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Discover how to use wallpaper in your room schemes

Posted: 10/09/14 Discover how to use wallpaper in your room schemes

Wallpaper can add an extra decorative element to schemes all round your home combined with paint or on its own. Get some inspiration with our expert tips and advice.

Wallpaper from The Dormy House

Hang wallpaper

Wallpapers come in both paste-the-wall and paste-to-paper versions.

If you’re going to be putting up the wallpaper yourself, you’ll find paste the wall easier. It also makes decorating quicker, and you’ll need less equipment. Both types can produce fabulous results, though. Shown left is a beautiful large scale floral design.

How to use it

Do you want to create a feature wall then paint the other walls, team a statement wallpaper on one wall with a plain paper elsewhere, or use a design on all four walls? All are possible, so consider whether you want the impact of a focal point wall.

A wallpaper you can use all over is likely to be more subtle – although it doesn’t have to be if you want to be bold with colour and/or pattern. This can be a great strategy for a hallway or cloakroom, giving an often decoratively neglected space personality.

Holden Check wallpaper

Where to wallpaper

You can use wallpaper all round your home – including kitchens and bathrooms if they aren’t too steamy. However, you’ll want to avoid using it if it’s going to get splashed.

It’s vital to choose a wallpaper that’s suitable for the likely wear and situation. Scrubbable wallpapers will take being cleaned with a sponge and soft brush and mild detergent; washable designs can be gently cleaned with a damp cloth and soapy water; and others are best saved for low traffic, grown-up spaces as you won’t be able to clean them in these ways. Always check the cleaning instructions before you order.

Hidden benefits

As well as adding interest to your room schemes, wallpaper has virtues you may not have thought of. It’s a great way to hide the flaws of an imperfect wall.

It can also visually alter the proportions of a room. Try a vertical stripe to make a ceiling appear higher, or an all-over pattern to make a large space feel more intimate.

Choose the colour

Consider the effect the colour of wallpaper you select will have on your room scheme. Dark shades will make the walls appear to advance towards you, while paler shades will look as if they are further away. The former isn’t necessarily a downside as it can create a cocooning feel for a dining space or living room, for example.

Pick bolder colours and they’ll put the attention on your wallpaper – which may be where you want it. If you’ve already chosen a patterned rug or carpet, or statement upholstery for seating or a headboard in the bedroom, a more subtle shade for the wallpaper will ensure the scheme isn’t overpowering.

Think, too, about how the furniture and soft furnishings you’re going to keep in the room, or have already chosen, will work with the wallpaper. Unless you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to complement the existing scheme.


Wallpaper from The Dormy House

Select a motif

Patterned wallpaper offers a world of choice, so whether you’re after geometrics, stripes, florals, damasks, elegant illustration, or something else, you’ll find a motif you love.

Bear in mind that the wallpaper design will be a strong influence on the final mood of your room as it’s such a large element of any scheme. For example, do you want a pretty feminine feel with a delicate floral, or the more formal atmosphere created by a stripe?

Look at scale

Just like colour and motif style, the scale of the wallpaper pattern has a direct bearing on the completed room scheme. For drama and to grab attention, size up; if you’re after a more understated result, scale down.

Smaller patterns can also work well where you’ll often be in close proximity to a wallpaper – for example if it’s alongside a table in the kitchen-diner.

Think texture

Wallpaper can be an important textural element in a room, bringing interest to the decoration. This can be particularly useful in a largely neutral scheme where the understated palette could fall into monotony without the contrast texture can bring. Look for both textured and embossed wallpapers.

Brighten up

Mayfair Stripe wallpaper from The Dormy HouseIf you want to boost the light in a room, check out wallpapers with reflective qualities. They’ll look magical in candlelight, too, making them ideal for dining areas.

Combine wallpaper with fabric

For an elegant effect, you’ll want to make sure the wallpaper and fabrics your choose work beautifully together. Colour can create a linking theme between the walls and soft furnishings, although it doesn’t have to be the dominant shade from either element.

Our fabrics are grouped in colour families, so you can see at a glance how they’ll work with your chosen wallpaper.