Wallpaper continues to be an exciting design trend. We are still seeing plenty of bold, beautiful prints filling the pages of this year’s interior design magazines. Bright colors abound, from candy stripes to bold botanicals, geometric wallpaper printsand confident monochrome patterns.

The key to working the wallpaper trend is in finding a pattern you truly love and being confident with it.

Forget the “Rules”

Traditionally, the most popular way to use wallpaper was to paper all walls and then have a more neutral painted ceiling (often white) and woodwork.

However, there are no rules governing how much or how little wallpaper you should use, or where you should use it. If there’s a pattern you can’t get enough of, be as bold as you dare!

However, with many of today’s assertive patterns, it might not be to your taste to paper all four walls or a large proportion of the room. Don’t fear — there are equally creative but more pared-down ways of using modern wallpapers, too.

Here are five ingenious ideas you can try:

1. A Feature Wall

Picking one wall to paper is a popular option. It gives you the opportunity to liven up a room with your favorite print, without risking going overboard. Depending on the pattern you go for, you can be high-impact with your feature wall or just add a subtle accent to a more neutral room.

Choose either a contrasting color for the other walls or a subtle tone that allows the wallpaper to be the main event. It all depends on how bold you wish to be.

There are a few things to remember when planning a feature wall. Firstly, choose your wall wisely. It should be the place your eyes are naturally drawn to. Often, this is determined by a piece of furniture, such as a mantelpiece, console table, the television, or the headboard of the bed.

Secondly, feature walls don’t tend to sing in smaller rooms or cluttered spaces. Such a wall can make these spaces feel smaller and more chaotic. Let your accent wallpaper do the talking and give it lots of space in a light, airy room.

2. A Statement Ceiling

This is a stunning twist on tradition. Choose a vibrant wallpaper for your ceiling with lower-key neutrally painted walls.

Just like a feature wall, you can add some flair to a room with an incredible pattern. And it’s a great option for rooms that have a lot going on on the walls already like paneling, lots of doors or windows, or bookcases against the walls. Perfect spots in your home for a feature ceiling might be a children’s or smaller bedroom, or a study.

3. Go Bold by Papering One Room with Two Different Papers

There’s no doubt that this can look really inspired when done well.

Because this is an adventurous look however you do it, it’s worth understanding a little about how professional interior designers pull this kind of look off. You’ll want to avoid too chaotic a feel (and a headache too), so:

  • Make sure both papers come from a small range of complementing colors (a limited color palette). This is especially important if you are picking two very different patterns.
  • Alternatively, use the exact same pattern in different color options and worry less about using a restricted color palette.
  • Play with scale. Balance out a larger pattern with a smaller delicate pattern.
  • Keep other decor and furniture minimal and neutral; this room is now all about the wall coverings.

4. Paper the Walls and Ceiling

There’s no rule that says you can’t have paper on five surfaces. So, why not go all out and paper your walls andceiling?

There are a couple of options when it comes to creating a really fun look. You could use the same paper for all surfaces; candy-striped wallpaper can look amazing this way.

Another idea is to pick a different paper for the ceiling. Just follow the tips for choosing two complementing wallpapers above.

5. Create Some Subtle Touches with a Beautiful Wallpaper Print

Wallpaper needn’t be just for walls. Create your own pieces or commission some to showcase a beautiful pattern and add some finishing touches to your room. These could be a way to add a hint of pattern to a neutral room, or to work alongside the pattern on the walls or ceiling.

Here are a few ideas for ways to get creative with wallpaper:

  • Use the pattern in a paper lampshade for lamps or ceiling lights. This could be the exterior of the shade or, for an even subtler touch, you could line the inside of a lampshade.
  • Cover table tops, large or small, with a patterned paper. Protect the paper from spills with a decorator’s varnish that has a very flat finish.
  • If you have wood paneling on walls, doors or furniture, consider adding wallpaper to the inside surfaces of the paneling.
  • Create some artwork for the walls by framing wallpaper pieces.

Where to Begin

With any interior design look using wallpaper, it’s crucial to fall in love with the print. The first step is to visit a wallpaper specialist  and spend some time looking through their array of prints, patterns, colors and textures.

Once you’ve found “the one,” decide which of the ideas above best suit your personality and the space you’ve chosen to decorate. Finally, be confident in your choices. Your room willlook amazing.


James Prathap is the General Manager at NGC Nafees, top importers and exporters of wallpapers, flooring and fabric in the Middle East. Formed three decades ago, the business also offers high-quality panoramics, coordinated fabrics, and creative stickers for residential and commercial projects.