10 exhilarating wallpapers to tempt the senses

Lift a room's mood with vibrant colour and striking pattern

Forget anaglypta covered in drab magnolia paint – décor that’s as tired as it is dated. Contemporary wallpapers will give an instant lift to any space. From snugs to bathrooms, we’ve picked some of the most dynamic prints available to give your home a hit of gorgeous colour.

1. Feeling marbleous…


Swirling across the wall in a sea of emerald green, this shade makes the perfect backdrop to cool metallic accessories, copper-coloured furniture and rich, printed window dressings. It’s detailed enough for you to gaze at for hours, but its subtle pattern never overwhelms.
Makrana 110918 wallpaper in Emerald, Harlequin

2. Hot tropics


Make like Raffles whatever the weather with this effervescent floral print. Perfect for conservatories or pumped-up powder rooms, it will add a hot-house atmosphere to the chilliest of climes. If you hear parrots chirping in the treetops, though, you’ve probably dozed off after too many Singapore Slings…
Tulipan W6753-01 wallpaper, Osborne & Little

3. Asian industry

It may be the workshop of the modern world, but let’s not forget the amazing cultural history of the Far East. Oriental style rarely goes out of fashion, so to give it added edge, why not team a timeless lattice-work print with a raw, faux-concrete wallcovering? Like a dog that’s lost its bone, you’ll hardly know where to look first…
Concrete wallpaper, Piet Boon for NLXL at Rockett St George; and Sansui NCW4181-08 wallpaper, Nina Campbell at Osborne & Little

4. Stone love

If industrial luxe isn’t to your taste, keep the material vibe alive with faux slate, a design that will still chime with the trend for textural prints. Teamed with a classical fire surround painted in ombré bands, this look is a smooth sensation.
Metaphore MTE65549000 wallpaper, Caselio at Casa Deco

5. Toile transformed


Long a favourite in interiors, Toile du Jouy is enjoying a new lease of life. While some companies update the print to include all kinds of unusual images, a traditional floral or pastoral scene can still pack a punch. Muted tones will let other patterns come to the fore, such as this herringbone-tiled fireplace, so don’t go overboard with colour, or you may just lose your head…
Pot Pourri W6598-03 wallpaper, Osborne & Little

6. Play zone


A few buddies are coming over for the weekend and you need somewhere to kick back. Where better than this snug romper room filled with funky furniture and exotic shapes. And as a fitting backdrop, we opted for a fine-feathered print that hints at foreign pastures, but could easily portray an urban marshland much closer to home. Now, if only we can find some space among those scatter cushions…
For a similar wallpaper, see Lear Dark at Kristjana S Williams

7. Surf’s up

If your office is anything like Livingetc Towers, then half the time someone is quietly checking online for somewhere to go on their hols. Most of us, of course, would never dream of such behaviour, particularly since we’ve got a study like this to go back to at night. Ah, ocean prints, surfer statues, coral accessories… Oh, sorry, where was I?
Marmara W6756-04 wallpaper, Osborne & Little


8. Bloom swoon


Florals are having a moment too. To give the designs a modern edge, break up the patterns in unusual ways, such as this bathroom scheme that plays with convention by papering below the dado rail on one side of the room. The dado itself is made up of herringbone-patterned mosaic, which is a very strong trend in 2015. By the way, the floral patterns in the top half of the wall are reflections in a trio of mirrors.
Floribunda W0041/03 wallpaper, Clarke & Clarke

9. Heavenly blue

Marbled-effect prints needn’t only conjure up feelings of strong, heavyweight materials. While the emerald pattern we featured earlier creates a warm, cocooning effect, you can almost taste the sea spray leaping off this lively blue. Merely calling it refreshing just doesn’t do it justice…
Bain de Minuit PCL016/05 wallpaper in Piscine, Christian Lacroix at Designers Guild

10. Dreaming in colour


There’s no limit to where you can use bold, bravura prints. Many might shy away from using such a dynamic pattern in a bedroom, but we think it shows great passion. It helps, of course, if you have a solid-brass bed to reflect the flecks of gold embedded in the wallpaper’s design, but even so, the images of swaying palm trees blown by a desert wind brings us out in a hot flush every time.
Cocos W6652-05 wallpaper, Matthew Williamson at Osborne & Little

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