Using patterned wallpaper: the dos and don'ts

Follow interior designer Gabrielle Blackman’s advice on the key dos and don’ts of creating a successful scheme with patterned wallpaper

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The trend for patterned wallpaper trend is picking up steam, but how do you introduce it to your scheme so that it won't look dated quickly, won't be overpowering in a room, and won't be a look that you'll tire of quickly? 

As with the introduction of any strong pattern into a room, there are some dos and don’ts. So, find out how to use patterned wallpaper well – and go to our dedicated wallpaper page for more hints, tips and ideas.

Do: go crazy in a small room

Cloakrooms, box rooms, home offices and compact dining rooms are the places to introduce bold patterns that really make you smile. Choose a print a few shades brighter or darker than you normally would go for to add a touch of fun to these rooms.

Find more retro geometric wallpapers in our design guide.

JJenny and Anthony Kakoudakis combine colour, heirloom pieces and mid-century style in a home reminiscent of a Parisian hotel


(Image: © malcolm menzies)

Do: choose a varied colour palette

Choose a wallpaper with around three colours in it if you are papering a child’s room, so you can re-accessorise and change the look as they grow without having to redecorate the whole room. Trust me, if you have a purely pink or blue paper you will want to re decorate in two years, but more colours give you more options.

Find out how to use a colour wheel to ensure your colour scheme works harmoniously.

Sofa.com Alfie Mini Two Seat in Tutti Frutti Caterpillar , £390, Murals Wallpaper, Multi coloured

(Image: © Sofa.com)

Do: be unique with bespoke designs

Look out for independent printmakers on marketplace websites such as Etsy. There are some incredible digital artists out there who are often happy to do bespoke colours and designs for you at an affordable price.

Do: use patterned wallpaper to create a feature wall

Farrow and Ball Samphire wallpaper used in a traditional bedroom

(Image: © Farrow and Ball)

Paint your walls to match the background of your accent wall to make your room feel bigger and bring the whole scheme together.

Use our guide to creating a feature wall to get yours just right.

blue and yellow geometric wallpaper by scion

(Image: © Scion)

Don't: be swayed by fashion

If you don’t genuinely love it now, you will loathe it when it’s on your wall. Don’t force your home to be something it’s not, either. Dressing a house is like dressing a person – look at its age, size and character and take that into account when choosing a wallpaper style or architectural detail.

Don't: be afraid to mix patterns

Stripes work well with any floral or geometric design – just be mindful of your colour palette when choosing each. Use our guide to mixing patterns and plains to get your room scheme how you want it.

Flamingos, £85 , Glastonbury Stripe Marquee Stripes (in background), £65, Cole & Son


(Image: © Cole & Son)

More wallpaper design ideas: