Five Tips on How to Decorate with Wallpaper

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Whether it’s a classic chinoiserie repeat or a bold, abstract pattern, wallpaper has been making a major comeback in interiors. But with so many options out there, choosing the wall covering that’ll work for you can be quite the obstacle. Here are our top tips from designer Kathy Kuo to help you do wallpaper the right way.

#1 Know the Purpose of the Space

Understanding your space is the most important aspect of selecting wallpaper. What is your room going to be used for? Bedrooms typically call for minimal, serene patterns and quiet shades, whereas wallpapering a living room, kitchen, or other entertainment space should embrace color and bold patterns to foster a lively energy. Also consider the scale of your space. Long vertical patterns can accentuate high ceilings. Smaller, more intricate patterns perform well when a space has lots of windows, doors, and wall art. Be sure to choose a wall covering with all of the details in mind.

#2 Use Pattern like a Professional

Patterns can be pretty, but they can also alter the way we perceive a space. When choosing which wallpaper to go with, keep in mind how you can use pattern to benefit your design. For example, horizontal patterns widen a room while vertical patterns make the ceiling appear higher than it really is. And bold, geometric patterns give off a modern, contemporary vibe while rooms while elegant damasks and stripes may make a room appear more reserved and traditional.

#3 Change It Up

Sometimes we like to change our minds. As designers, we totally understand the desire to redecorate and shake things up with the seasons. If this describes you, invest in temporary, removable wallpaper that comes off the walls easily while remaining durable and free of peeling.

#4 Test Out Different Textures

Some of our favorite wallcoverings this year have been papers with actual tactile surfaces, such as grass cloth, burlap, foil, vinyl, or sisal. Textured wallpaper offers a variety of design solutions—reflective papers can light up a room just like a mirror, and handcrafted tactile papers have a three-dimensional quality that enhance the layered, textured look of a space.

#5 Don’t Run Out of Paper 

One of the most frustrating situations while wallpapering is to run short. Make sure you measure out the amount of wallpaper you need by multiplying the combined width of the walls by the height of the room—this is the total square footage of wall space you need to cover with wallpaper. The final step is to divide by the pattern repeat. If the pattern repeat is 18" or less, then divide the square footage by 23, if pattern repeat is 19" to 25" then divide the square footage by 20. We always suggest buying an extra roll just in case!

For more home decorating ideas: 6 Unconventional Storage Ideas for Kitchens | Decorate Your Home With Found Objects

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The Kuotes is a blog written by Kathy Kuo Home purposefully created for interior designers and design-savvy individuals. We strive to solve the challenges and answer the design questions that face your day to day business so you can save time and money and get back to what you love: design! Our blog includes helpful how-to's, exclusive designer interviews, and our thoughts on the latest trends.