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How to Use Wallpaper Creatively: Useful Ideas From Interior Designers

The days of ho-hum flocked wallpaper on living room walls are passed. Today’s interior designers use the innovative placement of wallpaper to highlight something special in a room such as a closet or a skylight. They use wallpaper mural to make accent walls.

Even modern wallpaper has changed from painstakingly printed scenes to computer-aided design. Scenes vary from simple floral patterns to jazzy colored patterns to cityscapes, and from jungle patterns to seaside prints. Whatever mood you want to set, there’s a wallpaper that complies with your taste.

How do interior designers use wallpaper creatively? They’re trained in analyzing a room or space for its size, function, as well as aesthetics. Today’s designers are licensed and certified to use their creativity to bring these aspects of a room or space to the next level. Here’s how they do it.

Abstract Modern Lady Wall Mural

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Wallpaper As A Replacement For Painted Murals

Numerous homeowners enjoy painted murals on their living room or dining room walls. Peaceful scenes add a quiet aura to a room. Why not use wallpaper instead of paint? Monochromatic forest scenes bring the outside in while simultaneously imparting that peaceful aura.

If this is what you want, then your interior designer will know all about colors and wallpaper materials. When you’ve decided on the perfect monochromatic forest scene, then your walls will glow with color.

Green Misty Forest Wallpaper Mural

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Subtle Prints Deliver Stimulation

Stimulation isn’t always about loud, in-your-face, or blow you away. Sometimes, a quiet, gentle background stimulus accomplishes the same result.

Perhaps you want the effect of your wallpaper designs to be intriguing. Your interior designer will explain how receding geometric patterns engage the imagination. If you want your visitors to be contemplative, then perhaps your interior designer will show you how it’s done using interestingly connected patterns such as these arches.

Pastel Art Floral & Leaf Pattern Wallpaper

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Innovative Wallpaper Placement

Creativity goes with anything and goes in any place. Do you want to add pizzazz to a room’s main feature? Wallpaper it. The frame beneath your skylight is a great place to add an amazing wallpaper pattern. Creative interior designers will look at your rooms with an eye to highlighting a few cool places with wallpaper:

  • The risers on the stairs
  • The back of bookshelves
  • Behind shelves in the pantry
  • Wallpaper a door
  • Paper the inside of the kitchen and/or bathroom cabinets
  • Instead of using a headboard for the bed, paper it
  • Paper a wall in an outdoor room
  • Use it to line dresser drawers
  • Frame your favorite pattern and use it as wall art
  • Tired of plain old white fridges? Wallpaper it (hang it with magnets for a few days before you decide if you like it)
  • Wallpaper makes great lampshade covers

Black & White New York City Wallpaper

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When To Wallpaper A Ceiling

Every interior designer knows that rooms sometimes have odd angles with which to work, small rooms that need to feel large and airy, as well as large rooms that could use a little cozy atmosphere. Interior designer Young Huh agrees that the ceiling can be one of the best places to add that special design. These are a few of the rooms in which designers will use eye-popping wallpaper designs:

  • A powder room. Half-bathrooms are often one color with perhaps a pretty tile pattern. Jazz up a boring powder room with splashy multi-colored wallpaper on the ceiling to offset the one-color theme.
  • A laundry room. Laundry rooms are usually painted white with tile or old-fashioned parquet floors. If your laundry room is painted a pretty color, use a modern wallpaper pattern to complement the wall colors.
  • Closets. Whether it’s a walk-in closet in a bedroom or the coat closet in the entrance hall, it’s always a delight to see an explosion of color and pattern. Interior decorators will know which colors and patterns work on a closet ceiling along with perhaps one wall for an interesting point of view.
  • Closets. Whether it’s a walk-in closet in a bedroom or the coat closet in the entrance hall, it’s always a delight to see an explosion of color and pattern. Interior decorators will know which colors and patterns work on a closet ceiling along with perhaps one wall for an interesting point of view.
  • An attic room. Attic rooms are known for their angles. Some have skylights, some have gables, while others have multiple angles formed from the roof angles. These need some eye-popping treatments. Wallpapering the angles brings a sense of balance to an attic room while providing character as well.
  • Camouflage imperfections. Sometimes a ceiling isn’t watermarked or cracked, but it doesn’t look quite perfect, either. In these instances, wallpapering the ceiling is the answer. Call in a professional first to make sure the ceiling doesn’t need replacement. Otherwise, your interior designer will help you choose a wallpaper that complements the colors, textures, and furnishings in the room.

Wallpapering A Bathroom

Nowhere does the impact of wallpaper make more sense than in a bathroom. No one thinks to use it there due to the damage that can be done to it by humidity and its resulting mold and mildew. However, that can be dealt with by using specially treated paper or using a thin pane of glass over the paper.

Most bathrooms feature white tile and white paint. Those homeowners that do paint their bathrooms usually don’t consider wallpapering a wall, corner, or ceiling. So here’s what professional interior designers have to say about wallpapering a bathroom:

  • Go small. Wallpapering the entire bathroom might not make sense if splashing water will spoil the effect. So paper a small nook. Surround the soaking tub with a jungle print or a water scene. A paper with bubbles in multiple colors would set you up for a great soak. Have a book handy, because you’ll feel so relaxed, you won’t want to leave.
  • Paper the toilet space. If you have a separate space for the toilet away from the vanity and shower, then paper it. An interior designer will use bright florals or boldly-colored abstracts to brighten up this closed-off space.
  • Paper a corner. Is your bathroom small, with only enough room to fit in the basics? Wallpaper a corner. It will give the illusion of space, especially if you use a foil kind of paper. Its sheen will be reflected in the mirror, also giving the illusion of space.
  • Contrast. When an interior designer sees a bathroom painted white, s/he immediately thinks of bright or slightly dark wallpaper to offset all that white. Blue and green go well in white bathrooms. If the vanity or tub and shower are dark, however, you’ll want to go lighter to contrast the colors.
  • Go zen. We relax and contemplate in a bath at the end of a long day. A savvy interior designer will foster that feeling with a zen wallpaper. Light colors are relaxing instead of stimulating. S/he will try a peaceful scenery wallpaper mural around your soaking tub or on the ceiling. Now you can drift away as you listen to Dobie Gray singing about it

Mountain Mystery Wallpaper Mural

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Many times, homeowners want to be bold and eschew the ordinary, but they’re afraid to make too big a splash in a room the public sees such as the living room or entryway. They’ve seen home renovation shows and want to be similarly cool. Creative interior designers know that a bathroom is a perfect place to try out a look before its debut in a public room.

Bathroom walls come in several incarnations. You have your basic half white tiled walls with the painted upper half. You have half the walls of wainscoting with the upper half of the wall painted. There are chair rails, board and batten, and beadboard walls, to name a few.

Let’s say your bathroom has wainscoting you’ve painted teal. Your vanity and tub are peach-colored. An interior designer would bring in a modern wallpaper motif like oversized palm fronds and other jungle foliage print mirroring the colors in your bathroom. Another idea s/he might come up with is a bold, bright print of jungle birds like parrots and toucans.

Huge White Pelican Wall Mural

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Small bathrooms could use something to make them feel bigger. Let’s say the floor is black and white tile. A creative interior designer would bring in a pedestal vanity of a light, sunny yellow and build a spacious-feeling bathroom around it. The designer might use the navy board and batten half-walls with raspberry print wallpaper designs above. The result is a bold statement using multiple media to achieve the desired effect.

Bold Backsplash Wallpaper

We’ve discussed how wallpaper is treated so it escapes damage by splashing or spraying water. We’ve talked about the thin pane of glass some designers put over their wallpaper to protect it. However, wallpaper comes in other media than paper such as vinyl. Vinyl just has to be wiped down, so it’s perfect for use in the kitchen. Backsplash, anyone?

Obviously, since we’re in the kitchen, lots of designers go with fruits and vegetables or other foody subjects for a backsplash. Numerous homeowners like it like that. On the other hand, why not shake it up a bit?

Fresh Strawberry Pattern Wallpaper

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Why not go with a faux mosaic print in your favorite color? How about going classic with Roman busts? Perhaps you’d rather be whimsical and use eight-track tapes or vinyl discs on your backsplash (as The Big Bopper plays in the background.)

Panoramas In Eco-Friendly Wallpaper

There’s a reason panoramas take our breath away. They’re sweeping, majestic, and they touch our hearts and imagination with emotion. What a lovely way to bring your favorite panorama to life than to put it on your living room wall.

Do you love the timelessness of an endless ocean panorama? How about a cloudy view of the mountains, ice-capped peaks across a sea, the purple majesty of a sunset reflected in water? Perhaps a cityscape blazing with lights in the night does it for you. Would a small village decorated in Christmas lights complement your furnishings?

Bright Sunset Ocean Wall Mural

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You might not be aware that wallpaper is recyclable, as most everything is today. Today’s wallpaper has few if any volatile organic compounds, nor does it off-gas toxic materials from PVC. Contemporary wallpaper is made with water-based ink as well as a methylcellulose adhesive which is non-toxic.

Look for these formaldehyde-free, heavy metal-free, and phthalate-free wallpapers in panoramas like a forest viewed from the top of a rocky mount, a futuristic cityscape, or the Golden Gate Bridge against an intense cobalt-blue sky.

Van Gogh's Starry Night Wall Mural

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Wallpaper Art

Is a marble Roman bust out of your price range? Would you love to own a Picasso or maybe a John Singer Sargent but can’t afford it? Perhaps you’d appreciate the print of a Parisian couple walking along a brick path with the night lit with multi-colored lights.

If these and other lovely scenes are beyond your financial resources, interior designers will tell you to look through any and all of his/her wallpaper sample books for frameable scenes. Make the framing fun and complementary at the same time, like framing Picasso’s “Starry Night” in bright yellow or framing Sargent’s “Venice” painting in bright blue or green.

Interior Designer’s Important Design Tips For Wallpaper

Wallpaper is a thing, and it’s a hot one. Modern technology gives us texture, depth, and focus in thousands of patterns and colors. Interior designers look at a room, gauge its perimeters, and know just which wallpaper works for that room. Here are some designer’s top tips:

  • Use a professional. Wallpaper is tricky to install. If you don’t have the experience, matching seams can be a big fail. Even if you’re only covering one wall in a powder room, for instance, by all means, use a professional to make it look smashing.
  • Try it on. Before you commit to hundreds of dollars worth of wallpaper for a large room, try it on in a smaller room such as a walk-in closet or a wall of a bathroom. If you like it, then it’s a go. If not, then you haven’t spent your whole budget on something that won’t work.
  • Measure. Before you buy online or from a store, measure your room as well as the height of the ceiling. This will give you an accurate accounting with which to be going on.
  • Consider the architecture. The architecture of the house dictates what patterns and colors of wallpaper mesh well. For example, you wouldn’t use a jungle print in a turn-of-the-century Victorian house. Contemporary houses, on the other hand, can pull off any kind of look you wish.
  • Types of installation. Today’s wallpapers come in a peel-and-stick application for those who change up their look every few years. It’s also handy if you decide, in different lights of the day, your chosen pattern doesn’t really fit.