How to Pick the Best Wallpapers Like An Expert

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This blog was originally a product of a collaboration of Jens. Jen Murck of Swatch and Repeat and I got together to talk all things pattern.

Well, hi there! If we’ve been friends for a while you know my feelings about wallpaper. And if we’re just meeting? I am a ginormous fan. I mean I could probably include wallpaper in every project I do. It’s a fabulous jumping off point for a design. Wallpaper provides instant depth, interest and it practically hands you your color palette!

But it can be a bit intimidating choosing wallpaper for a room. It feels like such a big commitment! Fear not; I’m going to walk you through my thought process and share with you my tips for picking out the best wallpapers  like an expert.

How to pick the best wallpapers: consider the bones

The first thing I consider in any design project are the bones. The “bones” meaning the items in the room that are there to stay. Not budging. In for the long haul. Because, believe me, I want this new pattern to be friends with the old crew. This can include large things like architectural elements or flooring but also smaller things like a work of art that you really want to stand out.

Now that I’ve established who is really the boss of the room (psst…it’s the bones) I get the creative juices flowing.

How to pick the best wallpapers: overall feel

Okay, so the overall feel of the room. Do I want it large and open? Small and cozy? Restful? Fun? These are all super important factors because they result in a vastly different design direction. Here are some tips for specific moods:

Large, Open, Airy

I go for a textural wallpaper and/or a light neutral. Another option is light with a slightly darker pattern (tone-on-tone) like the example here. 

Wallpaper: Adanza (blush) from  Hygge and West

Wallpaper: Adanza (blush) from Hygge and West

Small and Cozy

Here I go with color! I choose wallpaper that has deep, rich color and a small, discreet pattern. Grasscloth is a great option; the texture provides a subtle, cozy pattern. 

Wallpaper: Wish Upon A Star Wallpaper from  Anthropologie

Wallpaper: Wish Upon A Star Wallpaper from Anthropologie

Big, Bold and Beautiful

You can probably guess… this is where the big guns come out! Beautiful patterns. Rich colors. Often with these wallpapers, the print runs the show. I mean, it gets along with the bones, but calls the shots for everything else in the room, color-wise. These are fun in rooms that you want to be more playful with.

Wallpaper: Cross Grain Wallpaper from  Anthropologie

Wallpaper: Cross Grain Wallpaper from Anthropologie

Pick the best wallpapers: go shop!

Now you're set for the fun part: shopping!

But before you go, there is a bit of jargon that goes along with wallpaper. Double roll? Repeat? What? I want to help you avoid frustrations before you even get started so I put together a little "glossary" if you will of some of those techy terms just for you. To go with, I added a supply checklist. Click below to grab your pre-wallpaper guide!

Before you head straight for a Laura Ashley outlet (not that you would, but just in case) I want to share some of my favorite wallpaper brands. There are a TON out there and they aren't all up my alley. But in my mind, these are the best wallpapers out there.

Hygge and West: seriously, I have to FORCE myself to look elsewhere or they'd be in nearly every wallpaper project I do. They've partnered with the likes of Rifle Paper Co., Heath Ceramics and Justina Blakeney just to name a few. I don't think you could dream up a better group if you ask me! 

Anthropologie: I'll share a secret...Anthro is way beyond just clothes. I mean, yeah, they're gorgeous, but I don't think they get enough credit for their interiors. And they DEFINITELY don't get enough credit for the gorgeous wallpaper they have. You have to see for yourself!

Chasing Paper: Fun, fresh and colorful. Lots of patterns to choose from and they're peel and stick! Couldn't be easier!

Juju Wallpapers: A bit more sophisticated but never ever stuffy. Lots of great patterns that are tone on tone or with metallic highlights. Perfect for a more refined statement.

Twenty2: My absolute favorite resource for grasscloth. They've got it all from small subtle weaves to great chunky ones with contrasting colors. Grasscloth is perfect for situations where you want some texture but in a minimal way. And eco-friendly, to boot!

Now, like most things design-related, these are not hard and fast rulesIn the end do what feels good! It’s your room! Make it just the way you want it so that it puts a big smile on your face every time you walk in. Those are truly the best wallpapers.

As always, I'm here to help should you need it. Click here to get your project started together!