21 clever wallpaper ideas to inspire your next home update

21 clever wallpaper ideas to inspire your next home update

21 clever wallpaper ideas to inspire your next home update

Colefax and Fowler | Cole & Son | Little Greene

Wallpaper can be one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to transform your home, and with innovations in paste-the-wall wallpaper, it can even be a quick DIY project. It does not have to be confined to four walls however, there are myriad ways to utilise wallpaper to create areas of interest, accentuate the height of a room, or to mimic the look of panelling or tiles.

Wallpapering behind a bed creates a cosy zoning effect, murals can be used for great swathes of interest in large living rooms, and it makes a great alternative to paint when creating a feature wall or to highlight architectural features like alcoves or a chimney breast.

Cast your eye around the areas in your home where wallpaper is less frequently used, like the kitchen or bathroom, these are great opportunities to introduce colour and pattern in an unexpected way.

Read on for 21 clever wallpaper ideas you may never have thought about, and get some inspiration for your next home update.


Clever Wallpaper Ideas: Panelling

If you’re lucky enough to have a home with wall panelling, using wallpaper within the recesses is very effective at drawing the eye, and making the most of an already beautiful home feature. Choose a playful pattern like the Hencroft wallpaper shown here, that picks up the surrounding chalky greens and pretty pinks.

Pictured: Hencroft Pink Primula, Little Greene


Clever Wallpaper Ideas: All-over matching

Matching your wallpaper to your upholstery can make for a charming, country-inspired look. This Greenacre wallpaper balances its busy botanical print with a calming neutral background, making it a great choice for a guest bedroom. Try Colefax and Fowler for matching wallpaper and fabric.

Pictured: Greenacre, Colefax and Fowler


Clever Wallpaper Ideas: Papering alcoves

Create a bit of whimsy using the natural features in your home. If you have alcove detailing, perhaps under your stairs, or recessing in a wall, you can create a dreamy faux window frame using wallpaper that brings the outdoors in. This Fresco Sky by Cole & Son uses chalky colours and soft, fluffy cloud details to create a calming sky scape.

Pictured: Fresco Sky, Cole & Son


Clever Wallpaper Ideas: Bold in the bathroom

A perennially popular room to experiment with bold wallpaper. If your bathroom is small, even more reason to go big on design. Let your imagination run wild with daring dark colours, and clashing print.

Pictured: Ginkgo Blue Wallpaper, Tati Lou


Clever Wallpaper Ideas: Papering the ceiling

Often given over to interesting feature lights, or simply painted white, your ceilings are an ideal spot to play with pattern and colour. Even using contrasting wallpaper to the rest of the room, like the neat stripes offset by the botanical print used here can make for an interesting focal point.

Pictured: Polo Stripe, Cole & Son


Clever wallpaper ideas: Chimney breast

A feature wall by any other name. A plain chimney breast is a perfect opportunity to introduce interesting wallpaper in a small way. It can compliment your colour scheme or go totally against it for something more eye catching.

Pictured: Brooke House Cinder, Little Greene


Clever wallpaper ideas: Bring the outside in

A wallpaper that is country-inspired, with a print that reflects local plants or wildlife, is a playful way to bring the great outdoors into your home. The perfect choice for an entrance hall to create a seamless transition from the outside in.

Pictured: Country Living Bird Song, Homebase


Clever wallpaper ideas: Embrace the clash

Throw out the rulebook, and embrace colours that clash. This bold bathroom by Cole & Son mixes natural grey marble with chalky green features and an Arts and Crafts-inspired wallpaper for a playful design scheme with heaps of character. Next time you are picking wallpaper samples, try going against the grain and experiment with clashing colour and print.

Pictured: Court Embroidery, Cole & Son


Clever wallpaper ideas: Cover the cupboards

Look around your home for innovative wallpapering opportunities beyond your four walls. Wardrobes and cupboards, especially those with panelling, are perfect for this kind of experimenting. Consider, too, the inner doors in your home, or other pieces of furniture like a chest of drawers.

Pictured: Greenacre, Colefax and Fowler


Clever wallpaper ideas: Faux panelling

Wallpaper has come a long way in terms of quality of design, and so often, a faux panelling or cladding effect can totally fool an onlooker. If your home doesn’t possess these features naturally, and you’re after an affordable way to achieve a panelled effect, look no further than wallpaper.

Pictured: Library Frieze, Cole & Son


Clever wallpaper ideas: Wall mural

Wallpaper is not just limited to intricately repeated pattern, you can create great scenes in large swathes across your wall with a mural wallpaper. This Azure Mural wallpaper by Mind the Gap explores an old Mediterranean port full of interesting details that keep you coming back to explore.

Pictured: Azure Mural Wallpaper, Mind the Gap


Clever wallpaper ideas: Bedroom feature wall

Wallpapering behind your bed is a clever way to zone a bedroom and create a cosy sleeping area. It’s not just for platform beds, but it works wonderfully to create a frame in the absence of a headboard.

Pictured: Stag Toile, Little Greene


Clever wallpaper ideas: Faux tiling

Wallpaper is an incredibly cost effective way to mimic tiling, and it provides far more design possibilities than tiles can. This Coordonne Bank of Fish wallpaper is perfect for a kitchen or bathroom, mimicking traditional blue and white tiling with realistic inky blue tones and faux weathered grouting.

Pictured: Coordonne Bank of Fish, Beut


Clever wallpaper ideas: All over hallway

An often neglected area, despite being the first thing that we (and our guests) see upon entering our home. Wallpaper can create a warm welcome in the hallway, and even help to create the allusion of light in a dark or narrow space. Botanical prints like the Country Living Wisteria shown here can create a seamless transition from the outdoors in.

Pictured: Country Living Wisteria, Homebase


Clever wallpaper ideas: Play with perspective

This wallpaper idea considers the transition between rooms, not just each room in isolation. If you have a view of a hallway or landing from your living room or bedroom, play with perspective by matching your wallpaper between rooms. It also makes an interesting framed design feature out of your doorway.

Pictured: Cole & Son Library Frieze, Beut


Clever wallpaper ideas: Create an artist’s studio

The creative mood boards adorning many artists’ studios are in reality not easy to replicate. This wallpaper from Mind the Gap does the artistic legwork for you. Perfect for a study or conservatory, or wherever inspiration is needed.

Pictured: Mood Board, Mind the Gap


Clever wallpaper ideas: Under the stairs

Not an inch of space is neglected here, as the Shouchikubai wallpaper from Farrow & Ball travels seamlessly from the wall to under the stairs. Cast around your home for forgotten areas, or corners that you have disregarded for fresh wallpapering opportunities.

Pictured: Shouchikubai, Farrow & Ball


Clever wallpaper ideas: Play with heights

This clever use of wallpaper draws the eye upwards to the full height of the room, which is especially effective if you have interesting cornicing or feature lighting. The deep blue painted door, panelling, and matching deep blue sofa enhance this elongating effect.

Pictured: Feather Flora, Paint & Paper Library


Clever wallpaper ideas: Painted contrast

The soft cornflower blue of the Hencroft wallpaper by Little Greene is matched perfectly to the painted door and surrounding features. A particularly useful technique when the features in your home are a stark white or dark wood, or any shade that could wash out or otherwise detract from the palette in your wallpaper.

Pictured: Hencroft Blue Primula, Little Greene


Clever wallpaper ideas: Three quarters

Traditionally, when panelling is present in a room, wallpaper is hung above and extends to the ceiling. Here, Paint & Paper Library flips the rule, and wallpapers three quarters of the height of a room. This creates a clever zoning effect to highlight your favourite pieces of furniture.

Pictured: Quatrefoil, Paint & Paper Library


Clever wallpaper ideas: Frame it

A clever device from Little Greene, here framing the beautiful Pavona Gina wallpaper as its own piece of art.

Pictured: Pavona Gina, Little Greene

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