When it comes to design tools to style up your interiors, wallpaper has been packing a punch since 1785. That was the year when Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf invented the first machine for printing coloured tints on sheets of wallpaper.
Since then, interior designers and those attempting to show off their creative side have been having a blast playing with wallpaper ideas, especially when it comes to the living room – the most open and public space in the entire house.
But like all things in life, decent planning needs to be present to ensure optimum results. So how do you correctly approach the idea of wallpapering a living room? And what are your options?
Let’s find out…
Before you start looking at wallpaper ideas, first consider your space carefully. Is it connected to other rooms in your home, like the dining room or kitchen? Does it double up as a home office or sleeping space?
If your living room is of the open-plan style, this could help dictate the general design elements. For example, it might be a good idea to continue the existing colour scheme of the adjoining spaces, like the kitchen or dining room.
Don’t just start pasting wallpaper designs at random – consider what’s already present in the room such as side tables, sofas, lighting fixtures and storage units. Because of their sheer size, the walls of a room are definitely one of the first elements we see upon entering it, especially if they’re coated in wallpaper.
Now, think about how your wall design will interact with what’s already present in your living room. Will they clash? Will your key furniture / décor items complement the colours and patterns of your walls?
Ask yourself if you’re willing to move or switch some furniture around to ensure your living room pieces go 100% with the walls.
Remember that, in terms of colour, neutrals generally go well with many other colour schemes. Thus, if the idea is to keep your furniture and décor as is, opt for something like white, off-white, cream, grey, brown or even black.
Do you have little ones running around your house and jumping on furniture? Then you may want to stay away from wallpapers in lighter colours and which are harder to clean. Rather look for ones that can easily be scrubbed and washed whenever needed.
If primarily adults use your living room or you don’t foresee any large cleaning jobs happening to your walls, grasscloth and glass beaded wallpaper are definitely options.
Colour can definitely set the mood of a room, and here is where wallpaper can make or break your living room’s ambience.
Want to make your living room appear larger and more inviting? Pick wallpaper colours or patterns with cooler backgrounds such as soft green, natural blues or even light violets. Soft, cool colours portray a sense of tranquillity, while intense cool colours are great for keeping a space looking fresh and dramatic.
Once you move into the warmer realm of colours (reds, yellows and oranges), your living room may very well start to feel warmer as well. It’s all about the power of suggestion and colour psychology.
homify hint: Warmer wall colours are more popular in colder climates and northern-facing rooms.
Need to add some shine to your gloomy living room, yet adding windows is out of the question? Look for wallpapers that can reflect light around a room, such as patterns with light colours or those with metallic or iridescent inks.
Also consider wallpaper patterns that have smooth surfaces, which will help natural / artificial light bounce around the room.
Wallpaper patterns with real or perceived texture is great to help hide wall imperfections or architectural flaws. Think about examples like grass- and string cloth, burlap, foil, expanded vinyl and even fabric, which all form part of patterns with actual tactile surfaces.
Then, of course, we have wallpapers that perfectly imitate the look of marble, brick, leather, wood, and even animal skins (if that’s your thing).
Don’t think that any pattern will do; that’s why we suggested you first consider what your living room is used for.
For a more formal living room, go with large-scale patterns that have dramatic colours. If your space is more fun and has a bright style, small motifs that are open and regularly spaced is better (like polka dots).
And don’t overlook the decorative impact of borders. Borders quickly establish the theme of a room and are available in a range of motifs and styles, from wildlife images to seascapes.
Vertical patterns like stripes are ideal for emphasising height, suggesting dignity and formality. Even floral designs with a vertical pattern (where the motif’s shape suggests a V or U) can help a ceiling appear higher.
Vice versa, horizontal patterns are used to accent width, suggest calmness and repose, and make a room appear wider.
Be careful when scoping out wallpapers with patterns. While small-scale motifs create a feeling of spaciousness, large-scale designs can make a room seem more intimate.
To make your minimalist living room seem more full or furnished, go with large-scale patterns that flaunt bright colours and dark backgrounds. And to give flat walls a bit of visual depth, opt for a large, open-dimensional pattern (like a trellis motif).
You don’t want the wallpaper to be the reason why your living room is boring, right? On the other hand, wallpaper with too many patterns can result in a chaotic look.
When mixing wallpaper motifs in an open-plan living room, stick to patterns that repeat the same colour or hues.
homify hint: Who said that wallpaper only belongs on walls? Create a unique look by wallpapering one of your furniture pieces, like a sideboard or bookcase. This can also be a creative way to breathe some new life into old, unused furniture.
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