Hanging wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to change the mood of your home and express your personality. And there’s never been such a range of options, from oversized florals to cool geometries or understated pastels.
But what designs do interior design experts use in their own rooms, and how can you make them work for you? We asked the experts to uncover all the upcoming trends and find wallpaper ideas and inspiration for every room in the house.
Wallpaper ideas: the trends to know
Claire Greenfield, Lead Designer, Harlequin
“I love geometry, it’s my favorite motif. They work so well on different scales, create a strong look and make a statement, plus they’re not gender specific. Before I moved recently, I had our Sumi paper in my hall in the gold colorway so the light hits it, and it made a nice impact when someone entered the house.
“People make mistakes when they don’t choose the wallpaper they like. Choose the one that makes your heart beat a little faster. Don’t always go for the safe option – find what resonates with you, be bold and go for it!”
Kate French, Creative Director, Dado
“I like the decorative aspect, with a pretty touch and a soft and elegant color palette. I have our Paisley wallpaper in my hallway, which forms a beautiful stripe that catches your eye on the stairs. I also hang a lot of artwork on wallpaper and love the layering it creates – it gives texture and interest to the space.
“I see people being brave and lining all four walls and the ceiling, going up and down. But wallpaper also works in nooks and crannies – under your stairs, inside bookshelves, in reading nooks. It’s like fashion: you might want to wear a black coat, but have a colored lining. People also associate wallpaper with painted woodwork, choosing the colors of the paper to use on their baseboards and window frames. I love when wallpaper is used in unexpected ways.
Big and bold
Steve Corcoran, design consultant, House of Hackney
“If you want to use a large bold print, be brave. I love playing with scale in a room. A large-scale print in a small room is so atmospheric that it gives you the feeling of being enveloped in an organic print world. If you already have a dark room, there’s no point in making it into something it isn’t, so it’s fun to play on it, embrace it, and get moody and dramatic. And you can change upholstery in your bedroom for different seasons – use a lighter linen cushion in the summer and a darker velvet cushion in the winter.
“My favorite print right now is Plantasia, which I used on a large wall in my living room. It’s a wall print of a scenic landscape, so it’s airy and light yet very dramatic and beautiful up close. You have this panoramic feel, which is quite romantic – you feel like you’re peeking through the treetops.
Patrick O’Donnell, Global Brand Ambassador, Farrow & Ball
“I love decorated bathrooms. Very often bathrooms are seen as utilitarian spaces, but there’s no reason they shouldn’t be beautiful – I recently redecorated mine using an 18th century wallpaper, Orleans Stripe. It’s so delicate and elegant. Because bathrooms have all these hard fittings and tiles, they can feel cold and sterile, so adding wallpaper adds character and gives more depth to a room.
“If your ventilation is good, the wallpaper is perfect for a bathroom. We have windows in our bathroom, and it never fogs up, and Farrow & Ball wallpapers are glazed, so they’ll tolerate a few splashes. I wanted the stripes in my wallpaper to echo in the tiles so I used 30cm high brick tiles around the tub but some people recommend 40cm high tiles to protect the wallpaper .
“I always tell people to make sure they order enough rolls of wallpaper – if you have to order it again it may come from a different batch and have color variations. Also be careful with the glue to wallpaper, because the last thing you want is to stick all over the pattern.
Hayley McAfee, Design Director, Villa Nova
“We all use our homes in a different way now, and people want something that will uplift them. The murals are a talking point and look like works of art in themselves. Our new collection is a collaboration with potter and artist Kyra Cane – her patterns and textures result in amazing wallpapers.
“People can be a little nervous about murals; they think you need huge rooms and need to step back to appreciate it, but you don’t. Use furniture against a mural to create beautiful compositions – for example, if you have a sideboard, you can change it, replacing the black pots with pink pots, to match the colors of the paper.
“My young daughter has our Dusky Amazon mural in her bedroom. She never gets tired of it, it grows with it. The rest of the walls have been painted in a soft pink paint, but now she wants to change it to teal, like the leaves in the design. So you can always change rooms and keep the wallpaper.
Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director, Little Greene
“Chinese wallpapers are playful and harmonious, usually featuring flowers and birds. Their flight patterns are quite dreamlike and enchanting, almost magical. I think that’s why people like to use them, as a sort of escape – they’re kinda special.
“We found the Massingberd Blossom paper in Gunby Hall in Lincolnshire and used it for our new National Trust collection. We’ve created a gray version that resembles the original, and we’ve also translated it into calm, tranquil tones that are suitable for bedrooms. Next, we have brighter, bolder colors for the kitchens, hallways and downstairs washrooms! All my own home wallpapers have a natural element. In my kitchen, I used a peacock feather pattern in a neutral scheme on all four walls. It’s complex, but it’s still relaxing.