Woodsy Wallpaper Is the Nature-Inspired Trend That Brings the Outdoors Inside

Plus, timeless ways to decorate with forest prints.

Today's fresh take on nature-inspired prints takes a more subtle approach than the bold florals popular over the past years. Woodsy wallpaper patterns are in, and their appeal is here to stay. “People are bringing the outdoors into their homes, wanting their spaces to feel grounded and peaceful—much like the feeling found being outside in nature,” says Elizabeth Rees, cofounder of Chasing Paper. “Woodsy-inspired prints take the classic interest in flora and fauna but make it feel more earthy and less sweet.” 

modern bathroom geometric tile wooden cabinets

David Land

Why Are Woodsy Wallpapers Trending?

Biophilic design elements such as woodsy wallpaper are a result of the cottagecore trend that rose to prominence in late 2020, says Emerson Jones, senior manager of merchandising and curation at Spoonflower. The style provided comfort during the pandemic, and it remains a mode of escape now. “As our lives get more consumed with tech and screens, I see leaning into interior decoration and design as the preferred place to create balance and incorporate natural elements,” she says. 

Chasing Paper Poison Ivy

Courtesy of Chasing Paper

Natural elements provide a sense of calm, one reason these woodsy wallpapers are trending in the first place—and have the longevity to make jumping aboard a worthwhile endeavor. “Our lives have become so complicated and busy, folks are looking back to seemingly simpler times, living off the land, immersed in nature, as a form of escapism,” says Jones. “Warm and cozy woodsy wallpapers allow us to bring a bit of that idealistic peace and tranquility into our own homes.”

As a result, Rees says Chasing Paper has seen an increase in interest in woodsy papers that harken back to modern Americana-inspired scenes, including its Cowboy ToilePacific Northwest, and Tree Toile.

Chasing Paper Tree Toile

Courtesy of Chasing Paper

How to Choose the Right Woodland Wallpaper

The most foolproof way to get in on this design trend and ensure you'll love it for years to come is to focus on designs that bring you comfort.

“Choosing a design for walls simply because it is popular without considering your own personal space or unique style is a formula for failure,” says Jones. The trick is to sample papers just as you would paint, even taping them up on your wall and playing with supporting paint colors.

Factor in lighting and how the wallpaper loos throughout the day with different levels of exposure and both natural and artificial light. “You will also want to make sure the print scale works with the rest of the space,” she says. “Large-scale prints are great for bold, statement-making walls, while smaller-scale prints work well to conjure a vibe without drawing all of the attention.”

Once you settle on a woodsy wallpaper, ask yourself one more time if you truly love it. Jones says the goal should be to find a wallpaper that not only inspires you but everyone who uses the space. It’s important to look beyond trends to ensure your space reflects your design sensibilities. If it does, you’ve likely landed on the right wallpaper.

bedroom with woods wallpaper

Brie Williams

6 Ways to Showcase Woodsy Wallpaper

1. Create a Jewel Box

“Bathrooms, especially a powder bathroom, can be a jewel box within your home,” says Rees. “Because it’s a small space that can be easily closed off, it’s a wonderful space to play with design.”

One of her favorite ways to have some fun in this space is with more unexpected color plays and prints. A bathroom is the perfect place to try fanciful prints or bold colors that you might think twice about incorporating into other areas within your home. “We especially love our Birds of Paradise wallpaper, which brings a touch of whimsy with the birds and a pop of neon, to an otherwise earthy print and color scheme,” she says.

2. Engage Creativity

For children’s rooms, creating a bit of whimsy can go a long way in spurring imaginations. Whether it’s a bedroom, playroom, or nursery, spaces that cater to little ones need just as much design attention as any other space in the house. “Look for creative designs that incorporate woodland creatures, from realistic foxes and bears to fantastical unicorns and fairies to create an enchanted space for little ones to grow.” Switching out design elements to create a more mature space over time can be a wise design tool, so look for woodland wallpaper patterns that inspire now and down the road.

Wallpapered corner with wooden cabinet
David Tsay

3. Try a Small-Scale Print

Going all-in on wallpaper can be intimidating, even if it’s just a small space you’re looking to paper. If commitment is stifling your creativity, Rees suggests going for a smaller-scale print in a neutral shade or with a lighter background. “For instance, our Fern wallpaper is closer in feel to a classic flora print with its pastel tones, but again, less sweet than a typical floral,” she says. This way you can get in on the woodsy motif without it stealing the spotlight. It can add a classic appeal that easily works with existing decor elements, too.

4. Go Abstract

What’s expected isn’t always the right choice personally or for the room you're designing. If literal woods and woodland creatures aren’t your style, there are still plenty of ways to get in on this trend. Consider earth-tone stripes or plaids that pull from the palette but don’t necessarily call on the motif, suggests Jones. “Soft sages accented with warm shades of brown and terra-cotta mimic the colors that surround you In the woods and bring a feeling of cozy comfort into any space,” she says.

Alternatively, you can choose to do a woodsy paper in an unexpected palette to give it a more modern edge. Either way, finding the right balance for you and your space is paramount, so take your time settling on a wallpaper design.

5. Step Outside the Box

“While the trend for accent walls is waning, you don't have to wallpaper your entire space to incorporate the woodsy wallpaper trend,” says Jones. “Wallpaper can be used to bring patterns into your space in unconventional ways too.” A few key places she loves to see pattern play? The backs of shelves, built-ins, bookcases, and even stair risers. Also consider using wallpaper as art. Jones suggests taking a few panels of a favorite pattern and framing it with molding for your very own gallery.  

6. Think Vertically

Wallpaper can also be used to make up for a lack of architectural features or even camouflage design issues. One clever way Jones likes to use wallpaper is with a vertical application to create the illusion of higher ceilings. “Look for prints featuring trees and vines that run vertically up the wall,” says Jones. “This does not have to be a full statement mural; smaller-scale repeating designs work great to draw the eye upward without dominating a space.”  

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