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When it comes to decorating our spaces, wallpaper is an easy and effective way to add colour, pattern and even texture. The right living room wallpaper ideas can completely change the feel of the room, making it a simple but striking update.
These days there's a style to suit every home, so there's something out there whatever type of living room ideas you're aiming for. So whether you're a minimalist, maximalist, or pretty much any kind of 'ist', there's sure to be a design perfect for you and your lounge.
Wallpapering your walls, wall, or even half a wall is no longer the time consuming, fiddly job it used to be. And with more and more brands supplying both wallpaper and paint in complimenting shades, giving your living room a fresh make-over is a job that can easily be taken on yourself.
Living room wallpaper ideas
It's now easier than ever to transform your living space in just an afternoon using living room wallpaper ideas, so all you have to do is to choose your favourite look.
1. Wallpaper above the dado rail
If you've fallen for a patterned paper but don't want it to dominate your space, reconsider where to wallpaper. Stick to covering only above the dado rail, keeping the rail itself and the lower portion painted in a complementary tone.
This is also a great technique for small living room ideas as the pattern won't overwhelm by covering from the floor to the ceiling.
2. Enhance a retro room
Mid-century living rooms are having a serious moment right now - who among us hasn't picked up some retro furniture? Enhance the feel of the era by choosing a vibrantly coloured print for your living room wallpaper ideas. Yellows, especially, echo this time period, and helpfully boost light levels.
3. Use a photorealistic mural
A surprisingly simple living room idea is to opt for adding photorealistic mural wallpaper. You can plump for whatever design appeals to you, but by choosing a design which echoes the nature outside you'll help blur the indoor-outdoor boundaries. This will make the room seem larger, brighter and feel altogether more calming.
4. Reflect your flooring
Work your wallpaper in tandem with living room flooring ideas for a considered finish. Choose a design which reflects some sense of your flooring, perhaps the colour, pattern or texture. As well as opening up the room, this will add a cool design element to a simple project.
5. Wallpaper the lower half of your walls
Keep your bank account a little happier by looking to budget living room ideas for your wallpaper. Papering only the lower half of the room is a great way to save on costs and you'll need a lot less material to work with. This is also a useful trick if you only have a small amount of a discontinued wallpaper available.
6. Choose a classic floral print
Once seen as fussy and dated, or solely for country living room ideas, florals are back in the lime light and back on our walls.
'Floral living room wallpaper ideas wrap your walls in nature and tend to incorporate a number of colours,' notes Melanie Adams, Global Manager, WallpaperDirect (opens in new tab). 'This can be a great way to really imbed your colour palette into the space to make it feel cohesive yet natural.'
7. Pair blues and greens
'The old adage may go 'blue and green should never be seen', but we disagree! Mix just about any blues with green (plus their sophisticated love child, teal) and you've got yourself an effortlessly harmonious blend that's vibrant yet calm and soothing at the same time.
A lot of Arts and Crafts styles of living room wallpaper ideas will have this combo, adding a neat nod to a stylish tradition.
8. Co-ordinate with your paint
Choosing wallpaper doesn't mean that living room paint ideas aren't also an option too. The two can actually work beautifully together, especially if you have any kind of panelling on your walls, but you want to pair your paper with the right shade.
'When pairing a wallpaper with paint it's important to match the paint with a hue used in the wallpaper,' advises Zoe Hopgood, Designer, Graham & Brown (opens in new tab).
9. Try a terrazzo print
Terrazzo is going nowhere as a trend, seen on floors and tiles alike. This cool pattern also works really well on wallpaper, giving the illusion of texture and adding just the right amount of pattern.
The design comes in any manner of colourways, so choose for pebbles to be in a tone that's complementary to, without overwhelming, the rest of the space.
10. Match with your window dressings
For a totally cohesive look, why not match your wallpaper with your living room curtain ideas? It's the ideal way to extend your chosen wallpaper design over window dressings and ensure there is no break in the pattern.
Many brands and designers will produce wallpaper, fabrics and accessories in the same print, so it's easy to keep to a matching look. If opting for full length curtains is a little too much pattern for your taste, try going for a couple of cushion covers in a matching print to your wallpaper, so the design is echoed more subtly around the room.
11. Amp up a rustic scheme
Use living room wallpaper ideas to add character to a decor scheme, such as in rustic living room ideas. Use a striking design to enhance the natural elements of your living room, such as woodland scene to add character to a cottage living room with exposed wooden beams and low ceilings.
Choosing a wallpaper design around your existing decor will create a subtle yet stylish approaching to decorating.
12. Invite texture to walls
Where you're looking to add interest to wall surfaces but not wanting fully-on pattern, seek an alternative design that emulates the look of a distressed surface. By doing so your walls will ooze character and interest without overpowering the scheme by layering too much pattern.
13. Team turquoise with teak
If you have a fair amount of wooden furniture in your living room, from sideboards to dressers, coffee tables, side tables and perhaps even a hardwood floor too, it might be in serious need of some colour to lift the scheme. Punchy turquoise living room wallpaper ideas will bring vibrancy and life to your room, without becoming too bright and garish.
14. Zone a larger space
Use living room feature wall ideas to help zone a larger space. Use wallpaper to define areas, such as a reading nook, home office, or bar area. With open-plan spaces so commonly used, this is a useful way to visually break up these larger areas.
15. Make art from wallpaper
Make a statement of a wallpaper by framing it. This creative idea allows you to use a wallpaper in your living space, in a more imaginative way. It's great for not only adding a quirky touch to the decor, it's also great if on a budget. Only one roll will be required to cover a smaller section of wall.
16. Smarten up with pinstripes
Create a tailored, designer look in your living room with pinstripes – they look just as smart on your walls as they do on suits. Choose soft greys or pastels so the scheme doesn’t feel overly masculine, however.
17. Clad a chimney breast in wallpaper
Embrace architectural details that lend a sense of charm to the space. Cover either side of living room fireplace ideas with wallpaper to create a focal point in your space, and without having to commit to a full revamp of your room.
18. Welcome in nature
Embrace the great outdoors and cover your wall in botanical beauties. Foliage, birds and florals are all traditional ways of dressing walls and will instantly make a space feel smarter. As classic as this is, it can stick work with modern living room ideas. Simply choose a design with a crisp white or dramatically dark background (rather than old school pastels) , depending on your aesthetic.
19. Proceed with painterly pattern
Introduce brushstroke-style patterns in bold colours. Drawing on the work of French painters Bonnard, Monet and Seurat, painterly wallpaper pays homage to artistic spirit.
Impressionist-style living room wallpaper ideas effortlessly showcase the graduated, ombre-effect that we have all come to know and love.
20. Wallpaper furniture
Who says wallpaper needs to go on your walls? Make a striking statement in your living room by wallpapering a key piece of furniture, such as a sideboard. This is also a fantastic way to upcycle an old item that might otherwise end up at the tip. Go for wood or brick-effect wallpaper for an on-trend trompe l’oeil look.
What type of wallpaper is best for a living room?
It can be tricky to know where to start when choosing a wallpaper for your living room, but choosing a design that you love and excites you is a good place to start. You might also want to consider the size of your room and also its positioning.
'When choosing wallpaper for your living room it’s important to note whether the room is north or south facing,' advises Zoe Hopgood, Designer, Graham & Brown. 'If the room faces south then it will get a lot of sunlight, allowing the use of the cooler colours in the spectrum, however a north facing room will need warmer colours to make the space feel cosy. Using a patterned wallpaper creates a focal point for the room – try pulling colours from it using accessories to create a cohesive interior style.'
Also think about how you want to feel in when you're in your living room and how it is being used. Is it a place to entertain? To relax? To multi-task as a home office? Once you know how the space will be used, you can start to think about whether you want a more invigorating, colourful design or a calming, muted one.
Where do I put wallpaper in a living room?
Before you start wallpapering away, make sure you consider where a pattern or design will enhance the space and what sort of statement you want the room to make.
'Many living rooms tend to have an existing focal point, such as a fireplace or entertainment system and so it’s not always recommended to have a conflicting feature wall,' notes Melanie Adams, Global Manager, WallpaperDirect. 'Consider using a wallpaper on all four walls that complements the focal point for a more visually relaxing result.’
Whatever wall you choose to cover, be confident in your choice and remember, it can always be repapered or painted if you change your mind.
Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.
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