Whoever said that wallpaper in the bathroom is a bad idea is wrong. Sure, not all kinds of wallpaper work well in the bathroom because of the water spillage and humidity levels, but plenty of them are actually perfect for this space.
Choosing a wallpaper that is scrubbable is the first step. Most solid vinyl wall coverings fulfill the requirements for bathrooms: They are non-porous, resist water and humidity, and can be scrubbed with a brush. This is especially important for children's bathrooms, like the one above, where the chances of water spillage are high. A washable wallpaper means it can occasionally withstand sponging, and may not always be appropriate for a full bathroom, but may work for a powder room. (Look out for the appropriate symbols when buying; a scrubbable wallpaper will have an icon of a wavy line and a brush and washable wallpapers have only wavy lines.)
Aside from these requirements, the sky's the limit when it comes to wallpaper styles, designs, and patterns. Hundreds of designers develop new wallpaper collections every year, leaving you with enough choice to suit any decor style, budget, and color scheme.
Here's a look at some inspiring, beautiful wallpapered bathrooms.
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Bold Floral Wallpaper
Wallpaper allows you to explore bold colors and patterns that would be hard to see in paint or tile. This wonderful bathroom design by House of Honey features a yellow and pink wallpaper with metallic stems, which reflect the light from the ceiling fixture.
With that kind of metallic reflection, you can use wallpaper in smaller spaces without worrying about lacking light.Continue to 2 of 19 below.
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Lighthearted Butterfly Wallpaper
On the other hand, you can use a lighter pattern, something that brings a breath of freshness to your space. In this example by Shannon Eddings Interiors, a butterflies-and-birds wallpaper above the vanity is wonderful way to liven up an otherwise ordinary white wall.
You don't need to paper your entire bathroom over: even a small area can make a difference.Continue to 3 of 19 below.
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Classic Masculine Plaid Wallpaper
Wallpaper is also a great way to give a bathroom a specific mood. This classic bathroom by Pegasus Builders, via Houzz, would be on the neutral side without the wallpaper; the plaid pattern gives it a masculine tone that enhances the dark wood of the vanity perfectly.
Thankfully, plaid comes in many colors and stripe sizes, so you can choose the best one for your tastes and style.Continue to 4 of 19 below.
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The right wallpaper can bring pizzazz to an otherwise ordinary space. A classic white vanity and tiled tub are complemented by large areas of yellow trellis wallpaper, with a touch of satiny reflection. This bathroom by Beth Haley Design uses classic bathroom design elements and adds lots of fun with the yellow patterned wallpaper.Continue to 5 of 19 below.
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Subtle Palm Wallpaper
Wallpaper doesn't have to be bold and bright to have an effect. Sometimes, something subtler is required. This gorgeous white bathroom by jshomedesign features a subtle silver-on-white palm leaf pattern that highlights the grey veins of the marble countertop, and the platinum-colored mirror frame. It's the perfect understated texture for a soft, comforting space.Continue to 6 of 19 below.
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Quirky Fish Wallpaper
This wonderfully quirky bathroom by Martins Camisuli Architects, via Houzz, features an original fish-themed wallpaper installed in an immersive way. It's like walking into an aquarium. The furniture and other decor elements are kept at a minimum to enhance the immersion effect.
Try this abstract fish wallpaper for something a little less bold yet still appropriate for a beach-themed or boys' bathroom.Continue to 7 of 19 below.
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Coral Geometric Pattern Wallpaper
Give your powder room a bold look with a colorful geometrical pattern. This powder room by Morrison Fairfax Interiors is wonderfully alive, with an almost monochrome color scheme. There's so much movement and fun in this space, it's hard to imagine wanting to wash your hands anywhere else.
Don't underestimate the power of a boldly decorated powder room. There are so many possibilities!Continue to 8 of 19 below.
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Tropical Bird Wallpaper
This trees-and-birds wallpaper is much bolder than the one we've seen previously, and it's applied much more liberally in this bathroom by Shophouse Design. Keeping the rest of the bathroom white is a smart move: The wallpaper is too colorful to handle anything else. Just a splash of color above the white tile around the whole bathroom avoids overwhelming the space.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
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Contemporary Animal Print Wallpaper
Wallpaper can even fit in more neutral spaces, as this example from Popp Littrell Architecture + Interiors via Houzz. The print is bold, but doesn't detract from the overall neutral and calming mood of the bathroom. It adds visual interest and movement, without being overwhelming.
To replicate, choose a wallpaper with colors that match the rest of your bathroom. If you prefer a bold pattern, make sure that textures elsewhere in the bathroom are minimal.Continue to 10 of 19 below.
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Orange Octopus Wallpaper
Here's another example of a bold animal pattern with tons of personality. This boy's powder room by Tatum Brown Custom Homes features an orange octopus wallpaper that's fun and quirky. Keeping the hardware and fixtures minimal is best with a choice such as this; the lean pedestal sink and frameless pivot mirror let the wallpaper do all the work.Continue to 11 of 19 below.
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Hand-Painted Polka Dot Pattern Wallpaper
This cute hand-painted polka dot pattern adds just the perfect final touch to this feminine bathroom by The Decor Detective. The mix of pink, brass, and navy is unusual, yet creates a rich bathroom. Note the herringbone tile pattern, which is a textural and geographic contrast to the spotted wallpaper.Continue to 12 of 19 below.
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Mud Cloth Pattern Wallpaper
New wallpaper technology makes it easy to follow the textile decor trend, without all the issues with actual fabric. Domino featured this gorgeous mud cloth wallpaper in black and white. The black-and-white scheme lets you choose whatever color you like for the rest of your bathroom; in this case, a natural wood vanity, wicker basket, and wood mirror frame add a touch of organic warmth.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
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Blue Foliage Wallpaper
For a more classic look, use a monochrome wallpaper, like in this bathroom by Clare Gaskin, via Houzz. In this example, a Victorian-style foliage wallpaper is paired to a blue and white freestanding tub, a double vanity with marble countertop, and beadboard wall coverings. White and blue is a distinguished, elegant look that will stand the test of time.Continue to 14 of 19 below.
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The Chenonceau pattern is based on a 17th century Persian damask and features birds and plants in a symmetrical, repetitive pattern. This bathroom by Mi Kin Creations uses this bold yet traditional pattern all over the walls, bringing the all-white double vanity into focus. Note how the shape of the floral bouquet recalls the shape of one of the plants on the wallpaper.Continue to 15 of 19 below.
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Perfect for a teenage boy's or beach house bathroom, this nautical wallpaper has a strong, masculine mood. Tineke Trigs, via Houzz, combined this pattern with dark brown furniture, a round mirror, and navy-and-white accessories for a nautical effect.Continue to 16 of 19 below.
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The Rambling Renovators chose a wonderful starry wallpaper to enhance the design of this basement bathroom. Large white beadboard wall coverings keep the space open and bright, while a mirror with a redwood frame adds a touch of color, above a vanity painted in Benjamin Moore's Coventry Gray.Continue to 17 of 19 below.
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If you like gold, dare to go all in with this bold, paint stroke-like wallpaper. In this bathroom, found on Domino, gold definitely dominates. The wallpaper feels organic, almost natural, as if a waterfall had been covered in gold paint. The soft shapes of the rest of the decor drive the organic style home.Continue to 18 of 19 below.
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London Architecture Wallpaper
Want to remember your favorite city every morning? Try an architectural wallpaper, like this bathroom with a London landmark wallpaper by My Bespoke Room Ltd, via Houzz. The sleek, black-and-white pattern means you can use any other color you like for accessories and hardware.Continue to 19 of 19 below.
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Sweet Floral Wallpaper
Muse Interiors designed this elegant, sweet master bathroom with soft neutrals and white, including a floral design wallpaper that enhances the calm, spa-like atmosphere. This bathroom combines farmhouse inspiration (the pottery and garden stool) and contemporary shapes wonderfully.