OFF THE WALL! A Modern Guide to Wallpaper and Other Decorative Wall Treatments



When I say “wallpaper,” do you have vivid flashbacks to traditional florals in murky color palettes in your grandma’s kitchen? Don’t worry - I get it. But wallcoverings and decorative paint have made a resurgence in the interior design world. And with all of the gorgeous prints, luxurious textures, and creative techniques available to us these days, I’m here for it all day, every day.


If it were up to me, I would use wallpaper on every wall and ceiling in every room. The trick is to infuse a modern design sensibility and be creative with your applications.


Here are some of my favorite ways to get creative with wall treatments:


Textured Accent Walls


(Venetian plaster accent wall. Photo: Pinterest)


The venetian plaster accent wall shown here is a perfect example of how traditional techniques can be used in modern ways. Decorative paint and plaster applications add subtle texture to a space, and lend more interest to a design than your typical, solid accent wall.


For clients who shy away from bold prints or feel overwhelmed by small patterns, textural wall applications are a gorgeous alternative.


Transitioning Spaces


(Matching wallpaper in dual colorways. Photo: August Black on Facebook)


Using wallpaper in transitional spaces is a fun, unexpected way to shift from room to room. Because neighboring rooms often have either entirely different OR very similar color palettes and vibes, a wallpaper that can be used in two colorways is a great way to make for a cohesive transition. Or to segway into an entirely different vibe and bridge the gap - creating a harmonious transition from space to space.


Bold Trim


(Accent trim. Photo: Pinterest)


If you’re not ready to commit to a fully patterned, textured, or colorful wall, consider getting creative with your trim. Clean white walls look stunning when paired with contrasting trim in a dark tone, a warm neutral, or even a bright color!


For neutral rooms that need a little extra visual interest, consider contrast trim as a fun way to frame the space.


Ceilings


(Ceiling with metallic wallpaper. Photo: The Spruce)


Don’t forget… the ceiling is actually the 5th wall in any room! So why not show it some love with wallpaper?


I love the opportunity to use a fun, unexpected wallcovering on the ceiling. It draws the eye upward and creates the illusion of more height in the space. Pair a striking wallcovering with a fun light fixture for a ceiling that will have all your guests looking up.


Pro Tip: Adding wallpaper to your ceiling is not a DIY project. Make sure you have a trusted professional for the application.

Stairs and Other Surprises


Just because it’s called wallpaper does not mean you need to feel limited to the walls! Wallcoverings make for beautiful upgrades on stairs, in frames, bulletin boards, furniture and other surprising places.


I’ve seen wallpaper used on table tops, on lampshades, and even on the sides of drawers so that the pattern only peeks through when the drawers are open- The sky's the limit for creative uses of wallpaper.


(Peel and stick wallpaper on stairs. Photo: Etsy)


Just because it’s called wallpaper does not mean you need to feel limited to the walls! Wallcoverings make for beautiful upgrades on stairs, in frames, bulletin boards, furniture and other surprising places.


I’ve seen wallpaper used on table tops, on lampshades, and even on the sides of drawers so that the pattern only peeks through when the drawers are open- The sky's the limit for creative uses of wallpaper.


(Transitional Wall Covering. Photo: August Black Interior Design)


Here’s a gorgeous example of how wallcoverings can be used in wall panels or frames to create a classic, yet inventive, look. Rather than committing to the full wall, smaller accents like this are a happy medium between wallpaper and artwork. This is also a great way to use scraps of wallpaper that would otherwise go wasted.

If you ever find yourself craving an artistic pop of color in your space, consider how small wallpaper applications could help you achieve your vision!


Behind Shelves


(Wallpaper behind shelves. Photo: August Black Interior Design)


A backdrop behind shelves might just be my favorite use of wallpaper! Look how interesting this blue patterned wallpaper looks behind white millwork and variety of accessories and accents. When selecting a wallcovering for shelves, I suggest choosing a pattern that offers a fun spin on the color palette, as seen above.


Pro Tip: When selecting books and other accessories for your shelves, be sure to leave enough negative space so that your cool new wallpaper will show through.


Feeling inspired already? Check out our blog for more interior design tips and tricks!



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