Creative Uses of Wallpaper in Any Room

Wallpaper today goes far beyond what hung in your grandmother's living room. Use these tips and tricks to make wallpaper a beautiful accent in any space.

By Lauren Smith


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Living room wallpaper
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Living Room Decor

    Let the walls do all the work. Hanging paper on your walls adds instant personal style. From the most boastful motif to the subtlest texture, wallcovering makes a design statement. Here, a sunny-yellow flower print adds interest to an otherwise simple space.

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Stylish Display Space

    Gorgeous metallic wallpaper is the perfect partner for a shiny display space. Silver candleholders, sophisticated vases, and detailed photo frames shine in front of a pink-and-silver floral pattern on this bookshelf.

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Heating Up

    Add emphasis to a fireplace with a few feet of wallpaper. The vertical distance from the center of one pattern to the center of the next is called the pattern repeat. Large pattern repeats are more than 6 inches in size. For this project the large repeat of a fun print is a great way to make the fireplace the focal point of the room.

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Frame It

    You don't have to paper an entire wall to get a big effect. Create your own wall art by cutting out 12 squares of wallpaper in four different patterns and framing them. Hang them in a rectangle shape on the wall for easy, eye-catching art.

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Table Topper

    Spice up a plain coffee table with a decorative piece of wallpaper. Place the paper directly on top of the table surface, then use a top sheet of glass to hold the paper in place. The paper can be switched out at any time to give an instant refresh to the living space.

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Panel Possibilities

    Forgo ceiling-to-floor installation and instead treat individual lengths of wallpaper as decorative panels on the wall, framing them with painted moldings. Here, a bold black-and-white pattern in a home office has the effect of art.

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Tricks of the Trade

    Wallpaper can disguise a wall's imperfections and manipulate spaces with visual tricks. Here, a stripe of white and orange wallpaper in front of an orange and gold floral pattern hides dents on the imperfect wall. Now once-unattractive walls create a beautiful home office.

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Bold Beauty

    Pick a bold pattern for an eye-catching result. Here, a black-and-white floral print combined with all black-and-white furnishings creates a savvy bathroom. Just like figuring paint quantity, you need to know the square footage of your room's walls (ceiling height in feet multiplied by wall width in feet) to determine how much wallpaper you need. Round measurements up and don't deduct doors and windows to ensure you have enough wallpaper for the space.

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Red & Romantic

    Go for an unconventional look by hanging wallpaper on the ceiling of a room. Here, a purple background with a red rose pattern in a red bathroom adds a romantic feel to the space. Consider hiring a professional for this project. Hiring a pro can be worth the added cost when hanging high-end or delicate papers covering a hard-to-reach surface.

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Easy Decor

    A simple print can make a big different in a plain room. Add pattern to a boring open shelf easily with a piece of peel-and-stick repositionable wallpaper. Use a sheet of this paper to fill the open shelf for instant design and satisfaction.

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Inspiring Opening

    Add style and sophistication to an arched entryway with a pretty wallpaper pattern. Be careful of delicate paper, such as grass cloth. Grass cloths are woven-textile papers -- fragile natural products with a paper backing that requires special pasting and lining.

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Sit Back in Style

    Turn an ordinary wooden kitchen chair into something special with a little wallpaper. Vinyl and vinyl-coated papers (the most common types) are durable, economical, and easy to apply -- perfect for the seat of a chair. Here, a yellow, white, and black pattern brightens a kitchen set.

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Reverse Style

    Complement a bright red closet with white-and-red-polka-dot wallpaper to create a 1950s-esque kitchen vibe. When using wallpaper in big spaces, such as a kitchen, consider using new nonwoven papers that are environmentally fit and user-friendly. Not only do they hang easily, they are easy to remove and free of PBC and VOCs.

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Creative Cabinets

    Use wallpaper to make dishware stand out. Here, simple cream dishware stands out in a cream cabinet space with glass doors thanks to a brown-and-cream paisley pattern wallpaper lining the kitchen cabinets to create a sophisticated backdrop.

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Striking Design

    Instead of plastering an entire room with paper, use less paper and add more design with striped walls. When purchasing the paper it's important to remember that most wallpaper is sold by the double roll (twice the amount of length) but is priced by the single roll, so take note when calculating the amount you need for the space.

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Complementary Panels

    Choose two wallpaper patterns to create a personalized do-it-yourself headboard for your bed. Hang one strong wallpaper for the center panel and select a subtler pattern for the flanking panels. Here, a green-and-white pattern is the perfect complement to a striking floral green, white, and blue design.

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Dress Up Your Jewelry

    Perfect a pink jewelry holder by lining the inside with a cute pink-and-white pattern, creating an adorable space to store your favorite small items. Cover the front of the cabinet doors with matching paper to complete the look.

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The Feature Wall

    Hang your favorite wallpaper pattern on a single wall in your bedroom, then set off this new focal point with a complementary color on the remaining walls. This approach can be especially effective with a bold, bright pattern, like this French country pink print, that might overwhelm a small bedroom.

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Sweet Storage

    Not all storage has to be kept in brown cardboard boxes or plastic containers. Here, a blue-and-white wallpapered box provides a cute place to store winter clothes when they're out of season.

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