Wallpaper trends 2021 – the designs setting the scene for the year ahead

Be inspired by the latest trends in wallpaper designs
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  • Looking for an on-trend wallpaper design? We’ve got the low down on the styles set to steal the limelight next season and beyond.

    Wallpaper has gone through varying periods of popularity over the years, but its very much having a moment right now. Largely thanks to homeowners becoming braver with decorating choices – our homes are bolder and more expressive. Our design choices allow us to create a decorating scheme that is expressive and personal. 

    The right wallpaper can make a real style statement, providing a captivating backdrop for any room even kitchens and bathrooms if done correctly.

    More decorating inspiration: Paint trends 2021 – the colours setting the tone in our homes next year

    The latest trends are focusing on using wallpaper more liberally, choosing more daring and bold prints for your rooms. But with so many patterns, colours, textures and materials to choose from it’s hard to pinpoint the right statement for your home.

    Wallpaper trends 2021

    ‘Wallpaper is a key trend for 2021, and the insatiable appetite from consumers doesn’t look like abating any time soon,’ says David Harris, Design Director at Andrew Martin. ‘Whatever your taste, there is something for everyone. From traditional florals and trompe l’oeil, to contemporary geometric and tropical patterns or animal motifs and architectural designs.’

    Whether you’re creating a feature wall or decorating all four walls, these are the wallpaper trends worth buying into right now…

    1. Maximalist masterpieces


    Image credit: Geishas by Manuel Canovas, £149 per roll, Wallpaper Direct

    Melanie Adams, Head of Wallpaper Direct explains how the trend for wallpaper is ‘very much maximalist at the moment’. So bold and plentiful papers are set to steal the scene in 2021.

    Papers that you might feel are ‘too much’ are very much the thing of the moment, with trend it’s about embracing a braveness with wallpaper like never before. Melanie goes on to give her personal favourite, ‘We love Manuel Canovas’ Geishas, its vibrant colour transports you to a world of beauty and intrigue.’ 

    Image credit: ‘Pavona’ in Sylvie, £101 per roll, by Little Greene

    ‘With more of us spending an increased amount of time at home, our homes are becoming spaces to relax and retreat, but also a place where we want to surround ourselves with joy, colours and patterns that make us happy’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director at Little Greene.

    ‘One of the simplest ways to create a dramatic change in any interior, is to add wallpaper. Consumers are embracing bolder, more colourful designs and pairing these with co-ordinating highlight colours on walls and woodwork.’

    Wallpaperof the Year 2021 Timepiece

    Image credit: Graham & Brown

    This year Graham & Brown Wallpaper of the Year 2021 is this striking Timepiece Amethyst design. Full of movement, colour and exuberance the design pieces together fragments from the extensive Graham & Brown archive. It’s certainly not a wallpaper that says more is more, as favoured in recent years by the maxi trend.

    2. Uplifting shades of yellow

    yellow wallpaper in kicthen

    Sunny shades of yellow are set to lift the spirits and our homes. Searches for ‘yellow wallpaper’ has increased by 49 per cent, year-on-year according to Graham & Brown.

    ‘Yellow is a great choice for kitchens particularly if there is lack of natural light’ says Paula Taylor, Colour & Trends Specialist at Graham & Brown.  Its bright and cheerful nature brings positivity to the heart of the home. The warm and welcoming hue radiates happiness and optimism, perfect when it’s cake baking time!’

    Buy now: Hortus Mustard Wallpaper, £60 per roll, Graham & Brown

    3. Mesmerising wall murals

    mountain wall mural in bedroom

    Image credit: Spring Flight Wallpaper, £34 per m sq, Wallsauce.com

    Wall murals are having a resurgence in popularity right now, as homeowners look to create statement feature walls for their homes. With Wallsauce.com stating the most popular categories being forests, world maps, marbles and dramatic floral arrangements.

    While we’re seeing the brave paint their own, the most popular choice is wallpaper – for a more effortless finish. ‘We’ve seen an increased interest in our peel and stick material, as it offers extra flexibility when decorating homes,’ Andrew Gerraty, co-founder of Wallsauce.com. ‘It’s used widely across rental properties and also as a temporary solution when decorating spaces for birthday parties and other family occasions.’

    4. Storytelling toiles

    Toile wallpaper in bedroom

    Image credit: Toile in Butterleigh by Albany, £29 per roll,  Wallpaper Direct

    The word Toile comes from the French word meaning ‘linen cloth’ or ‘canvas’. This traditional 18th-Century method of printed landscapes and figures on a canvas background translates brilliantly to wallpaper designs. Toiles were fashionable, primarily for more period properties some years ago but thanks to the modern takes on the style the popular print has been reimagined for 2021 and beyond.

    We are seeing Toiles as a global trend, our customers all over the world are enjoying the detail that a toile wallpaper gives’ explains Wallpaper Direct’s Melanie Adams.Most recently we have seen contemporary toiles of farm life, allotments – all drawing you into the stories they tell.  Mini Moderns’ Toile celebrates The Festival of Britain and Albany Performance’s London Theatres takes you through the West End of London.

    Buy now: Toile by Albany, £29 per roll, Wallpaper Direct

    5. Welcoming the outdoors in

    green bathroom with wallpaper

    Image credit: ‘Achillea’ in Aurora, £209 per roll, Little Greene

    This invigorating trend for nature is a theme across all aspects – from green paints to houseplants, interiors are awash with nods to nature. ‘Intense greens such as our ‘Achillea’ design in Aurora, reflect the colours and motifs of nature, creating a welcome cocooning atmosphere’ explains Ruth Mottershead at Little Greene.

    By creating an indoor-outdoor balance we’re helping to make our homes feel like an extension of the natural world outside. If you don’t have an allotment or even a green space, you can still create the sense of grounding with an imaginative wallpaper design.

    allotment wallpaper by Sanderson

    Image credit: The Allotment by Sanderson, £32 per roll, Wallpaper Direct

    Live the allotment life vicariously through wall art. ‘Sanderson’s Potting Room tells the story of allotment life – very pertinent to our love of growing flowers, plants and vegetables’ says Melanie from Wallpaper Direct.

    Buy now: The Allotment by Sanderson, £32 per roll, Wallpaper Direct

    6. Dream destinations

    Image credit: Alfaro from the Seville collection at Cole & Son

    While many haven’t been able to travel to far-flung destinations, it appears we’re bringing them home instead. The trend for ‘holiday-inspired’ interiors has obviously resulted from the unpredictable year we’re in where we dream of escaping.

    From Moroccan inspired colour palettes for paint colours to scenic wallpapers our homes are becoming a tribute the destinations we desire to travel to. This is the one area of travel inspiration we can plan ahead for summer 2021!

    Cole & Son’s vibrant ode to Sevillian architecture would make a welcome statement in any room – particularly one you can sit and daydream in at your leisure. With such high impact, we recommend this design for creating a striking feature wall.

    Image credit: Llenya in Blush, £75 per roll, Harlequin

    The new ’Mirador’ collection by from Harlequin is just the tonic for this trend. It was shot at a Ibizan villa with a focus of bringing holidays home vibes into your own home.

    ‘Mirador is the Spanish word for ‘lookout’ so the collection is full of Spanish and African influences that come alive with eye-catching, inspirational designs to open up a treasure trove of international style,’ says a spokesperson from Harlequin.

    7. Makeshift marble

    Marble wallpaper in bathroom

    Image credit: White Marble Mural, £29 per m sq, Wallsauce.com

    Marble-look wallpapers can help us get the look, without the cost. ‘Marble wall-coverings have been one of the most popular designs, due to its versatility, ‘ explains Andrew Gerraty, co-founder of Wallsauce.com. ‘Whether it’s the abundance of colour and texture choices or the application, as the product can be used widely in kitchens and bathrooms when the natural stone costs are prohibitive.’

    8. Textured walls

    fabric wall coverings Fermoie

    Image credit: Astrea by Fermoie

    Texture is going to continue to be key throughout interiors, whether it’s sumptuous upholstery or tactile soft furnishings – homes need to be layered with texture. We want the decoration to speak to us, literally as if whispering ‘touch me, I’m irresistible’.

    Many fabric and wallpaper specialists are working to combine the two mediums. The results are beautifully decorative surfaces that are neither one nor the other, they become a decoration in their own right. One such company doing so is Fermoie. The paper backing service launches next month and is available on all Fermoie fabrics, the perfect way to bring walls to life alongside soft furnishings.

    Image credit: Ashanti Wallpaper by Andrew Martin

    ‘The progress in new printing techniques and finishes is constantly pushing the boundaries. And the availability of new substrates makes it even more exciting’ explains David Harris, Design Director at Andrew Martin. ‘Gone are the days of just printing on paper, you can now embellish corks, grass-cloths and silks with pretty much any design. The usage is also bolder and braver. If you have the confidence, there are endless possibilities.’

    9. Show-stopping florals

    Floral wallpaper

    Image credit: Pink Rose at Wallsauce

    Florals are, quite literally, bigger than ever for 2021. Large-scale prints are the hero floral for the seasons ahead. Captivate a room with a feature wall of flourishing foliage. The trend for Renaissance-style brooding dark backdrops with rich jewel tones is very much a key style to look out for.

    ‘There is more wall than anything else in any decorating scheme so adding interest here is key’ explains Martin Waller, Founder of Andrew Martin. ‘This can be achieved through textured wallpapers, wall murals or through bold hits of colour.’

    Related: How to wallpaper a feature wall – with expert advice from Graham & Brown

    Which style would suit your home best?

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