How to Pull Off Punchy Wallpaper, According to the Experts

Bold stripes, bright colors, modern florals: This isn't your grandma's dining room wallpaper.
wallpaper

Photography by Elaine Fredrick and Andrea Pietrangeli

Orange Pop
Small rooms are an ideal canvas to play with wallpaper; the right one can make a significant statement. The owners of this tiny 750-square-foot cottage in Green Hill wanted a cozy, coastal look that was light and airy.
“Typically, when we start designing a space, there will be something that inspires us. This paper inspired me,” says Blakely. The bright, whimsical paper by Brewster combines woodland fauna with flora that resemble both trees and coral. Drawing on the colors in the paper, which is aptly named “Coastal Creatures,” Blakely accented the rest of this loft space with pops of orange (note the upholstered headboard).
When considering wallpaper, Blakely encourages clients to think beyond walls: She’s done applications on ceilings and inside cabinets.
“Clients are much more open to wallpaper than they used to be,” says Blakely, although she has found that resistance — when it does come — is most often from men. “I honestly think that’s post-traumatic stress from having removed wallpaper at some point. Thankfully, technology and new materials make wallpaper not nearly as hard to remove as it used to be.”

wallpaper

Photography by Elaine Fredrick and Andrea Pietrangeli

Visual Play
“If you have something that is powerful like this in terms of color or texture, you don’t need a lot of it,” says interior designer Kelly Taylor of this wallcovering she recently applied in a client’s foyer. “Here, we only did this one wall.” The paper, titled “Botanica” by Innovations, is a weave composed of skeletonized leaves and threads of polyester yarn. From a distance, the turquoise-hued paper assumes the look of tiles, but up close, the veins inside the leaves become visible. This perspective play is something paint generally can’t achieve, and it’s another way to add personality and visual interest to a space.
This particular wallpaper has another benefit: “One of the things we always think about and warn our clients about is seams, but with this paper, you see the seams and you’re supposed to.”

wallpaper

Photography by Elaine Fredrick and Andrea Pietrangeli.

Modern Floral
“Modern” is a scary word for some clients, says Taylor, but the aesthetic can be misunderstood. “I love this paper. It’s a flower, but it’s blown up. It’s modern, but it’s not cold and sterile.”
The vibrant purple-fuschia flowers are balanced by a gray, almost bluish-green background. It’s bold, but not too bright — an ideal way to exhilarate the room.
“In small spaces in particular, clients sometimes push back. But my feeling is: You’re in a small bathroom, why not take it to the next level? It’s kind of a surprise. A guest goes in and it’s impactful in a small space,” Taylor says.
Romo, the manufacturer of this paper, is known for “great, abstract patterns,” says Taylor.
“There are so many great wallpapers out there; it’s a matter of taking the plunge. If a client is wavering, I’ll sometimes order a yard, tack it up and let them live with it for a little while.”

Leave a reply