By Erica Jackson Curran
For years, wallpaper has been overlooked in favor of a simpler, more affordable wall covering: paint. While a can of color will always be the easiest way to change up the look of a room, more and more people are rediscovering just how high-impact wallpaper can be when it comes to adding texture, tone and visual interest to a space.
It’s true: The art of wallpapering does take some practice to perfect, but it’s a lot easier to manage when you realize that you don’t have to take on a big project in order to have a big impression. In fact, wallpaper can sometimes be most effective in small doses, whether you’re adding a surprise pop of pattern to the inside of a cabinet or papering an accent wall in an unexpected place.
Ready to get creative? Here are five of my favorite fresh places to apply wallpaper in your home.
1. Dress Up a Tired Dresser
If you’re a first-time wallpaper user, or simply on a strict budget, it’s a good idea to start with a smaller project. Forget the walls altogether for a minute and consider adding personality to a dresser. Whether you decide to line the drawers, apply the paper to the sides of the drawers or paper the front of the drawers, it’s an easy way to add some personality to an otherwise basic piece of furniture. The same approach works for shelving units and cabinets—use your imagination! This is also the perfect project for wallpaper remnants or samples.
2. Upstairs, Downstairs
Another small project with a major impact is centered around an area of your home that you likely use every day: the stairs. You can create a runner-like effect by wallpapering the back (though not the top) of each step. Choose one pattern to keep the look clean and consistent, or create a more eclectic effect by combining multiple contrasting prints.
3. Make Laundry More Lovely
I love the idea of adding beauty to a utilitarian space—and it doesn’t get much more utilitarian than a laundry room. Not only does this room tend to be on the smaller size, making it a fairly easy project, but it can also add a bit of cheer to an oft-dreaded chore. While pretty wallpaper doesn’t exactly guarantee you’ll suddenly adore folding clothes, it’s a heck of a lot better than doing the deed in a dark, dank corner of the house that you can’t wait to escape.
4. Perk Up the Powder Room
If you want to be sure that the world sees your wallpaper handiwork, the powder room is a great place to focus your efforts. This typically petite room can be transformed into a memorable jewel box with the right selection of wallpaper. Throw restraint to the wind and embrace a big, bold print like a metallic floral look or a vintage-style geometric pattern. Don’t worry about a larger pattern making the space look smaller; it’s likely to have the opposite effect.
5. Look Up
Not even the sky’s the limit when it comes to wallpaper. A wallpapered ceiling can bring a fanciful, playful vibe to a space, making this application perfect for nurseries, playrooms and kids’ rooms. Take a literal approach by using a pattern with clouds, birds or stars, or opt for something more understated, but no less dramatic - like a thick nautical stripe or a pattern in a neutral shade.
Remember, these are just a few ideas for using wallpaper creatively. Hopefully, they will help you look at your home’s most humble corners in a whole new way!
Erica Jackson Curran lives in Richmond, Virginia, and is in the midst of a completing a major home renovation. On her blog, ETC at Home, she writes on the balance between maintaining the authenticity of old houses while also making them comfortable and attractive for modern homeowners. Erica writes online for Home Depot on décor topics, including wallpaper styles.