Kitchen wallpaper ideas – to give your walls a fresh new look and totally transform your space

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  • Introducing wallpaper into the kitchen adds warmth and style, and makes it a room you could really live in

    If you’re looking for kitchen wallpaper ideas, look no further. Fabric and wallpaper are important parts of any decorating scheme, yet they’re often an afterthought in the kitchen. But, as larger spaces increasingly incorporate living and dining elements, a new approach is needed.

    One of the biggest trends is the adding of personality and character to what has always been a purely functional space – it’s common to see living room-style furniture, statement lighting and wall art used, as well as fabrics and wallpapers. With kitchens required to function as three rooms in one, careful thought should be given to the scheme as a whole.

    Want more kitchen ideas: READ: Kitchen layouts – everything you need to know

    1. Theme it

    Kitchen wallpaper ideas

    image credit: Dominic Blackmore

    Be inspired by holiday cottages and days at the beach to create a fresh and relaxed look in your home. Set a nostalgic feel with vintage-inspired, watercolour-effect wallpaper and some simple white-painted wooden furniture. Order a sample of the wallpaper before buying so you can test it out in your chosen room. Like paint, the colour of a wallpaper can vary greatly in different lights so make sure you look at it at different points during the day.

    2. Think outside the box

    While the feature wall has fallen out of favour elsewhere in the home, it’s still a popular option for a multi-function space such as an open plan kitchen where it can be used to define zones such as a dining area. Wallpaper can help tie the scheme together and create a visual focus to the room, taking your eye away from the mechanical gadgetry on display. The busy environment of the home kitchen also allows for the choice of wallpapers to be more bold, energetic and fun than in other areas of the home. Here the colours on the walls have been cleverly picked up by the soft furnishings and accessories for a harmonious appearance.

    3. Go for bold

    Kitchen wallpaper ideas

    Image credit: Lisa Cohen

    Wallpaper can prevent a kitchen from feeling hard and clinical. Use it to either subtly complement your new room scheme or to take on a more central design role, drawing the eye and adding impact with a bold colour or design. This wallpaper will leave people in no doubt to your style credentials. Pure white fittings keep the focus clearly on the print, while creating a modern scheme that is very much suited to a design such as this. Choosing wallpaper in a wet or cooking area should be avoided unless well protected behind glass or acrylic. That doesn’t mean you should steer clear. Some wallpapers are wipeable, making them suitable for dining areas and living spaces, even in family homes.

    4. Fake it

    Kitchen wallpaper ideas

    Image credit: David Brittain

    Wallpaper isn’t all about pattern and colour – you can achieve some cool trompe l’oeuil-style effects with it instead – this design looks just like exposed brick work, but it’s actually a wallpaper. Very fashionable at the moment, exposed bricks are great for adding an industrial edge to your space and this is the easy way to get the look.

    5. Paper a splashback or alcove

    Kitchen wallpaper ideas

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    Wallpaper can be used to striking effect in other ways. If you fall in love with a wallpaper design, you can use it as a splashback provided it is covered with a glass, acrylic or specially lacquered coating. And lining the back of bookshelves or a cupboard gives an enticing glimpse of colour and pattern – you can be quite bold here without the danger of it becoming overpowering. Here wallpaper has been used to frame an alcove for an eye-catching effect. Glass has been added behind the cooker to catch any inevitable splashes – it’s a good example of how to protect your wallpaper so that it doesn’t start to look worse for wear in the demanding environment of the kitchen.

    6. Make mine a mural

    Kitchen wallpaper ideas

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    The kitchen is traditionally considered a ‘high splash’ zone, so vinyl or washable wallpaper is advisable to ensure that walls look fresh and can be wiped down at ease.  If you love murals, take it to the kitchen to provide an interesting display as you sip your coffee. To provide a harmonious canvas, choose neutral tonal colours for your decorating scheme and mix with a number of different textures and finishes, for an overall rustic and casual look.

    After more kitchen advice? READ: Kitchen flooring – everything you need to know

    7. Why choose a kitchen wallpaper?

    Kitchen wallpaper ideas

    Image credit: David Giles

    Kitchen wallpaper is also very helpful in creating different zones and moods in an open-plan room. Feature walls are still a popular option for a multifunctional space, such as in an open-plan kitchen where it can be used to define zones. Wallpaper helps tie the scheme together and create a visual focus to the room, taking your eye away from the mechanical gadgetry on display. The busy environment of the home kitchen also allows for the choice of kitchen wallpapers to be more bold, energetic and fun than in other areas of the home.

    8. How to keep your kitchen wallpaper in good condition

    Kitchen wallpaper ideas

    Image credit: James Gardiner

    Kitchens present a challenging environment; hot, steamy with grease hanging in the air. Good extraction is a vital ingredient in any kitchen, perhaps even more so in a living and entertaining environment. The trick is to keep as much of this as possible away from any wallcoverings and fabrics.

    Even with good extraction, fabrics and wallpaper are easy casualties if in too close proximity. Standard decorative fabrics are not suited to heavy-duty areas but are fine for living and dining areas.

    For windows in cooking zones, consider roller blinds made especially for kitchen use. These have a polyester coating making them easy to wipe down as well as being moisture and shrink-resistant. And don’t discount light-coloured sofas. Any colour is fine as long as the fabric is given a protective treatment, such as Scotchguard. Better still – and imperative in family kitchens – they should come with covers that can be removed for dry cleaning or washing.

    9. What are the current kitchen wallpaper trends?

    Easy-kitchen-updates-wallpaper kitchen wallpaper

    Image credit: Little Greene

    In traditional and country kitchens, the classics work well – spots, stripes, florals, botanical prints and toiles de jouys.

    ‘Wallpapers with a painterly stripe work well to create a smart, contemporary but casual look,’ says Claire Vallis, Design Director at Harlequin. ‘Choose colours that are fresh and reflect light like soft creams and blues on white grounds to keep things looking clean and cheerful.’

    Pastoral scenes can be classic or modern depending on the colourway used and, in a modern contemporary space, you can afford to be bolder, opting for geometric prints in unusual shades. The industrial also gets a look in here with plenty of digital papers replicating the surface finishes of concrete, stone and weathered wood cladding – perfect for adding texture and still an element of softness to a stark scheme.

    Want more kitchen inspiration? READ: 16 grey kitchen ideas that are stylish and sophisticated

    We hope these kitchen wallpaper ideas help you on your way to your dream kitchen.

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