Decorating with patterned wallpaper

With a little design advice, you can introduce amazing florals, versatile geometrics, bold graphics and classic stripes into your rooms with style

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Update your scheme with florals and botanicals

Use florals with block colours

‘Oversized patterns work beautifully when balanced against plain accents and block colours,’ says Adele Shotton-Pugh, interior designer at Terry’s Fabrics. ‘Less is more with powerful prints – a single piece against a solid background from the same colour palette is enough to carry off this eye-catching trend.’ Avoid the look becoming too ‘chintz’ by choosing dark block colours such as navy, black or slate.

Image above: Morris pattern wing armchair, H107xW90xD77cm, £795, DFS

Contrast large and small prints

‘Flowers are usually considered a feminine choice, but this season’s blooms take on a dark, moody feel,’ says Graham & Brown colour specialist Paula Taylor. ‘Use with mini prints and block colours to create an eclectic look.’ The easiest way to achieve this is to choose designs from one particular range; the retailer will usually have already done the mixing and matching for you.


Curtains made from Simi fabric in 222950, £55 per m; chair covered in Eleni fabric in 222947, £55 per m; sofa covered in Icaria velvet fabric in 232923, £68 per m; Simi rug in Pearl, from £925, all Sanderson

Match walls and curtains

‘If you are ready to embrace colour and pattern, try wallpapering a room and then either use window treatments or a feature sofa in the same design,’ says Clarke & Clarke creative director Emma Clarke. Pick out the main colours from the wallpaper and curtains and use on other accessories.


Bark wallpaper in 110870 and Diva wallpaper in 110862, both £36 per roll; curtains made from Diva cotton fabric in 120280, £28 per m; chair covered in Chenoa cotton/linen-mix fabric in 131261, £38 per m; cotton-mix throw in Sway 131127, £27 per m; cushions in a selection of fabrics, all Scion

Make a statement with geometrics

Mix it up with stripes

‘The exciting interiors trend for geometrics can look both impactful and opulent when used correctly,’ says Urbane Living’s managing director Adam Robertson. ‘The size, shape and colour of the pattern all need to be considered carefully to ensure timeless appeal.’ If you’re using wallpaper on only one or two walls, you can pick designs in a variety of colours, but if you want it on all four walls, it’s best to pick a geometric pattern that uses varying tones of just one colour.


Zing wallpaper in 110823, £36 per roll; curtains made from Groove cotton fabric in 120285, £28 per m; lampshade covered in Diva cotton fabric in 120277, £28 per m, all Scion

Go for classic flooring

‘Geometrics can be incorporated into all types of properties – traditional, classic and modern – as the orderly manner of the patterns allows them to be combined easily and effectively with other designs,’ says Taylors Etc design director Lesley Taylor. The geometric monochrome scheme is perfect for flooring and works well with softer, lighter, and less masculine colours.


Mardi Gras 599 Sagres vinyl flooring, £12.99 per m², Carpetright

Combine with contrasting patterns

‘Before you start thinking about pattern, think about colour,’ says Emma Clarke, creative director at Clarke & Clarke. ‘Ask yourself if you’d like to go for a cool collection of azure blue shades, or a warm collection of tangerines with hot pinks.’ Once you’ve chosen your colour scheme, it makes it so much easier to co-ordinate and contrast your patterns. Tonal shades mean that geometrics can be showcased alongside graphics and florals without clashing.


Mrs Godfrey armchair in Marrakech Sea ikat linen, with wenge legs, H78xW68xD76cm, £1,895; Malibu Jet Set needlepoint cushion, £98; Santorini Alexandra table lamp, H45xW30xD17cm, £995; Jaipur studded cushion, £120; Jaipur arrow cushion, £185; leather Moroccan pouffe in Turquoise, H35xDia.50cm, £295; Bamboo Reverse wallpaper in Teal and White, £300 per roll; Dorothy Kelim cotton rug in Navy and Natural, W240xL300cm, £1,495; Jenna Snyder-Phillips sumi ink painting, £2,000; Helena Wurzel oil painting, £1,500, all Jonathan Adler

Choose the latest stand out graphics

Keep it simple with monochrome

The black, white and grey colour combination is one of the easiest to work with when it comes to pattern – just be careful it doesn’t appear too cold. ‘Adding weaves, patterns and prints is a good way to make it work,’ says Barker & Barker’s chief designer Janet Dixon. ‘Tone down a bold pattern with a plain, solid tonal colour to help bridge the gap and soften the look.’

Shot 1_A is the master. Shot 1_B is a prop option without the throw on the chair and a dog. Shot 1_C is a comp option for a second rug. Remove the switch and trunking on the right by the door. Clean up the white wash/brick work. Remove ladder and pipe outside. Comp rugs into one shot so that rug on left of frame sits ontop of the horizontal one See Comp Guide in Admin for rug/dog options.

Kuro sofa in Malva Graphite, H87xW167xD97cm, £799; Loen armchairs, H81xW71xD88cm, in Inari Check in Charcoal, £799, and Kimi Weave Light, £649; Conran Kitson Collection coffee table, H40xW120xD60cm, £299; side table, H60xDia.44cm, £199; knitted pouffe, £89; tripod floor lamp, H160xDia.55cm, £129; graphic kilim rug, £59 for W80xL140cm, all Marks & Spencer

Team tone and designs

‘Don’t be afraid to mix things up, but in moderation,’ says Rochelle Phillips, product manager at Room 4 Interiors. ‘A good guide is to add 60 per cent of your favourite pattern to a room, such as the wallpaper, 30 per cent in your second pattern, then include 10 per cent as an accent in the form of furniture or accessories, but remember to repeat colours.’


Cocos wallpaper in W6652-01, £64 per roll, Matthew Williamson at Osborne & Little

Juxtapose with other graphics prints

Craft-inspired designs are an integral part of this season’s print and patterns. ‘Tactile textures, mixed with bold prints and decorative accessories, add beauty and warmth to any room,’ says Olivia Bard, head of Olivia Bard Interiors. ‘Bold colours, such as black, alongside neutral undertones in patterns, such as dramatic woven chevrons mixed with hand-embroidered block prints, add depth and interest.’


Curtain made from Potala cotton fabric in Black £44 per m; chair covered in Holy cotton/linen-mix fabric in Calico, £44 per m; cushion in Jaisalmer cotton fabric in Calico, £31 per m, all Olivia Bard

Create a modern classic design with stripes

Play with scale and pattern

‘Use natural breaks, such as corners, alcoves, shelving or dado rails, to start and stop your colour choices,’ says Judy Smith, Crown Paints’ colour consultant. Mix the scale and style of pattern to create interest – if your wallpaper features large graphics or flowers, go for thin stripes elsewhere.


Curtains made from Macramé cotton/linen-mix fabric in 131412, £69 per m; blind made from Kaleido cotton mix fabric in 131400, £39 per m; Accent wallpaper in 110922, from the Momentum 3 wall coverings collection, £65 per roll; cushions made from a selection of fabrics from the Artisan collection, all Harlequin

Vary widths and directions

‘Stripes are a classic choice for floor coverings in hallways and stairs; used vertically they lengthen a space, while horizontal stripes can make a narrow


(On stairs) Biscayne wool carpet in Turquoise, £73 per m², (on floor) Oregon Stripe wool carpet in Oyster, £50 per m2, both Crucial Trading

Complement with graphics

‘Stripes are a really versatile pattern to work with, and a striped rug will give any room a fresh, new look,’ says Andrew Frith of Frith Rugs. ‘Stripes can add depth and width to a space and will draw the eye, so use your rug in any area that you want to be a focal point.’ Team with blinds or drapes and then throw a contrast print into the mix in a complementary shade.


Christian Lacroix La Main Au Collet Multi and Beach Club Pink paste-the-wall wallpaper, both £67 per roll, Wallpaper Direct