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Not Your Auntie’s Wallpaper!

Trends are inherently temporary.  We love them when we see them perfectly primped in décor mags.  The classic walk about occurs where we pad from room to room wondering where we might ‘organically’ incorporate in our own homes.  The most intense emotional response seems directed at wallpaper.  It’s such a generational trend, for some of us conjuring up visions of our great aunts mustard yellow retro print covering every square inch.  I promise as a designer I can say there are more subtle ways to add layers of lovely prints, colour and timely pattern without such a massive commitment.

Here are a few of my favourite ways to feed the need, without emulating aunt Tilda.

Power Room

Small spaces are always fantastic areas to get a bit creative in.  Firstly, from a practical perspective they are smaller, which means less material is needed and it’s a faster transformation.  Powder rooms are by far the simplest, and without shower or tub the issue of moisture is less prevalent letting us select the most precious paper our heart desires.  Consider papering the entire room, including the ceiling for an allover impact.  Don’t worry about being conservative, this space is transitional in that guest visit for a few minutes then leave.  You don’t need to worry about overwhelming.  On the contrary, drama impresses, here! For inspirations check out one of my fav wallpaper companies that offers great patterns is Farrow and Ball


In areas where water may splash or humidity could build up, I prefer to use a tile or other washable surface on the lower portion of the room.  Even a simple beadboard panel can be a terrific affordable solution.  This also means, like the powder room you don’t need a lot of paper to get the job done.  Some of the nicer papers can be very costly , but only needing two rolls may be worth it for the result.


Funny enough, wallpaper can be a great way to quiet the visual clutter in a more open kitchen.  Selecting something with a smaller pattern acts more as texture that softens and visually absorbs pieces that layer in front of it.  I love adding a neutral pattern like soft grey and white in an otherwise white kitchen.  It takes the edge of what could be a cold space and allows an instant hit of personal style; something most kitchens lack with their generic cabinets.

Focal Walls

Selecting a feature wall to paper truly can link the entire room’s décor; a jumping off point for colour, pattern and style.  It can stand alone if you opt for more of a large scale pattern or mural style, or can create a camouflage of sorts for busier elements you’re trying to mask in the room, like bountiful open shelves.

Fear not, you can dip your toes in the wallpaper trend without having to go steady.  Start small, but with impact and purpose.  Aunt Tilda, will approve!

About the Author: Melissa Davis is a designer, renovator, brand ambassador and original lifestyle, beauty and style content creator.

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