example, I would choose dot, watercolor, organic, or geometric with a different scale for my closet for more visual interest.” Here, a few more details.

The call

Closets are, surprisingly, among Jewel Marlowe’s favorite spots for wallpaper. “I believe the smaller the space, the better the opportunity to make a statement,” said the Washington, DC interior designer, who clad every wall and shelf in her kitchen pantry. of a green geometric pattern (right). She loves unexpected splashes and seeing guests’ reactions when she asks them to fetch an onion from the charismatic cupboard. Los Angeles interiors photographer Sara Ligorria-Tramp lavishly wallpapered her walk-in closet (left) to inject liveliness into her home’s mostly neutral design scheme. “It’s a great place to take risks without committing to an entire piece. And it makes me happy every time I’m in there,” she said.

Wallpapered Pantry In her home outside of Washington, DC, designer Jewel Marlowe covered every surface, including the shelves, in a kitchen cupboard.


Jewel Marlowe


When choosing a pattern, think carefully about scale. For a small space with shelves, select a print with a small “repeat”, ie the number of inches before the pattern starts again. Too much repetition and the pattern will look choppy, chaotic and hard to appreciate. Larger scale patterns work best in closets with fewer shelves, such as walk-in closets. “The scale also relates to what’s outside the closet door,” Ms. Marlowe noted. “It’s easier on the eyes if the wallpaper pattern in the closet is smaller or larger than the patterns” in adjacent rooms. Another source of advice when selecting patterns: accent colors in the next room often come in handy as a starting point. Ms. Marlowe’s kitchen is a pale blue, but in choosing the paper for her pantry, she was inspired by the greenish hues of a nearby chalkboard, paneling and many indoor plants.

The warnings

If you decide to sell your home, potential owners might curse you. “I could only assume that not wallpapering a closet would be a drag,” Ms. Ligorria-Tramp said, pointing to the many hooks, shelves and hanger bars that need to be removed to peel the paper off. When you first install it, measure precisely or outsource the task of anticipating the right amount. Ms Ligorria-Tramp thought she had done a good job using an online wallpaper calculator, “but I should have given the measurements directly to the wallpaper installer.” She had also planned to cover the ceiling of her closet, but barely had enough paper to cover the walls, paying around $500 for the installation.

Do-it-yourselfers will need patience, not perfectionism. Ms Marlowe said: ‘When covering entire shelves and working around the corners of existing brackets, there are bound to be slight variations, but trust me, only you will likely notice that.’


What tips do you have for using wallpaper in your home? Join the conversation below.


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