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

Be inspired by the latest trends in wallpaper designs
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  • Thinking of adding a touch of personality to your home with an on-trend wallpaper design? We’ve got the low down on the must-have styles that are stealing the limelight right now.

    Wallpaper has gone through varying periods of popularity over the years, but it’s very much having a moment right now. Largely thanks to homeowners becoming braver with decorating choices – our homes are bolder and more expressive.

    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. 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

    Grey Living room with wallpaper

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Joanna Henderson: Fragments wallpaper, £31 per sq m, Rebel Walls

    ‘The reason wallpaper is on a high is because there’s no quicker way to transform any room than with wallpaper’ says Martin Waller, founder at Andrew Martin. ‘There is more wall than anything else in any scheme so adding interest here is key. ‘This can be achieved through textured wallpapers and wall murals.’

    ‘It is important for a design to both surprise and create harmony to a space, you can do this by mis-matching all of the interior elements – this will add diversity and pace to the room. Don’t be scared to select pieces that are a true representation of you and your personality, these are the pieces that say something about you and your house.’ your taste, there is something for everyone.

    From traditional florals and trompe l’oeil architectural designs to contemporary geometrics and tropical patterns, there’s a style to suit all. The right wallpaper can make a real style statement, providing a captivating backdrop for any room even kitchen wallpaper ideas and bathroom wallpaper ideas when done correctly.

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

    1. Modern wallpaper borders

    white living room with grey trees wallpaper border

    Image credit: Woodchip & Magnolia, Garden of Eden Grey Border, £99

    Woodchip & Magnolia are bringing back the retro trend for wallpaper borders. Introduce a striking, contemporary take on the retro 80’s wallpaper trend with a captivating wallpaper border, to break up walls and add an element of fun to a decorating scheme.

    ”We’re bringing back the much-loved 80’s wallpaper border trend, but with a contemporary twist’ says Nina Tarnowski, Founder & Designer for Woodchip & Magnolia. ‘These supersized mural-style borders can transform and elevate any interior, from invigorating rainforests to tranquil landscapes, each design transports you to another world.’

    green trees wallpaper used as kitchen splashback

    Image credit: Woodchip & Magnolia, Nidra Moss Green Border, £99

    You can use a statement wallpaper border at any height, but they are most effective when pasted inline with traditional architectural design details

    Nina adding, ‘With so many decorating possibilities, they work wonders placed in the centre of the wall displayed like a piece of art, or higher up as a scene you might admire whilst lying in bed or the bathtub. Our newest technology now means they have the best moisture-resistant properties, meaning you can pop one along your kitchen as an eye-catching splashback or place a serene scene in the bathroom for an oasis of calm.’

    2. Artistic lines

    abstract line art faces wallpaper

    Image credit: Wallsauce, Black and White Pose Mural, from £30 a sq m

    Line drawing and abstract Picasso-style portraits have been popular for the last few seasons, but very much with a focus on accessories. This year that bold trend is moving to walls, with Wallsauce reporting the designs as a key seller for 2021. Not for the faint hearted this bold and beautiful wallpaper trend is an expression of self.

    Line art designs range from large-scale murals to smaller face prints to suit all rooms. ‘We think that this line art wallpaper would look amazing on the largest wall in a bathroom paired with sage-green painted walls’ says Wallsauce. ‘Add a monochrome tribal patterned bathmat, tasseled towels and tropical leafy green plants to go with this unique face wallpaper.’

    3. Textured walls

    fabric wall coverings Fermoie

    Image credit: Astrea by Fermoie

    Textured wallpaper is seeing a huge comeback this year, 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, with a paper backing service available on all Fermoie fabrics, the perfect way to bring walls to life alongside soft furnishings.

    Image credit: Ashanti Wallpaper by Andrew Martin

    ‘Add interest with textured wallcoverings. Grasscloth, cork or paper backed silks define a design direction so simply. They add immediate depth and can demonstrate Parisian Glamour or Saville Row sophistication at a stroke,’ explains Martin 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 so if you have the confidence the possibilities are endless.

    4. Expressive prints

    abstract art wall mural

    Image credit: Wallsauce,  Walking in Lanzarote by Sally Franks, from £35 a sq m

    For this trend think geometric but on a larger scale and with a softer edge to the shapes. Trending right now on Wallsauce is this new design by graphic designer, Sally Franks. Her style for mixing simple, flat shapes and bright and soft colours gives a modern twist to the popular geometric trend.

    ‘For this collection, Sally’s muse was the hustle and bustle of the streets she has seen during her travels’ explain Wallsauce. Taking inspiration from photos of the sights and smells around her, she spills her memories onto the canvas. ‘Sally describes her work as “Playful” and “Childlike” which is strongly shown in her colourful and joyful designs.’

    5. Maximalist masterpieces

    gEISHA WALLPAPER

    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 the way to go right now.

    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.’

    6. Uplifting shades of yellow

    yellow wallpaper in kicthen

    image credit: Graham & Brown

    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

    7. 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.’

    8. 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

    9. 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

    10. Dream destinations

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

    Instead of travelling to far-flung destinations we’re bringing them home instead. The trend for ‘holiday-inspired’ interiors continues to  grow in popularity, as 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.

    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.

    11. 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.’

    12. 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 a key style right now.

    ‘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.’

    Now you have the design, all you need is know is how to hang wallpaper and you’re off!

    Our design choices allow us to create a decorating scheme that is expressive and personal. Which style would suit your home best?

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