Pieter Estersohn

The World of Wallpaper

Don't let the name fool you. Wallpaper isn't just for walls. Produced in a plethora of textures, colors, and patterns, wallpaper packs creative punch in a surprising variety of applications.

Here, the editors of Southern Accents have combined sage advice with inspiring examples of wallpaper in action. Explore these tips and ideas, all designed to deliver better results in your next project.

Botanical wallpaper
David Prince

Question Your Beliefs

Drop any preconceived notions you may have about wallpaper. There are numerous designs available, both classic and new. You are sure to find a style that appeals to you and meshes with your interiors and personal interests.

For example, botanical wallpaper, like the swatch at left, might reflect your passion for the outdoors or serve as a backdrop for a collection of garden books.

Andreas von Einsiedel

Create Instant Patina

Wallpaper can help establish a sense of age and history in a new house. Likewise, textured papers will lend a layered look to walls and an overall perception of immediate depth (notice the warm, permanent mood in the room at left).

And, though manufacturers offer matching fabric and wallpaper patterns to simplify design for the do-it-yourselfer, it's more fun to use those coordinates as a background for something that makes the room your own.

Single print wallpaper
Pieter Estersohn

Unite the House Divided

It's often appropriate to cover walls and accessories with a single print, as illustrated in this Florida master suite. If a room has architectural challenges, wallpaper's unifying properties can erase the weird angles. And don't forget the ceiling. After all, it's part of the room. Apply wallpaper to that forgotten expanse, and your room will have a more finished look.

Hanging art on wallpaper
Andreas von Einsiedel

Work Your Plan

Paintings and prints hung on wallpaper can add visual energy. Note how the equestrian prints in this bedroom create new planes of interest against the background stripes. But plan your groupings carefully, as "oops" holes in wallpaper can be difficult to conceal.

If your room needs a little boost, consider framing panels or hanging wallpaper in bookshelves. This way you can minimize the commitment, but still bring in color and pattern.

Hanging wallpaper
Antoine Bootz, Jeff McNamara

Learn to Break the Rules

Remember, there is an art to hanging wallpaper. If you plan to install it yourself, do a little homework and get the process down in advance. There is nothing worse than mismatched panels or puckered paper (precision is doubly important when dealing with scenic prints, like the flowery paper shown at left).

Once you're comfortable with the technique, however, start thinking outside the box. Everyone expects to see striped paper placed vertically, for example. Consider using it horizontally instead.


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