12 bathroom wallpaper ideas to bring pattern into your smallest room

Who says wallpaper isn't for bathrooms? Not us: these bathroom wallpaper ideas are this week's favourites

Bathroom wallpaper ideas
(Image credit: Woodchip & Magnolia)

Bathroom wallpaper is a thing. Yup, wallpaper isn’t just for every other room in the house – bathrooms can also be graced with the beauty of fabulous designs that add character, color, pattern and punch. We’ve found some great design ideas below. 

You can use wallpaper in bathrooms and there are specialty designs – they are more wipeable and resistant to steam and splashes than others. However, you can use normal wallpaper too if your bathroom is well ventilated and not suffering from dampness – you can paper higher up and have tiles as a splashback for example or paper the wall that sits opposite the sink, bath or shower. 

Scroll for our lovely ideas – and don't miss all our bathroom ideas in our dedicated design gallery. 

1. Pick a bold bathroom wallpaper no matter what the size

chango and co wallpapered bathroom

(Image credit: Design: Chango & Co)

So wallpaper in a bathroom? Really? Yes, it can totally work if your bathroom is well ventilated and if you seal your wallpaper, or use steam-friendly paper and paste. Going for a bold busy print actually works really well in a small bathroom design too because it can blur the lines of the edges of the room. It's a really popular trend in small, downstairs bathrooms, too.

If you like the look of this banana leaf print wallpaper, check out Etsy because they have loads of very similar options. 

2. Pick a fabulous fifties design for subtle kitsch

Bathroom wallpaper ideas

(Image credit: Kelling Designs)

Isn’t this wallpaper as pretty as a picture? Depicting Paris in the '50s this design is a collaboration between Kelling Designs and artist Paul Roberts. They have two other designs: London in the '60s and New York in the '70s which are equally as divine. It is worth investing in a glass or perspex splashback as you can see here to protect the wallpaper from splashes and pick out colors from the design for your towels and other bits and bobs. 

3. Pick a peel and stick bathroom wallpaper for an easy update

Removable wallpaper in a bathroom

(Image credit: Wallpapers4beginners )

Oh, how gorgeous and glam is this bathroom wallpaper? And the best part is that it's actually removable! The great thing about peel and stick wallpaper is you can test out really bold prints, without worrying that you will have wasted loads of time and energy hanging it, only to realize it's not for you. 

This crane print is giving us Gucci vibes (yes, Gucci makes gorgeous and extortionate wallpaper), the lovely green colors and the Oriental style print are just so dreamy. It's by Wallpapers4beginners and is £38.65 a roll. 

4. Pick a mural for a dramatic bathroom

Black bathroom with grey wallpaper by Delightfull

Room fittings by Delightfull

(Image credit: Delightfull )

Murals in bathrooms make a brilliant backdrop behind a roll-top bath – adding to the drama of the bath design and drawing attention to this wall as a focal point. Some murals come sized to suit your space, which means you can get the design spot on. For best effect, choose a design that's simple but with impact, and ideally one that has a pale background to enhance a small space. Finally? Double check it can stand up to splashes or be prepared to put glazed panels over it. Try Murals Wallpaper for plenty of great designs.

5. Get a cohesive look by matching a wallpaper to your bath

Little Greene bathroom

(Image credit: Little Greene)

We love this sunny yellow bathroom. And, how the hints of yellow work with the bath too, so cute. You can recreate this look with any color, and if you don't happen to have a colorful roll top bath you can easily paint it yourself – this works if you have a bath with a panel too. We have a guide to how to paint a bath so just have a read through that for plenty of tips. 

6. Pick a bathroom wallpaper design to inspire your scheme

Bathroom wallpaper

(Image credit: Little Greene)

If you've gone for a roll-top bath that can be painted, use your wallpaper as a jumping-off point for your bathroom decor. Here, this beautiful Aurora wallpaper by Little Greene has inspired a repaint of the bath and new flooring. It's a beaut.

7. Mix wallpaper with tiles for a practical solution

If you are worried about the practicalities of having wallpaper in a bathroom, why not tile halfway up your wall to cover the areas that make face a few splashes and then wallpaper above that. This is actually a great trick for a small bathroom too, as it helps create the allusion of height in the space – plus you can get really creative with the tile/wallpaper combination. 

For more small bathroom design ideas, check out our feature. 

8. Pick a bathroom wallpaper that looks like tiles

Bathroom wallpaper ideas

(Image credit: Cult Furniture)

Why? Bathroom wallpaper is way cheaper than tiles, easy to DIY and if treated right can look good for a long time. It's a great stop-gap if you can't afford tiles or if you want a softer surface and don't need to worry about splashes. Our advice? Marry wallpaper that looks like tiles very carefully with any other tiles within the room – go for a contrast in size and finish rather than attempting a match. 

9. Pick a soft floral wallpaper for a traditional feel 

We love all Sandberg wallpapers, the colors are so soft and the patterns so detailed. If you like a more traditional vibe in your bathroom definitely check them out. Here the almost wash-out colours and gentle pattern of the bathroom wallpaper, help soften those very white tiles and help them fit with the rustic look that's going on in the rest of the space. 

10. Balance a dark bathroom wallpaper with lighter floors

Bathroom wallpaper ideas

(Image credit: Graham & Brown)

A black based wallpaper looks dramatic and stylish, but to prevent the look from becoming too dark and cave like, it can happen, believe us, you need to add contrast. This can be done in various ways, a colourful bath as shown here and pale and interesting flooring. The marble tiles lift the whole feel of the room visually and tie in beautifully with the colors in the fabulous wallpaper.

11. Mix modern and classic bathroom styles

Bathroom wallpaper ideas

(Image credit: Miss Print)

We can often feel torn when designing a room - so many beautiful products and designs to choose from with many being modern and trad. But there are ways to mix the two succssesfully, we love the idea of classic style sanitaryware teamed with bold colours and a modern print wallpaper. The trad aspects soften the modern so a beautiful balance is achieved! And these pops of pale coral give this blue scheme a spot of warmth.

12. Go for a matchy-matchy look

Bathroom wallpaper ideas

(Image credit: Warner House)

We love a cohesive look and this monochromatic scheme is fabulous! Matching fabric and wallpaper gives a striking all round look which is perfectly balanced with the white woodwork, black painted bath and characterful oak floorboards. The gold picture frame and taps add a hint of warmth, this is always vital as you don’t want your bathroom to feel cold and clinical. Add in a fluffy bathmat and matching towels for coziness. 

Do I need a special wallpaper to use in a bathroom?

As long as your bathroom is well-ventilated and doesn’t get too humid you can use a standard wallpaper in your wet room/bathroom. These days the development of wallpapers has come on leaps and bounds so they are tough enough to withstand bathroom and kitchen use.  

However, be clever about where you place it - if you have it next to the bath, sink or shower area you can cover it with a clear glass or perspex panel so it’s not continually getting splashed, or have a tiled splashback and start the wallpaper higher up. 

Some companies offer specific ranges, as Paula Taylor, Colour and Trend Specialist at Graham & Brown explains, ‘Our range of bathroom wallpaper has been specially formulated to withstand humidity and moisture whilst maintaining its quality appearance. It’s both durable and washable, making it perfect for use in an area where the risk of spillages is high.’

Sophie Warren-Smith
Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 18 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie has a passion for flowers and colour and has recently launched an online styling course, Style with Blooms.