The wallpaper trick designers use to make a room look bigger

It's amazing how this simple tweak can create the illusion of much more space

When it comes to ways to make your home look bigger there are many common ideas people often suggest. Avoid dark colours! Clear the clutter! Hang mirrors!

Related: How to wallpaper – an expert guide to hanging wallpaper with ease

These tips can certainly help, but a designer has explained how striped wallpaper could be your secret weapon when faced with a tight hallway, living room, or even bathroom.


bathroom area with white bath tub and wash basin

(Image credit: BC Designs and Darren Chung)

'Stripes have long been known for their ability to affect virtually any surface,' says Alex Whitecroft, Head of Design at I Want Wallpaper. 'In fashion, it’s used to create a slimming look, while in the world of architecture it’s used in minimalist design as a clear and concise way to create space and symmetry.'

Alex says that both of these concepts are used in interior design, too. 'Vertical stripes can make a wall look taller while horizontal stripes can make it seem broader. It's the use of parallel lines that give stripes their space bending abilities,' Alex explains.

So some striped wallpaper could be totally transformative in a cramped hallway with a low ceiling. Panelling can also be used alongside striped wallpaper, with vertical tongue and groove helping to draw the eye all the way up from the floor to the ceiling.

room with pink wallpaper trees flowerpots

(Image credit: Lick Home)

We love the use of narrow blue and white stripes in the traditional bathroom pictured above. While it's a fairly spacious bathroom, the wallpaper accentuates the height of the room.

Alex also explains how stripes can be incorporated in a subtle way. For example, wallpaper featuring trees or a forest theme will create vertical lines while making a nature-inspired look.

If you're after some more wallpaper inspo, head to our wallpaper trends piece.

bedroom wallpaper with black bed and black flooring

(Image credit: Lick Home)

Layering stripes with wallpaper and a headboard with vertical lines as pictured above is another clever way to make your ceilings look higher.

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

Horizontal stripes could also work well in a bedroom, as they tend to make a room feel calmer. Whether on a feature wall or all over, bold stripes can really elongate a space.

Millie Hurst
Senior Content Editor

Millie Hurst was Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home from 2020-2022, and is now Section Editor at Homes & Gardens. Before stepping into the world of interiors, she worked as a Senior SEO Editor for News UK in both London and New York. You can usually find her looking up trending terms and finding real-life budget makeovers our readers love. Millie came up with the website's daily dupes article which gives readers ways to curate a stylish home for less.