1) Create a special effect
Cant have the exposed brick or wood-panelled walls you want? Try a special-effect wallpaper that mimics the look of a different material, from stone to the leather upholstery shown here. Faux wallpapers look all the more striking if kept to just one feature wall, with neutral furnishings and accessories. Less is more, so dont use them in more than one or two rooms or the effect will be diminished. Use it on feature walls and chimney breasts.
Skin wallpaper, £22.99 per roll, Brewers range, Wallpaperdirect
2) Add width with horizontal stripes
Play around with perspective by papering one wall in barcode stripes. Great for disguising a rooms shortcomings, horizontal stripes create the illusion of width and trick the eye into thinking a small room is bigger than it really is. Vertical stripes have the opposite effect, making a low ceiling appear higher. Use it in small rooms or alcoves.
Identity Barcode wallpaper, £44 per roll, Harlequin
3) Pick oversized blooms
When it comes to statement wallpapers, the bigger the pattern, the more dramatic the look. Stick to muted colours like this grey if you want to lessen the effect. Use it in larger rooms or on a feature wall.
Eve wallpaper in Charcoal, £30 per roll, Hanami collection, Graham & Brown
4) Highlight panelling
Bring new life to existing architectural features by using a striking wallpaper inside panelled areas or under dado or picture rails. Keep to classic designs such as damasks or florals to avoid a clash with period features. Use it in hallways and dining rooms.
Divine wallpaper in Olive, £33 per roll, Prestigious Textiles
5) Choose retro graphics
Create a vintage vibe with 1950s and 1960s-inspired graphic prints. Theyre not for the faint-hearted, but muted colours such as olive, mustard, burnt orange and chocolate give them an authentic retro feel. Use it on alcoves and single walls.
Retro Leaves wallpaper, £68 per roll, Scandi Living
6) Get out your stamping kit
Give an old technique a new treatment. Foam stamps are back in fashion, but out go the twee paint-stamped borders that were around in the 1990s, and in come modern, graphic designs used on a grander scale. Create fun panels by using a simple floral and leaf design side by side. Its easy to do, but practise the technique first. Use it in childrens rooms, kitchens and dining rooms.
7) Play up a 3-D feature
Draw attention to a rooms features by painting them. This trick is especially effective in recessed areas, such as alcoves, niches or built-in shelves. For maximum impact, keep the main wall neutral and use a bold colour to highlight the area. Or, for a more subtle effect, go for a toning colour that is just two or three shades darker. Use it in living room alcoves, built-in bookshelves.
Wall painted in Snowdrop; alcoves painted in Shocking Pink and Lupin; all matt emulsion, £15.99 for 2.5ltr, Crown Paints
8) Try a full-on colour hit
If you want a dramatic look, you cant beat a blast of floor-to-ceiling colour. A great way of making a period room feel more contemporary, this works well in rooms with grand proportions. Use one of the deeper heritage paint shades for an authentic feel, and take the colour from skirting to coving, including the area above the picture rail, which is usually left white. Use it in period houses.
Wall painted in Citrine matt emulsion, £24 for 2.5ltr; woodwork painted in Slaked Lime acrylic eggshell, £32 for 2.5ltr; both The Little Greene Paint Company
9) Paint blocks of colour
To create a tailor-made look, divide your wall into thirds with low-tack masking tape, and fill in each third with a different toning paint colour. Use it in corridors and small spaces.
Back wall painted in (from top): Aged White; Sophistication; Satin Jade; all matt emulsion, £15.99 for 2.5ltr, Crown Paints
10) Go for a striking contrast
Bright shades lift your mood, but can look over the top if used on their own try toning down a zesty lemon yellow with a darker shade of teal on another wall. Use it in bedrooms, hallways, childrens rooms.
Walls painted in Spring Breeze 3 (behind bed) and Steel Symphony 1, both flat matt emulsion, £19.49 for 2.5ltr, Dulux
11) Fit practical panelling
Protect walls from scuffs with tongue-and-groove panelling up to dado height. Keep it neutral, but get your colour hit with a vibrant shade on the wall above. Use it in kitchen-diners, hallways, corridors.
Wall painted in Jette 3797 matt emulsion, £11 for 1ltr; panelling painted in Carte Blanc silk emulsion, £17.50 for 1ltr; both Beckers
12) Design your own art work
Create unique wall art by combining several sticker designs in toning colours. Keep the background plain to show off your design to best effect most stickers will look great against plain white walls, or, if you have a multicoloured design, choose a contrasting wall colour so the design doesnt get lost in the background. Use it in bedrooms, hallways, on chimney breast walls.
Bird stickers, £12 for two; blossom stickers, £29 for two; butterflies, £15 for 12; all Brume
13) Try the latest quirky stencils
Forget fussy borders à la Changing Rooms todays stencils are funky one-offs designed to work alongside a rooms features or furniture. Try cute shoe stencils next to your wardrobe or book stencils above a shelf. Use it on staircases, in hallways or a teenagers bedroom.
Shoe stencils, £21 for three, Crown Paints range, The Stencil Library
14) Play around with large-scale stickers
Make an instant impact with oversized wall stickers that really grab the attention. They look most effective when used on a plain wall, free of pictures or mirrors, so theyre not fighting for attention. Try adding your own 3-D extras such as coat hooks or hanging baskets on the branches of a tree sticker for extra fun and to turn into a practical feature. Use it in nurseries and playrooms.
Bird Tree wall sticker set, £65, Cloudberry Living
15) Choose an unusual mural
Whatever your taste, theres a mural to suit you, with designs varying from maps to photography, comic strips to artwork. They can be as small as a single strip of wallpaper or large enough to cover a whole wall. Use in a study, hallway or teenagers room.
HMS Fearless wall mural, from £60 per sq m, Surface View
16) Combine real and fake
Have fun with some visual trickery with this giant wall sticker railway clock, visitors wont know whether theyre looking at a sticker or the real thing. Just apply the adhesive face and numbers to a bare wall and then attach the screw-on battery-operated hands. Use it on a chimney breast in a living or dining room.
Clock, £69, Brume