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Sometimes it’s the simplest things that pull a room together. Adding a colorful throw pillow, angling a piece of furniture, or hanging artwork can often do the trick. But when you’re looking to make a statement with one design choice, you can often count on this: wallpaper.
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Wallpaper comes in countless varieties, so you can envelop your room in a single saturated shade or cover it in a pattern that speaks exactly to your personality. It’s also possible to put up peel-and-stick versions, as you’re probably well aware, giving renters the chance to join in on this timeless feature.
To give you examples of just how transformative wallpaper can be, here are 11 home tours that creatively covered up entire rooms, small nooks, and even a ceiling.
1. In this St. Louis house, more is more.
Leslie Sumner isn’t afraid of going big on color and pattern in the home she shares with her husband Brent, two children, and their pets. Here, entire rooms are covered in loud prints — and it works. Her biggest indulgence is the Gucci Angry Tiger wallpaper that wraps the powder room.
2. This glam Chicago apartment may inspire you to add wallpaper to your rental.
It can be daunting to make a big change to a space you don’t own, but Blake Gifford told Apartment Therapy that she has wallpapered almost every home she’s had since college. Feel free to start slow, however. Up until covering her entire bathroom in blue leopard print, Blake had only attempted accent walls.
“I really underestimated the amount of work that goes into wallpapering an entire room — especially with such an intricate pattern,” she said. “My entire body hurt for days afterwards, but the space brings such a smile to my face that every knot and bruise was totally worth it.”
3. Floral wallpaper and lots of green foliage make this simple rental shine.
Ohiana Narvarte uses floral wallpaper, a soft color palette, and plenty of houseplants to make her apartment in Valencia, Spain, equal parts calming and energizing. Pairing the graphic wallpaper with minimal furnishings helps create that balance.
4. Bold colors and animal motifs invigorate this small, stylish apartment.
When thinking about what sort of print to put around your space, consider what inspires you. In the case of interior designer Isabel Muller and Kyle Deven’s Los Angeles rental, that’s travel and animals — “all the animals.” In fact, one of Muller’s favorite elements in the home is the cat print wallpaper in their hall.
5. Instead of a statement headboard, this bedroom goes with a wallpapered accent wall.
Kate Worum is one half of Minneapolis-based custom wallpaper and furnishings company She She, as well as a print and pattern designer for Target, so you can bet her rental boasts some attractive wall coverings. Her bedroom, for instance, features an accent wall done up in hand-painted, modern desert-style She She wallpaper.
6. Remember, wallpaper can also be for the “fifth wall.”
As the other half of She She, Jennifer Jorgensen’s Minneapolis bungalow is also decked out in lavish prints. In the dining room, a green chandelier pattern not only covers the walls, but the ceiling, too!
7. A little wallpaper totally made over our CEO’s space.
With just one accent wall gussied up in florals, AT’s CEO Maxwell Ryan gave two guest bedrooms in his remodeled home a punch of playfulness. “The wonderful thing about wallpaper as an accent (which I think is enough) is that you can order it online, in your bed at midnight (this paper came from Stockholm) and when it arrives it can be put up by a painter super fast,” he wrote in the home tour.
8. This designer saves wallpaper for her home’s nooks and crannies.
Samantha Santana is, among other things, a wallpaper designer, and the 93-year-old Spanish bungalow she shares with James Lively in Los Angeles is a master class in using wallpaper as a fun accent. There’s wallpaper at the back of a bar nook, on one wall of a small dining room, behind a bed, and tucked between two shelves in her laundry space.
9. You don’t have to hang artwork solely on white walls.
In the Arlington, Virginia, apartment rented by Katie R.T. Giaimo and her partner, she has created a space representative of “grandmillennial maximalism with a touch of Scandinavian minimalism.” Wallpaper and art have been her favorite items to purchase for the home, and she expertly combines them by layering artwork over busy florals.
10. Wallpaper doesn’t always have to take up the entire wall.
Logan West put up wallpaper in a few spots in his NYC apartment, but the most interesting use of it may be in the bedroom, where matte black wallpaper dissects his white wall on a diagonal. “We had to tape off the design, lay out the wallpaper, and then cut the design out by hand in one swift cut,” he told AT. “Nerve-wracking! But so worth the outcome.”
11. The owner of this U.K. home doesn’t believe in color-clash.
Dr. Geraldine Tan’s lively Victorian terrace house in North London, U.K. is filled with artwork, but it also includes flashes of colorful wallpaper. Even paired with bright furnishings and decor, she manages spaces that don’t feel overwhelmed.
“Every time you style with color, make sure you step back to see the room as a whole, and fine tune the colors by moving items around until it feels right,” she recommends.