It’s time to show your walls some love! You might associate wallpaper with the chintzy florals of yesteryear, but in the last decade, it’s experienced a major comeback—complete with modernized patterns, sophisticated color palettes, and ingenious ideas for application. We caught up with Elizabeth Rees, the founder of Chasing Paper (one of the coolest sources for wallpaper!) to chat all things walls, including the trends she’s seeing right now, tips for small budgets, and how to choose the perfect wallpaper for your home.
We love how popular wallpaper has become again! Why do you think that is?
There was such a trend of white, white, white for so long! It seems like in the last few years, people have really become open to the idea of color and want to put their own “stamp” on their houses. Wallpaper is the perfect solution for that. Doesn’t need to be an entire room, it could just be one wall! It’s amazing what a little color can do to your space.
What’s the best way to visualize how wallpaper will look once it’s actually installed?
We swear by samples. It is the only way to truly understand how a pattern and color will look in your space. We suggest purchasing a few different samples and putting them in different places on your wall(s) so you can see them independent from one another. You’ll find that your eye will be drawn to your favorite pretty quickly! We also have a visualizer tool on our site that we hope helps the customer get a feel for the scale and repeat in different environments.
Say you want to add wallpaper to a room that’s already finished. What elements in the room should you look at to help you pick out a wallpaper that will fit in with the space?
Start with color. This does not mean that if your home is mostly blue and gray that your wallpaper needs to be blue and gray. Think about complementary colors, things that would play off what you already have going in the space and actually make all colors have more of an impact. Also, think about texture! Adding wallpaper is a great way to add a layer to the space, which makes it feel a lot more inviting and complete.
Are there any rooms where wallpaper doesn’t work? Like in steamy bathrooms?
The beauty of wallpaper is that it really works in any space! But, if you’re using wallpaper in your bathrooms, we’d recommend going with a permanent wallpaper vs. peel and stick. While all wallpaper works best with some ventilation, a permanent wallpaper will just give it a little extra hold so it lasts longer.
Say you’re on a small budget. How can you make wallpaper work?
Start with an accent wall! Perhaps it’s one wall in your kitchen, or the back of a built-in within your living space. Small projects can have a huge impact!
How do you decide on temporary vs. permanent?
This really comes down to preference. If you’re designing a space that you intend to switch up year over year (let’s say a nursery or a kid’s room), we’d say go with peel-and-stick. But if you’re investing in a full redesign of a room, go with permanent wallpaper.
It’s important to make note of the texture on your wall before making this decision as well. Wallpaper works best on a smooth surface, so if you have a strong texture to your walls, you may want to consider skim coating before installation.
What advice do you have for someone who isn’t quite sure what they want?
Trust your gut. Design can feel so overwhelming because you feel like there are “right” and “wrong” design decisions. But, the truth is, the best designs come from what feels like you! Test out a variety of samples in your home and see what resonates.
What are some fun places you like to put wallpaper?
We love a bold powder room! It’s a perfect place in your home to really show some personality and make a statement. Kids rooms are a close second. Let your imagination (and theirs) run wild.
Aside from the walls, where else can you use wallpaper—especially any leftovers?
We love the idea of lining drawers, using it on the back of your medicine cabinet, or even framing a portion of the scraps and using it as artwork in your home. We’re seeing a huge trend with using wallpaper in doll houses which has been so fun to see! Our samples are the perfect size for this project. Again, we strongly believe in the power of a color moment. It will bring joy to your day, trust us.
Should you DIY an installation, or hire someone else to do the job?
If you’re going with peel and stick paper, it’s definitely a doable DIY. Patience is the best tool. Don’t rush the process and make sure you’re really thoughtful in your approach. Start by wiping down the walls and allowing them to dry. You’ll need a level, pencil, smoothing tool and a sharp razor tool for trimming. Starting in a corner is best and work your way around your space from there. For traditional wallpaper, we’d recommend hiring a professional.
All photos courtesy of Chasing Paper.