Starting Small: Wallpaper

screen capture 182 e1342488952446 Starting Small: Wallpaper

Wallpaper can be one of the easiest ways to make a huge impact in a room. Whether it’s a delicate floral pattern or a bold graphic print, wallpaper is almost guaranteed to make a statement. First invented at the end of the 15th century, wallpaper has come in and out of fashion numerous times in the last 50 years. Despite the recent reemergence of wallpaper, I still find that most of my clients are hesitant to use it in their own homes. The two reasons I hear most are cost and ease of removal (i.e. commitment).

To help alleviate wallpaperphobia, I usually suggest starting in a small space like the powder room. A powder room presents the unique opportunity to create a space that is driven by the pattern on the wall. Since there are not too many objects to compete with in a bathroom, a funky geometric pattern or a tailored stripe will set the tone.

screen capture 191 Starting Small: Wallpaper
This emerald grasscloth adds a beautiful natural quality to this powder room. The silver undertones compliment the nickel fixtures and mirror. If you can’t decide on the perfect pattern, grasscloth is a great alternative. It comes in numerous colors and lends well to a variety of styles.
screen capture 222 e1342490416624 Starting Small: Wallpaper
 A fun trompe l’oeil Brunschwig & Fils pattern takes reading in the bathroom a step further. The stylized faux library wallpaper adds color and the illusion of dimension to this simple bathroom.
screen capture 21 Starting Small: Wallpaper
This Moroccan inspired print plays off of the clean contrast between the white wainscoting and the ebony stained floors. If floor to ceiling wallpaper seems a tad bit overwhelming, wainscoting is a great way to bring in a bit of patten and polish.
screen capture 20 Starting Small: Wallpaper

One of the most popular wallpapers in the last year, Woods from Cole and Son brings the outside in with their woodsy print. A quick search in google images shows how versatile this whimsical paper is.

Tips Starting Small: Wallpaper

With practically limitless options as far as pattern, color, texture, or scale, it can be hard choosing the perfect wallpaper. You want to make sure the paper compliments the rest of your home and you don’t feel like ripping it down after a year. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Pattern: Start looking at pattens that work with the style of your home. Traditional homes look great with a damask, stripe, toile, or small to medium scaled floral print. A more contemporary space can handle bolder geometric and graphic patterns. Take a cue from the artwork in your home- if you held the wallpaper up to the art, would it look totally out of place? If you’re still stuck, a natural or textured paper will work in almost any space. To help you get started, I’ve included some of my favorite wallpapers and sources below.

2. Plan where you want the wallpaper to go: There are several options when it comes to placement. You can cover all the walls floor to ceiling, use a chair rail to divide the space and wallpaper the top half and use beadboard or wainscoting on the bottom, or you can simply choose an accent wall or even add interest by covering ceiling.

3. Measuring: after you determine which walls you are going to cover, you need to measure the space to find out how many rolls to purchase. First measure the lengths of all the walls to find the perimeter. Then measure the height of the walls. Once you have these two numbers multiply the perimeter by the height and you will end up with the square footage. Finally, divide the square footage by 25 (a single roll covers about 25 square feet) and you will have the number of rolls you need. There are also plenty of online wallpaper calculators to use if you want to double check. I ALWAYS order one extra roll in case there is an offset match or any imperfections in the paper. You want to purchase all rolls at the same time to ensure they are from the same batch and will not have any color variations. If you don’t need the extra roll, you can return it.

4. Hanging: This is where my tips end. I haven’t yet dared to try hanging wall paper myself because it can be extremely tricky to get perfect. A wallpaper hanger is not terribly expensive and will save you money in the end if you accidently screw things up. However, for you brave souls out there- here are some great guides to doing it yourself: Guide 1Guide 2, Guide 3

Wallpaper 1 680x1024 Starting Small: Wallpaper

1. Arizona by Osborne & Little 2. Fruits of Design by Flavor Paper, 3. Voite Face from Walnut, 4. Fluidity from Porter Teleo, 5. Geometric from Graham & Brown 6. Block Print Stripe by Farrow & Ball


Powder Room Images: Elizabeth Dinkel DesignLDa Architects & InteriorsAngela Gutekunst Interiors Jenkins, Baer Interior DesignMelissa Miranda Interior Design



I am a twenty-something interior designer living in beautiful San Diego. Lacquer & Linen is a place for me to share new interior design products, budget friendly DIY ideas and my favorite art and design inspirations. Thanks for stopping by!

Latest posts by Sarah (see all)

  • Kelly

    Ooo I love the Emerald grass cloth, it’s not something I’d think of using at home, but always admire it in hotels.

    Thanks for the great tips about choosing a wallpaper!

    • Sarah

      Yes Kelly I agree, grasscloth is well used in hospitality. I have used it in more traditionally styled homes and the subtle texture it adds can be quite lovely.