Off The Wall

As featured in Swansea Life - Interiors Column

November, 2012

When it comes to choosing the perfect wallpaper, the decision process can often be overwhelming and it can become a bit of a minefield finding the correct pattern, style and colour to suit the space you are working with. Furthermore, when you think you have found the perfect design, often you will only have a small sample to help you envisage the overall result. When you have narrowed your selection down, make sure you place the wallpaper on the wall you want to apply it to. This will help to provide you with a better idea of how the wallpaper will work in the room you are choosing it for. You may find that the pattern or colour is too bold, or you may find that it doesn't create the impact you were hoping for. Either way, simply looking through a sample book will not give you a true idea. It is the same as thinking something looks good on the hanger, but when you try it on, you feel thankful that Gok wasn't around to see it! Let's take a look at the different wallpaper options available to you, and what designs are best suited to different spaces.



The great thing about wallpaper is that you can apply it as much or as little as you like. Whether you choose to cover the entire room or use it to accent a certain feature, the results can be amazing. If you have a fairly neutral interior scheme in place, then using wallpaper in the form of a feature wall can help to bring a space to life and is the perfect way to express your personality and tastes. If you are creating a feature wall, you can afford to be slightly more daring in the print you choose, however if you are looking to apply wallpaper to every wall, it is wise to apply a smaller, ordered motif.

One of the first things to consider is the colour scheme you are looking to incorporate. Think about the size of the room you are working with and the ambience you are looking to create. If a room is on the small or narrow side, then make sure you opt for wallpaper that consists of neutral or pastel tones. The same rule should apply for spaces that do not receive a lot of natural light, as applying wallpaper in a paler shade will still allow the room to feel spacious and open, despite the fact that sunshine isn't pouring through. When it comes to decorating your bedroom or guest room, wallpaper that consists of fresh, pastel colours are ideal as it will create a peaceful and harmonious atmosphere.

If tranquillity isn't quite what you are looking for, then rich wallpaper that incorporates luxurious tones of red or purple will work to create a warm and cosy environment. The use of burnt oranges will also work well now that we have entered the autumnal season. Using deeper shades however, will only be suitable if you are catering for a large room, as dark tones will automatically draw a space in and make it feel smaller than it actually is.

When shopping for your ideal wallpaper, the chances are your eyes will focus straight away on the pattern. As with colour, you will also need to choose the style of wallpaper carefully to make sure it suits the function of the room you are working with, as well as its size. If you are looking to make a big impact with the wallpaper you choose, make sure the motif is in keeping with the scale of the room. The chances are, a large motif will dominate a compact space and will cause your decor to look overcomplicated and can cause a room to feel cluttered. While a large motif will work well in a big space, you do need to have size on your side to pull this off. For smaller rooms in the home, a delicate motif is far more appropriate as it will enhance your interior scheme, rather than overpower it.


When it comes to choosing the right pattern, try to think about how it will change the feel of a space. For example, if stripes take your fancy a vertical design can add height, or horizontal stripes can make a narrow space appear wider than it actually is. However, if you are thinking about using broad striped wallpaper, use this with caution, as once again this will draw a space in.

If you live in a period property, you may find that your walls are not entirely smooth. If this is the case, then I would recommend applying textured wallpaper, as this will not only help to detract from any imperfections, but it will also disguise them! There is nothing worse than finding the ideal wallpaper, only to feel disappointed when the finished look isn't as perfect as you expected it to be.

There is a wallpaper design out there to suit any home, any taste and any style. Whether you have a contemporary or traditional home, wallpaper can work to enhance any decor whether you keep it to a minimal amount, or go all out! Hopefully these tips give you the confidence to use wallpaper throughout your home and achieve beautiful results.



Use wallpaper to create a focal point as shown here with this wide width Vivienne Westwood Union Jack wallpaper by Cole and Son's. It is sold as a complete panel., (0)208 442 8844



When using wallpaper to cover an entire room, choose the print carefully. Opt for a small scare, ordered pattern that adds character to the room without being overpowering. If you don't have the confidence to go all out, break the wallpaper up with wooden panelling. The wallpaper shown here is from Designers Guild's Autumn Winter Pavonia collection.

Available at Taylor's Etc,,

029 2035 8400



Use wallpaper to create a feature wall if you are looking to draw attention to, or accent a certain part of the room. As can be seen here with Designer's Guild's Linnaeus wallpaper, even a small amount of pattern can help to break up a neutral decor.

Designer's Guild,, (0)20 7893 7400.


By Lesley Taylor

Lesley Taylor is an Interior Designer, Author and full member of the BIIDA.