Wallpaper ideas for any room – get creative with how you welcome wallpaper into your home

Add pattern to stairs, personality to panelling and decoration to alcoves with a little help from these inspirational ideas
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  • Wallpaper is the ideal way to make a style statement in any room. While paint can be totally transformative it doesn’t always have quite the same impact as wallpaper. Whether papering all four walls or opting for a focal feature wall, or even being bold enough to paper the ceiling, the right wallpaper design can dramatically transform an interior in no time at all.

    The wonder of wallpaper is that it can be used in so many different ways, it’s not just about where you use it but how. With the right idea using colour and pattern is a rewarding way to make the most of any room. The added beauty with simple how to hang wallpaper guides is that it’s now a job you can do yourself, meaning it’s an affordable decorating solution too.

    Our wallpaper ideas for any room of the house are the perfect way to welcome wow to your walls…

    Wallpaper ideas

    1. Put wallpaper in the frame

    farmed wallpaper in dark blue dining room

    Image credit: Future Publishing PLC/ Tim Young

    When looking to inject pattern to walls but you can’t decide on which wallpaper design to favour, this idea is perfect! Create a gallery wall by framing samples of your favourite designs instead. Frame samples or offcuts in identical frames, using a white mount for a more formal effect, using different patterns in a similar colour palette to unify the look. Choose simple frames so the patterns remain the point of focus.

    2. Welcome nature in with bold terrarium-inspired designs

    BOTANICALS - CLOAKROOM

    Image credit: Future Publishing PLC/Polly Wreford

    Select leafy motifs on wallpaper, from tropical foliage to vintage sketchbook designs, to make a great style statement. It could be a lot for a living room, but great fun for the smallest rooms of the house, like in this cloakroom. Stop the pattern becoming overpowering by panelling the lower part of the room and painting in a deep green, pick the paint colour by matching it to a colour found in the wallpaper.

    3. Paper above the picture rail

    wallpaper idea above picture rail

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Simon Whitmore

    If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings and picture rails you are at the advantage to use this space to frame a room with a wallpaper pattern – without having to wallpaper entire walls. Many period homes, particularly Victorian and Edwardian, may be lucky enough to have retained the dado rail in most rooms, which helps to break up the space. Choosing a bold wallpaper design for above or below the dado rail means you can mix and match colours and patterns on the other half or simply go for a cohesive look.

    4. Create a piece of art

    framed wallpaper artwork in living room behind orange velvet sofa

    Image credit: Future Publishing PLC/ Tim Young

    Fashion a feature wall with a difference by framing a section of wallpaper. Either paper directly to the wall and frame, or back the paper. onto a large sheet of MDF to make it a moveable piece – more authentic as a piece of artwork. Paint the frame to match the wall for a more subtle effect. This trick creates a focal point and can be cheaper than artwork. It works best behind a sofa, bed or sideboard to zone or highlight an area.

    5. Accentuate an archway

    Living room with floral wallpaper in archway

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc

    Use wallpaper to make the most of any original features in your home. This designer floral design highlights the alcove and arched architrave surrounding it. In this stunning living room the walls are kept brilliant white to allow the wallpaper to become the main focus of the room, but beautiful shades of green and purple filter out into soft furnishings for a simple yet sophisticated overall scheme.

    6. Welcome wallpaper on stairs

    wallpaper idea on stairs

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Jake Curtis

    Wallpaper in the hallway needn’t be confined to purely walls. We love this idea of introducing pattern and colour on the stair risers. Pieces of this Orla Kiely orange patterned wallpaper have been cut to fit the stair risers, pasted on and varnished to make the paper hardwearing – important in a high traffic area such as the stairs. This idea is a winning hallway wallpaper idea but also worth considering in a newly converted loft space.

    7. Get creative with recess spaces

    small bedroom with storage built around the bed

    Image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    Use wallpaper creatively to fill void spaces. This beautiful bedroom demonstrates how a striking wallpaper design can act in place of artwork – used above a bed in the space between built-in wardrobes. this space would otherwise feel redundant, but instead it now anchors the whole scheme of the decor, thanks to the matching blue and green tones on the bedding and light fittings below.

    8. Wallpaper wardrobe doors

    Wall paper idea on wardrobe doors in bedroom

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ David Giles

    Wallpaper is not just for walls. Use the design of your choice, to compliment the decor in any room where you wish to use this idea. Simply hang the lengths of wallpaper directly to the front of the doors. In in order for this to work best the doors need to be smooth, meaning no decorative beading or framing.

    9. Introduce pattern to wall panelling

    Bird print wallpaper on hallway wall panelling

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Trevor Richards

    In this grey hallway the staircase panels are brought to life with the help of a decorative migrating geese wallpaper. The wall panelling is painted in a coordinating blue grey to keep the look cohesive. This idea is not for the faint hearted, as each section needs to be measured and cut to size – but as you can see the results are well worth it. on more standard wall panelling the task will be easier, as the sections will all be the same so you can cut strips in bulk.

    10. Be creative with a bookcase design

    Bookshelf wallpaper in neutral living room

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ David Giles

    A great way to make an impact is with trompe l’oeil wallpaper. A bookcase-themed wallpaper will breathe new life into the room and add interest to an otherwise dull corner. While your book collection may have been whittled down in favour of e-books in recent years, with a gorgeous bookcase-print wallpaper, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy the traditional look of books in a quite reading corner as a thought living room wallpaper idea.

    11. Cheat a dreamy headboard panel with wallpaper

    Image credit: Tim Young

    This brilliant bedroom wallpaper idea fashions a feature wall-cum-headboard using wallpaper! Make your own boutique-hotel-style design feature by hanging a couple of drops of a striking wallpaper behind the bed. To really add a design wow factor create neat raised edges with wooden battens covered in matching fabric – but this finish is optional, if you want less work.

    12. Add a background behind open shelving

    wallpaper idea behind open storage unit

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Mark Scott

    Give any storage space a decor uplift with the addition of a pretty wallpaper behind the units. All the better, as seen above, if the storage unit is backless – meaning the fashionable paper acts as a decorative backdrop to hanging clothes and accessories.

    13. Contrast colour with a feature wall

    attic bedroom with rey wallpaper behind bed and olive green walls

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ David Giles

    If choosing to decorate with a powerful paint colour, such as this olive green bedroom, a patterned wallpaper can be just the tonic to create a contrasting feature wall. where colour would normally play the star role on the feature wall, instead add a characterful wallpaper design to complete the look. This paper features a design with illustrated house in soft grey and white, to compliment a white ceiling and white painted floorboards.

    14. Create interest behind shelving

    statement wallpaper idea behind floating kitchen shelves

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Lisa Cohen

    Create a unique solution for your kitchen walls with wallpaper behind floating shelves. This whimsical Fornsetti plate wallpaper plays perfectly on the premise of being used in a kitchen behind shelves that are used to display kitchenware. Of course you can use any style of paper, to suit your own tastes and match your kitchen cabinets. Not limited to a kitchen wallpaper idea, this look would work in any room where you have floating shelves hanging – especially a child’s bedroom or a home office.

    15. Set the scene with a mural

    tree wallpaper in childs room

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Colin Poole

    A child’s bedroom is the ideal place to choose a wallpaper mural that fills a whole wall, with a scene that transports the room to another setting. Whether it be a fairy tale woodland or a tropical jungle the statement image will delight little ones, igniting their imaginations. In addition to a bedroom this style of wallpaper is ideal for a playroom too.

    16. Frame a fireplace

    living room with bird wallpaper either side of fireplace

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Simon Whitmore

    Alcoves beside a fireplace are the ideal walls to hang a decorative wallpaper design. The set back walls are just crying out for a statement wallpaper design to give them prominence. A design either side of a fireplace helps to frame the main point of focus.

    In this stunning living room above a panelled wall helps to enhance the chimney breast and back the scheme stand out all the more. The blue wall colour is picked up within the wallpaper design to ensure it coordinates beautifully.

    17. Divide a wall with pattern

    Avoid overpowering a room by using your wallpaper only up to a point. Taking it up to the level of a traditional picture rail – rather than all the way to the ceiling – and keeping a clapboard finish above the rail height helps to keep the pattern in check without reducing its impact.

    18. Fake a brick wall with wallpaper

    fireplace with white brick wallpaper with book shelf wallpaper in alcoves

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Simon Whitmore

    Get the look of an industrial-style brick wall without the hassle of having to build one, simply choose a realistic looking wallpaper. A trompe l’oeil design can cleverly be used to trick the eye into thinking the brick pattern is the real thing (just don’t get too close!). The outcome adds depth and interest to a room.

    You’ll find beautiful modern examples that depict wall panels,  weathered wood and quirky designs such as luxurious button-back upholstery – for walls! A smart idea to fake it in any room.

    19. Hang stripes vertically to widen a space

    Bedroom with black and white vertical stripe wallpaper with wooden wardrobe and triangular mirror

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Jo Bridges

    Just because a room is small doesn’t mean it has to be filled with neutral tones. If used correctly, a bold pattern can help to make a small space feel more impactful. Stripes hung vertically is a savvy decorating tactic to trick the eye into thinking the room is wider than it really is. This super stylish bedroom sports effortlessly sports a black and white stripped design on the far wall, leaving the remaining walls in a forgiving soft shade of grey.

    20. Wallpaper above tiles

    Bathroom-wallpaper-ideas-bird-print

    Image credit: David Giles

    Fancy adding pattern to your bathroom but worried about wallpaper getting wet? Use this idea to elevate the pattern above a tiled section.Tile up to the point where splashes might reach, then wallpaper to the ceiling to ensure your design is safe and dry. It’s a smart look and is more subtle than papering an entire wall – if you’re unsure about taking the plunge, so to speak, this might be the way to go about things.

    21. Make artwork of your chosen design

    blue home office with wallpaper panels

    Image Credit: David Brittain

    Love bold wallpaper but not sure about committing to a whole feature wall? Introduce a bold pattern into your home office or study area with wallpapered pinboards. If you’ve found a beautiful wallpaper design but don’t want to decorate a whole room this is the wallpaper idea for you.

    Use the wallpaper as wall art panels. You can paper directly to the wall to commit entirely to the look. This will create a striking feature above a desk or sideboard.

    22. Include the ceiling into the scheme

    bathroom with wallpaper on the ceiling

    Image credit: Future Publishing Plc/ Richard Gadsby

    Why leave the ceiling out? For many years now the powers that be in the interiors world have been telling us how fashionable wallpapering the 5th wall is. Would you be so bold? We’d say it works if the room is big enough to allow, in an already small space a wallpapered ceiling could overwhelm – making it feel even smaller. For best results choose a paper in light colour choice to ensure the space still feels bright and airy.

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