If you're thinking about adding wallpaper to your living room, there are several key points that you will want to keep in mind before placing an order for rolls and rolls of material. However, that doesn't mean that the design process can't be fun. "The living room is like the jewel box of the home where you can incorporate some more unique pieces that maybe wouldn’t fit elsewhere," artist, wallcovering, and textile designer Kiki Slaughter says. Below, experts weigh in with tips on what to keep in mind when it comes to wallpaper placement, pattern, and selecting an option that best complements your existing design style.
Determine Where Your Wallpaper Will Go
Christina Halasz of Halasz Designs recommends first deciding whether you would like to create a feature or accent wall or paper all four of your living room walls. "Wallpaper is best used as a focal point which can be applied to walls behind a sofa, the TV wall, or a wall that can be seen from the hallway to draw you into the space," she shares.
No matter what you decide, don't forget to consider other areas of the space that could benefit from some special treatment, too. "Walls, ceilings, doors or fireplace faces, there are so many applications for wall coverings," Kate Davidson, of Kate + Co Design, comments. "They enrich a space without the investment of natural stone or custom cabinetry." Many people will also use wallpaper to cover the backs of their built-ins, which can add exciting visual interest and is also less costly than covering every single wall.
Pay Attention to Pattern
You will want to carefully consider the pattern you select for your living room wallpaper, as this will affect other decorating decisions you make in the room. "If the wallpaper is a large-scale pattern, it is nice to choose solids, textures, and smaller-scale patterns for the upholstery, "Alexandra Kaehler, of Alexandra Kaehler Design, explains. "If the walls are done in a texture or more subtle pattern, you can accent them with more bold fabric choices.” Christina Kim, of Christina Kim Interior Design, says, "I love seeing small-scale wallpaper patterns in a living room as they tend to read more like texture than intense patterns and are a great way to add subtle interest."
The size of your room will determine whether a small or large design is suitable for the walls. "Small-scale patterns work well for smaller rooms, allowing the room to feel larger," Halasz explains. "Larger patterns and motifs are perfect for larger walls with high ceilings. Larger walls can also allow for bolder and daring designs."
Another approach, though, is to opt for a more monochrome look. "Another chic and unexpected approach to selecting wallpaper is to use a matching color and pattern on both the wallpaper and sofa fabrics," Kim shares. Just be sure to select a pattern that you won't tire of easily, as replacing both your furnishings and redecorating your walls would be costly! And no matter what, be thoughtful with the style of wallpaper you select so that it doesn't seem as though it was an afterthought. As Gray Walker, of Gray Walker Interiors, notes, "The goal is to unify the space and make it seem like something you selected from the beginning of the design process."
Keep in mind that you can also avoid a patterned paper altogether if you prefer. "You can elevate the room with a textured wallpaper that does not divert the eye, but warms the space and adds interest and character," says Heather Lucas of Lucas Browning Design, highlighting grasscloth as an example. "With this approach, you can still play with fun patterns and colors in the furniture fabric selections."
Stick to One Interior Design Style
It may seem obvious, but you most likely won't want to pair grandmillennial-inspired wallpaper with modern furnishings. "Stick to a concept and design style when selecting wallpaper," Halasz notes. "Consider how the pattern will relate to the furniture style and decor in the space. The wallpaper style should complement and reflect the design aesthetic in the room." Halasz offers a few tips to keep in mind to ensure that the pattern you select corresponds with your desired design style. If you love the mid-century modern look, opt for wallpaper with a neutral background and bold abstract shapes in cool and warm color tones and, if you enjoy transitional design, go for abstract and traditional patterns with a current take—grasscloth is a great pick here, she says.