How to choose wallpaper, and 12 designs I would use in my home

Everyday Homes

May 11, 2021

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I had no idea, as I glued a panel of wallpaper to my dining room wall in a rare moment of courage, the extent of the wallpaper love affair that would ensue. The design that I chose is more bold than I would have normally guessed for myself, but I love it so much, and it adds so much character to that room, that it makes me smile every time I see it.

And now, emboldened by this project, I find myself saving a lot more wallpapers for future projects around my home and for client projects as well. Many of you asked me how I selected this wallpaper, and how I choose it in general for other projects as well. Here’s how I am sorting through the thousands and thousands of patterns out there:

01. Budget

It might not be the most exciting place to start, but I think we have to start with this. Wallpaper comes in a very wide range of prices and it can add up VERY quickly, especially if you’re working with a large space. So, start by measuring your space. How many square feet are you covering, and how much are you willing to spend (don’t forget to add 5-10% for waste — more, if the repeating pattern doesn’t divide evenly into your space).

If you are really set on a particular style or pattern, you could save up and wait for that, or compromise by deciding to do only part of the room (i.e. above chair rail, an accent wall or two, or even a ceiling). But it is a lot easier if you decide on your budget ahead of time and then stick to it.

02. Function

This is where I’d define the type of wallpaper you’re looking for, based on the performance factors you need. For example, do you live in a rental property? If so, peel and stick might be your best option (and some landlords will still want approval before pursuing this). Do you change your mind a lot? If so, you might want to ensure you’re selecting strippable wallpaper which comes off the wall in one piece. Is this wallpaper going in a bathroom? Make sure it’s a washable material and that your adhesive is rated for bathrooms (you don’t want wallpaper peeling around your shower, for example).

Some wallpaper designs come in multiple of these functional types, but some don’t, and you don’t want to fall in love with a design that won’t work for your space functionally.

03. Color and design

Finally, the fun part. I tend to start by looking at style first. Wallpaper is a big focal point, so you want to make sure that the style is consistent with the rest of the room and the home itself. Of course you can always mix and match styles in your home, but this is a big thing to consider.

Similarly, consider the colors in the rest of your home. If you have a lot of earthy colors, I’d stay away from pastels in the dining room (for example). You can vary color, but keeping the same tone throughout will help each room to flow nicely into the next. Order samples (they’re often free) and carry them around your home, including the adjacent rooms, and see how the pattern fits there at various times of day — because you can often see the wallpaper from outside the room.

But have fun with it. Selecting wallpaper is exciting, it’s creative, and it’s an expression of you and your family that will hopefully bring extra beauty and joy into your home for years to come. Don’t stress yourself out too much, and go with your gut. If you find yourself coming back to one pattern over and over, that might be all the sign you need.

If you’d like to know how to install wallpaper, read about how it worked for me in my dining room.

When I was trying to decide on wallpaper for my dining room, I saved so many great candidates that I will strongly consider using in other rooms down the road. Our home style is generally American colonial with some modern and country elements, and you can read more about my here.

Here are 12 wallpaper designs I love and am saving for future projects:

  1. Pure Acorn, William Morris and Co // Rejuvenation
  2. Rylee + Cru Dainty Leaves // Lulu and Georgia
  3. Morris & Co Honeysuckle and Tulip // Lulu and Georgia
  4. Morris & Co Arbutus // Lulu and Georgia$237
  5. Wildflower Spray and Stick, Magnolia // Home Depot$67
  6. Blackthorn, Morris and Co // Anthropologie$238
  7. Botanical Sanctuary // Anthropologie$89
  8. Subtle Linen // Home Depot$51
  9. Arboretum Fog Leaves // Home Depot – $89
  10. Revival Dark Green Fauna // Home Depot $105
  11. Pomona Multicolor Fruit // Home Depot$105
  12. Hydrangea, Rifle Paper Co // Wayfair$126

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